Protik Prokash Banerji

Category : Lawyer

In practice since: 1995

Location: Kolkata, West Bengal

Practice Area : Appeals,Business, Commercial, Civil and Government Agencies | Family, Divorce, Child Support, Adoption | General Practice / All Laws | Personal Injuries, DOI, Medical Malpractice, Employment, Cri | Criminal Law

Law Firm Profile : Business and Commercial | Government Contract | State Local and Municipal Law | Securities Law | Franchising | Adoption | Divorce | Family Planning | Probate and Estate | Alternate Dispute Resolution | Civil Right | Copyright | Entertainment Sports and Leisure Law | Environment, Health and Health Care Law | Intellectual Property Law | Internet - Cyberspace Law | Mediation and Collaboration Law | Military Law | Insurance | Patents | Trademarks | Sexual Harassment | Wrongful Death | Personal Injury - Plaintiff | Personal Injury - Defence | Motor Vehicles Accidents - Plaintiff | Labor Law | Legal Malpractice | Car Accident | Accident and Injuries | Bail and Bond | Discrimination | Social Security - Disability | Transportation Violation | criminal | Consumer Law | MACT | Finance and Banking | WRITS | Human Rights | NI Act

Takes up Pro Bono Cases: Yes

Biography & Viewpoint

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Early Years:

I was educated at Calcutta Boys' School and the University College of Law at Hazra, University of Calcutta. I wanted to be a professor of English literature. My father told me that if I wanted the life-style I was accustomed to then the salary I draw as a professor (in those days) would not be sufficient. So from my Class 10 Board examinations onwards I decided to be a lawyer. My parents were both lawyers and they wanted me to be a doctor, a dream my father could not realize because of his financial reasons. For their sake I wrote and qualified for the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations (Medical)

but did not even submit my application forms for medical colleges. I persuaded my parents that I had other goals. Though they were very hurt they forgave me and did not prevent me from studying law. I chose law because I loved reading, wrote a bit and spoke a lot and was not afraid of hard work. I hasten to add that it was not easy. My father threw me out of his chambers within 2 months of my enrolment because of my arrogance - I used to be a topper at the University and that made me think that I knew a lot, which was absolutely wrong, as I found out in life - and from then on, it was an uphill struggle trying to make it on my own without using his name or contacts. Yet his decision ultimately helped me to be independent and I understood, very late in life, just an year before he died, why he had done so, and how proud he was of my having carved out a livelihood without hanging on to his coat-tails.

Hobbies & interests:

Reading voraciously and eclectically. Watching motion pictures indiscriminately when I get the time. Listening to music of all genres. Writing for myself - something like 'letters I have written never meaning to send'. Social networking, if that is a correct verb. I just love chatting and connecting to people over the net. In real life I am very obnoxious and perhaps a little introverted (which I conceal by a big show of extroversion) and sedentary.

Areas of Practice and key achievements:

Our universities and law schools put too much stress on theory and class-room experiences and projects and too little emphasis on the actual practice of law. When a client - individual or corporate - comes to you and wants to know how he would defend himself against a money claim by a creditor, it is not enough to give him a lecture on the law of contract; you must know how to research the law (which the law school teaches you), find the law (some law schools do this) draw and file pleadings (which almost none of the law schools teach you), contest a case (moot courts are not even one percent close to a real life court room), what evidence to adduce (only knowledge and application of law and procedure teaches you this) what to argue and how to argue (you need not just knowledge of law but also court craft which only experience and actual observation of court room trials give you) and in general know the procedure which only attending the court can give you. Two or three month long internships just do not qualify as experience in this case. Plus, most law schools require you to pursue different types of internship and so there is no continuity. Most practical experience comes from attending courts and learning procedure and court craft and clarifying doubts from the senior or his law-clerk. If you intend to practice in Courts in Delhi, but study in Bhuvaneswar, but are expected to do ten internships all over India in five years, for a month each, how would you be able to learn practical stuff about the courts in Delhi all the year round?

As a result, fresh law students learn a lot of the theory of law, but very little about how to practically apply it and be of help to clients. This is the biggest failing of legal education in India. Yet even this one sided education does not create jurists. The really important jurists like Seervai, Professor Baxi, Professor Menon were not product of the CLAT law schools.

I have always suggested that the best way of improving legal education in India would be a tutorial system - no criteria of percentage attendance, a mandatory two-day tutorial in a week with a professor who will guide you, a fixed number of projects based on the academic papers, and internship in the evening with a lawyer in either trial or appellate practice or in specialized tribunals, and in each paper, a fifty mark academic/theory based examination (every semester) and a fifty mark appraisal of the chamber and court work by the lawyer under whom the student is training, with moderation by the University authorities in collaboration with the lawyer. No lawyer will charge for this, and the campus of the University does not have to be a sprawling rich man's paradise for this. The same lawyers may come and take classes twice a week in the University campus where attendance will not be mandatory. It will help to filter those who are not interested out and keep only those who are interested or need remedial classes inside the class room.
There is one snag in this system - it is not glamorous enough for those who want legal education in India to be like Harvard or Yale. It is only good for teaching you to be a good lawyer not for impressing others.