Careers Featured

Your life as an Advocate on Record

Imagine that you are appearing before the High Court of your state. A renowned senior advocate is representing the other side. You are not afraid or nervous.

The judge is listening keenly to your arguments. S/he recognises you from earlier matters when s/he appreciated your drafting skills at such a young age.

Today, you are arguing an important matter which has received a lot of media coverage. Chances are that the matter will go to the Supreme Court eventually, and hence the client has decided to hire you because you are an Advocate on Record (AoR). 

You charge almost double of what your peers charge per appearance, sometimes even INR 50,000, though your fee mostly hovers around the INR 20,000-25,000 mark.

Your clients are happy to pay this amount because they get results and have heard glowing reviews from others about your work. You have a few such clients of your own who give you SC matters. Some other advocates also refer their clients to you for SC-related work. 

You earn very well – money has not been a problem since you became an Advocate on Record. You have a firm and two juniors who you pay well, and many young lawyers want to work in your chamber. You get dozens of applications every month.

You also get enough free time to spend with your family.

But it was not always so exciting. A few years ago, you were facing the same challenges as any other litigator – low income despite working hard, a senior who was not training you because s/he was too busy, difficulty in getting clients, uncertainty about your future etc. 

You attended a bootcamp after which you decided to build a Supreme Court practice, focus on corporate clients and also start working with early stage startups. 

Within three months, you began earning an additional INR 15,000-20,000 just for working 2-3 hours in your free time with this kind of work. In another 6 months, this income increased to INR 50,000. 

Apart from stabilising your finances by doing this work, you were sowing the seeds of your litigation practice. Simultaneously, you started preparing for the AoR exam. You began approaching AoRs, and got a breakthrough as your first drafting work (to draft an SLP) after approaching 20 AoRs. Within a few days, you were assisting a few AoRs and SC lawyers remotely with drafting and research work.

By this time, you had quit your job with the senior and decided to become independent. 

One of the AoRs you were working with later referred you to an AoR of 10 years’ standing, and you obtained a commencement certificate. You worked pro bono for them, as they needed only 1-2 petitions per month, but they soon started paying you because your work was so good.

From this point onward, you also started getting some work to file SLPs and other applications or petitions for your own clients in the SC. Since you were not an AoR, you referred a couple of clients to your senior who gave you a commencement certificate, as s/he appreciated your eagerness and attitude. 

Some of your clients still insisted on your involvement in the entire process, so you got more practical, hands-on learning than imaginable. You also briefed a few senior advocates.  

At this stage, your AoR exam preparation was almost complete, and you were moving into your revision. You still had six months to go before the exam. 

You had studied for an hour every day, completed the full syllabus, written answers and obtained feedback and improved every week, besides practising full-length mocks and improving your drafting.

Most people at this stage have not even started preparing for the AoR exam. 

The last six months were just for revisions and additional mock tests. You finished this in three months. Though everyone around you was nervous, you were excited and confident – your preparation was complete, and you were reaping the rewards already, by connecting with other AoRs and handling SC matters for your clients.

Most people around you had not even practised writing answers in long form. In fact, they had not written by hand in many years, since their last college exam,so they were struggling. 

What was your secret?

You started preparation early. You were striving for excellence. You even applied the lessons that you learned in your practice before district and High Courts, and got incredible results. Nobody else was thinking about litigation so systematically.  

On the day of the exam, you felt like you were marching to victory. This exam would reveal your true value to the world! You had prepared for this moment for the last two years.

You cracked the exam in your first attempt.

After you became an AoR, the future looked even brighter. You charged more than your peers, never needed to give discounts, and clients wanted you on their case, no matter what. Your conversion rates improved. 

Many of your clients now insist that you argue their matters before the SC and you find this aspect of the work to be the most challenging as well as satisfying. You are now contemplating the next big move to Delhi, because you are spending 7-10 days every month there for Supreme Court work anyway. 

However, for now, you are happy being a part of the exclusive AoR club outside Delhi – there is nobody else in your city and age category.

Isn’t this really exciting? Do you want this kind of future for yourself? Here are examples of some of our learners who have achieved such results. In fact, three out of four LawSikho students who attempted the AoR exam in December 2021 cleared it. The fourth student cleared three subjects but failed one. He has LawSikho’s extended assistance to attempt the exam this year. 

Prashant Jain (LawSikho, February 2021), a Meerut-based litigator, is now developing his practice in Delhi as well. He has over 15 years of experience and ranked 10 in the AoR exam 2021.  

Ritika Gambhir (LawSikho, February 2021), is a Partner at DSNR Legal and a 2012 Campus Law Centre Graduate. She has worked with a Senior Advocate and with JSA earlier, and cleared the AoR exam in 2021.

Amish Agarwala, a former ​​Central Government Counsel and Disputes Lawyer at the Supreme Court, has been a student of our courses and turned to our guidance to build his outreach since 2017, when he went independent. 

He also took our AoR course to clear the exam in 2021. He became an AoR in 2022 and is already experiencing the benefits in his practice. 

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