Becoming an Advocate: How My Father’s Dream Didn’t Let Me Sleep

‘Dream is not the thing you see in sleep but is that thing that doesn’t let you sleep.’

~ A.P.J Abdul Kalam

Becoming a lawyer was my father’s dream for me, not my own. I grew up seeing him wishing to see all three of his children keeping his legacy alive.

Therefore, I couldn’t think of an office outfit being any colour other than black and white. The way my father, a fully practising lawyer, carried himself confidently with a well tailored suit could inspire even the ones not in the business.

I was too young to decide what I wanted to be in life. Way too often, my inner rebel came out everytime someone asked me about my ‘aim in life’.

The word ‘Advocate’ is probably the first english word I learnt as a child. When traditionally asked by teachers, “What is your aim in life?”, almost all of the kids in my class had similar answers. ‘I want to become a doctor’ or ‘I want to become an engineer’ was the most common.

My ears longed for my desired answer over the years but I hardly found company. This made me feel left out. Probably because I was the only kid taught to say a word that I couldn’t even pronounce properly.

The questions came so frequently that my frustration was becoming apparent. On more than one occasion, my answer used to be ‘anything but an Advocate!’ But who would not enjoy a gibberish-speaking 10 year old say the word ‘Advocate’ with such precision.

Growing up, I used to think it was selfish of my father to force his dream on me. What I assumed was this decision of his would restrict my ambitions and undermine my qualities. Here I was enthusiastic about Chemistry and other science subjects, while he kept on reminding me of a future I wasn’t wishing for. I was a science lover. Maybe this was the primary reason behind why I was thinking of joining med school after my O’ Levels.

However, I was informed that it is one of the reputed most ‘law schools’ that I would be getting in. My childish self was reluctant to accept this fact. I was agitated.

But little did I realise then that my father saw what I couldn’t see. He knew that it will not only improve my life in the future but shed light on my inner qualities that I genetically inherited from him.

My father was right when he officially expressed his desire to see me in law school. However, he said this just few months before my O’ Level exams. The moment I learnt that no matter how good my science results are I would still have to go to the law school, my performance deteriorated. I lost the motivation to study harder for my science subjects now that it didn’t matter anymore.

My law school chapter commenced with my A’ Levels in ‘Bhuiyan Academy’, one which everyone knows as the pioneer in providing British Law tuitions in Bangladesh. I became an International student of the University of London and started my Bachelors of Law a year after.

All throughout my LLB Honors, this institution laid the foundation of mt new found interest, with each passing year making it even stronger. With so many practising lawyers as teachers, one can never be without a purpose in life. The positivity in the atmosphere made me indulge myself fully into the subject. I started to become interested in the legal arena. Page by page, I slowly slipped into a literary bond with Law, each time unlocking new mysteries and unraveling its phases.

For the very first time, I started to dream of my own, the dream that my father wanted me to see all throughout my childhood. The dream didn’t look unrealistic anymore. This was because there were others around me with a similar aim. I stopped feeling the odd one out. There was competition all around and hard workers who further made me realise the purpose of my presence in the institution. I completed my LLB in 2015.

My LLB programme had 12 British Laws and my LL.M had 12 more. My MSS had atleast 5-6 Bangladeshi laws that were new to me. By this time I had already developed a thirst for learning new laws. It fuelled my ability to write, the quality I inherited from my father. The more I learnt about new laws, I more I wrote on them, critically appreciating or refusing to do so.

By then, I had arrived to that point in my life when I could shape my dream into an achievable goal. The only step needed to do so is to become an enrolled Advocate under the Bangladesh Bar Council. In this country, one may not simply be referred to as an Advocate if He/She is not given enrollment by the Bar Council. He/She is not eligible to practice in the Court but carry around a funny looking crimson tie under their black suit.

To achieve eligibility, the pupil has to pass the three step examination which would lead to entitlement of this noble profession. The three step begins with the preliminary MCQ Exam which consists of 100 questions to be ticked under 1 hour. Although expected to take place every year, increasing number of candidates and their registration process, bar elections and changing committees delay the scheduled date of exams.

A major challenge here is the negative marking system in the MCQ Exam. If He/She passes this, only then they will be allowed to sit for the written exam. If they pass it too, then the final step would be facing a board of experts asking questions on everything the examinee had studied throughout the exam.

The MCQ Exam of 2017 was the toughest one in years, having questions addressing 53 sections from the bare Acts. It was attended by 34389 candidates out of which 11846 made it to the written exam stage. This number was further reduced to 8130 who appeared for the final stage, viva voce.

I was among the final 7732 candidates who got enrolled under the Bangladesh Bar Council on 23rd December 2018.

This means that I can now practise as an Advocate throughout Bangladesh in any Court, Tribunal or revenue authority subordinate to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.

Getting enrolled under the Bar Council was my sole target in life at the moment until my next challenge. This way, I could do justice to my father’s dream and my own, which I finally built after all these years. Now that I can finally say this, the four year struggle of law school plus the 3 year long wait for the enrolment exams was worth it!

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