'A Lawyer is a Social Engineer', Justice Mr. M.M. Sundresh at the Surana & Surana Moot's 25th Anniversary Law Conclave.
The Jindal-Surana Conclave, "Moot 25 Years", commemorated the 25th anniversary of the law firm Surana and Surana International Attorneys (SSIA) in association with Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) last week. Driven by its commitment to nurture advocacy skills among law students, SSIA has been collaborating with many law schools in India for holding various moot court competitions. The Firm has also been conducting essay and judgment writing competitions for law students on areas like Corporate Law, Criminal Law, Environment and Energy laws, Social Justice and Public Empowerment, and Technology.
The Conclave was inaugurated by Hon'ble Mr. Justice M. M. Sundresh, Judge, Supreme Court of India, the Chief Guest of the Conclave, who said, "A lawyer is called a social engineer. Law and society are intrinsically connected with each other. Law has to change according to the needs of the society and law would in turn facilitate the change in the society. When we speak of society, we have to think of the units attached to it: art, belief, culture, custom, tradition, language, cast, community, economy, polity; everything comes within the larger generation of society. As a student of law, the primary objective is to understand the functioning of the society and in my view, it is the most important aspect."
Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India & Member of Parliament in his special address, said that "while learning the art of advocacy, young lawyers need to be reminded that law is a profession and not a business. "The spirit of public service is what underlies a profession as opposed to a business. It is true that certain structures within law are very business-like and commercial, it is not to decry, belittle or diminish them, but it is to say that the idea at the base should not be forgotten, that ultimately you are doing a public service for society, even though you are paid for that and this applies the most to litigation lawyers."
Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University and Founding Dean, Jindal Global Law School, in his presidential address observed that, the academic engagement by Surana and Surana International Attorneys is a striking example of the social commitment of a law firm towards legal education and legal profession. Taking the collaborations with law schools to their fullest potential, under the able leadership of Dr. Vinod Surana, the Firm has played a huge role in the promotion and advancement of mooting culture in India. The Firm's engagement has left an indelible impact on many law schools and law students. Reflecting on the larger theme of the Conclave, Prof. Raj Kumar put forth his dream for the future of legal education and legal profession, "I have a dream that the future of legal education will have a strong and substantive impact on promoting research, knowledge creation and sharing big ideas that can help us address the significant problems of law in our society. Second, I have a dream that the emphasis in the future in law schools would be on speaking truth to power and law schools will be able to strengthen democratic institutions and create independent thinking to influence society. I have a dream that the law schools of the future in India would not be confined to the narrow proposition of studying law but also focus on stronger interdisciplinarity with strong focus on liberal arts, humanities and social sciences. No student can aspire to be an outstanding lawyer or a judge without having strong grounding in history, philosophy and many other disciplines. The law schools of the future will embrace technology but not be reluctant to challenge the use of technology recognising issues related to ethics and privacy. The future law schools will emphasise more strongly on experiential learning"
Dr. Vinod Surana, Managing Partner & CEO, Surana & Surana International Attorneys said, "This is an occasion to mark 25 years of successfully administering and hosting what has evolved into the world's largest moot court programme. This is also an opportunity to reflect upon the transformative forces which are driving and influencing the learning, the teaching and practice of law."
The panel on "Access to Justice and Information Technology" observed that justice is a common good and technology must serve this common good. Courts have a pivotal role to play in bridging the digital gap. The second panel, "Future of Legal Profession" deliberated on the transformation technology has brought into legal profession. Discussing the theory and practice of moot courts in the panel, "The Idea of Moot Court: Pedagogy, Practice, or Pride", speakers focused on the pedagogic utility of moot courts and the extent to which it is underutilized. Emphasizing on the relationship between theory and practice in the panel, "Future of Legal Education, the speakers observed that there should be active and intense collaborations between law schools and legal profession. Unless students are made aware of the social changes and become adept in the use of technology, they will find it challenging to succeed in the profession.
Moderating the panel on the Future of Legal Education, Prof. Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, O.P. Jindal Global University said, "There are external factors affecting legal education today due to the globalised world that we live in. Hence, it's very important to understand how legal education should be conducted. The pandemic brought in a new set of challenges. Virtual learning, which was a supporting mechanism, has now become a primary activity and also made us revisit the origins of the foundations of law as well as the functioning of law school."
At the Valedictory Session, the Guest of Honor, Mr. Vikas Singh, Senior Advocate and Former Additional Solicitor General, and President, Supreme Court Bar Association said, "Mooting is a great way of giving practical experience to budding lawyers before they actually enter into the profession. It's one way for you to realise how good you are on your legs. Surana and Surana were probably the first to start institutional mooting in the country. I hope they are able to do more so that students can get a first-hand exposure of how to stand and think and think on their feet."