Woes of foreign-educated lawyers

Published: June 8, 2019

RAWALPINDI: Opting for a law degree from a foreign university was a conscious decision I had made even before starting my A-Levels. The purpose for rehashing this topic is not to discourage local law students in any way, instead to draw attention to the local standardised tests, such as the Law Graduate Assessment Test (L-GAT). Students holding a foreign degree have to appear in these tests and I find it to be discriminatory against us, as it has no purpose. As practising lawyers, we have to study Law all our life anyway, as is the need of the profession. These generic tests will do little to confirm that we now know all about the Pakistani Law and are eligible to practise. I have always strongly felt and it is evident that foreign degrees are more practical and focus on polishing your skills — which is most needed while practising law. The structure of these degrees does not promote work, and it does not reflect the student’s own input. It also appreciates work that is analysed from different angles. Unfortunately, developing creative and intellectual skills has never been a part of the education system in Pakistan. If the government really wants to do something to make the system better and to filter out those who are not fit to practise, then they should introduce trainings because that is important. Or it should make these tests mandatory for all Law graduates, rather than targeting just one category of students. During my internship period, I had the opportunity to visit courts and witness lawyers arguing their cases before the judges. Even as a mere student, I was extremely disappointed to see these senior lawyers had no sense of professionalism in the way they would speak and carry themselves in the setting of the courts. Where does it lead us students, who are trained in these aspects then? It is time to work for quality rather than just quantifying test numbers.

Hinna Fakhar

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2019.

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