Law Education In Pakistan
In Economics there is simple demand and supply rule that applies in most situations. When there is a demand, there will be supply. Increased demand will increase cost and supply will rise up to meet it. When the supply increases more than demand, then demand will reduce which will drive the price down. The rule is quite simple to understand and can be applied to most real-life situations as well with some alteration.
But what if there is plenty of demand and supply but quality is missing? What if the one with the need have no idea of the quality, the one supplying also has no idea of quality and any other middleperson involved is also devoid of idea about quality? This is a situation regarding Law & Order in Pakistan. The nation is not lawless, the constitution is there and Pakistan Penal Code covers almost everything. Moreover, there seems to be an endless supply of lawyers in the country. One only has to login on Youtube and see Lawyers Movement videos that shook the country a few years back. There is a definite demand of lawyers in the country or else not so many would be there in the first place and more graduating every year.
Does that mean Law Education is not a viable career option?
If you try to answer this question from Economics point of view then yes, it may not be a viable career option. Too much supply of lawyers will bring down the price (earnings from legal fees) but at the same time, Pakistan being Pakistan, a lot can go wrong and demand for lawyers to get their clients out of tight spots will always be there. Sometimes it seems like the situation is lawless so that lawyers could survive and earn a living. But don’t try to answer this question from Economics or Business point of view. Infact, before answering it ask a different question from you yourself.
Can you be a good lawyer? If yes, then it is best for you to not choose law. Simple reason is that there are too many ‘good’ lawyers that have so far failed to do any good. When that happens, they turn to teaching and what good they will impart is anyone’s guess.
If your answer is no then ask yourself another question. Can you be an excellent lawyer? If your answer is yes, you might be on to something. Unlike Business studies, Law Education is a professional education. Lawyers are doctors of society and it is their responsibility to keep society clean, healthy and devoid of any cancerous growth. You need to be absolutely sure about your love for Law before choosing to become a lawyer as it is a demanding field and in a relatively lawless society like Pakistan, survival is an added risk.
If you decide to study law, it is not always the book you need to memorize or case to argue. It is also about foresight, gut instincts and common sense. When you read judgments given by highly competent judges on both sensitive as well as routine cases, you will come across incredible wisdom that may even surprise the smartest of people. Pakistan has produced a good crop of judges and lawyers in the past and their cases are used as references and study guides in Law Schools in UK. Our own schools, on the other hand, ignore their great services and try to force memorize books to students instead. What they fail to teach is that law is not just law but a whole philosophy. Each case sets a precedence that is used as a guide to solve future cases of similar nature. Moreover these cases are not just referred in your own country but by legal institutions in other countries as well. Each case has the potential for great impact on individual’s life as well as society’s future.
What we need are quality lawyers that understand what law truly is and how much impact they can make on the society. Most of our lawyers are still unable to explain how a country like UK can function without a constitution while Pakistan even with a constitution is without proper justice system. Our lawyers are still unable to decide what is supreme, the constitution or the parliament? Some are even not sure if reopening of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s murder trial case was a good idea. More than that, so many of the lawyers also support lawlessness. You only need to see Salman Taseer’s murderer’s pictures where lawyers are jubilantly throwing rose petals at him. It clearly shows something is not right in the system and mediocrity has brought it to standstill.
In such scenario there is a high demand for quality to not just bring awareness to both professionals and masses but also create a positive impact on the system. The more qualified lawyers will join the ranks, the better will be law and order situation of the country and the less confusing will be our lawyers in both understanding the law themselves and explaining it to others.
It is high time for students to get educated in law, not just from any place but from institutions that can impart real education, through well qualified faculty and bring order to the confusing state of affairs in this country.