• The Birthday of the Capitalist Lawyer: Some Wishes and Thoughts on Law and Lawyers

    Today is my 26th birthday, so in this special day, instead of writing and analyzing things, let me tell you some of my wishes and random thoughts on my most beloved subjects, law and lawyers. Enjoy!
    1. I believe that laws should be made by professionals not some common people, i.e. the parliament, and I wish that we could achieve that as soon as possible. Of course, the process of recruiting those professionals should be made as democratic and transparent as possible. If not, then we would only have another despotic government.
    2. I wish to have a virtual data base that has complete legal references and sources which have been systematically organized and all I need to do to find them is by one click. That would be glorious.
    3. I wish that I could have more time in learning all the new things about law. Law is a never ending process, continuously evolving in order to achieve perfection. It is really frustrating that I can't follow all of those new developments.
    4. Being a lawyer requires great intelligence, perseverance, persistence, and diligence, but none of them would be helpful if you don't have the passion.
    5. Good lawyers love to be challenged, great lawyers surpass those challenges. However, always remember the golden rule of lawyers: Do not take responsibilities more than you are being paid for.
    6. Never underestimate the usefulness of inputting your time sheets daily.
    7. Commercial pragmatists are the next generation of lawyers, those who can smoothly combine superb legal knowledge with deep commercial understanding of the client's business.
    8. Lawyers are consultants and therefore our job is to help our clients in making decisions not to make decisions by ourselves. See the golden rule above.
    9. If you're only looking for the money, you should not work as a lawyer, since there are other jobs that will give you better income with less working time. But, if you're looking for a respectable profession that can satisfy your pride, you have come to the right place.
    10. If you have worked as a lawyer for years and you still can't gain the trust of your clients, you should stop and pick another career. Without client's trust there would be no business development, no business development means no advance in career, so why bother working as a lawyer?
    11. Doing you best is not enough to reach the top. Always try to surpass your own standard and never be satisfied with your performance even when you think that you have reached the top, there is always a room to grow, a room for improvement. Like my partner once said: "I could never be fully satisfied with my associates since I fear that once I tell them how satisfied I am, they would cease to improve their qualities."


    Rob Baiton said...


    Interesting post, and a Happy Belated Birthday!

    Just some questions and points:

    1. Aren't Indonesian laws already made by professionals like Badan Legislasi?

    2. A virtual database will happen one day, and it might not be a click that you need. Simple voice recognition will do the trick. But being a good lawyer is not just about finding the necessary materials or cases, but it is about being able to use what you find.

    3. There is little doubt about what you are passionate about what you do, but not all law is about money or commercial interests.

    4. It is interesting that you mention the golden rule, because this would seem to be one of many golden rules. However, legal aid lawyers, for example, are always doing more than what they are getting paid for. Which more fits with the point about "if you are looking for money ..."

    Self-improvement and the desire to be better must come from within. I would disagree with your partner on the idea of satisfaction with one's associates.

    Hope you had a good birthday!

    Pramudya A. Oktavinanda said...

    Rob, thanks for the comments. My reply below:

    1. It is true that professionals have been engaged in the drafting process, but they are not the decision maker. As long as the decision makers are common people without any legal background and which are heavily influenced by political aspects, we will see more bad laws to come.

    2. You're right! But I am already proficient on how to use the data, so I only need a better data base, LOL!

    3. Of course Rob :). This blog project is one example that lawyering is not always about money and commercial interest, and I hope to expand this blog further.

    4. Ow Rob, I'm talking about corporate lawyers not legal aid lawyers, hahaha. Okay, I should make a clarification on this principle. I got this principle from one of my partners and the context is on the liability of your position. Do not take any liability more than you are being paid for. Example, on a multi billion dollars transaction where you were only being paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars, you should be careful in assessing your own capabilities before you're getting the job, because one mistake due to your lack of capabilities, and you're gone. Hope this clarifies. And, if you're talking about being underpaid, we corporate lawyers are also being underpaid, our fee is less than 0.01% from the actual transaction that we worked for (not to mention the time and energy that were consumed for finishing the transaction), hahahaha.

    5. On the self development. Relax, the said partner told us publicly about his/her (I won't tell the gender, hahaha) view, and he/she gives us great feed back, however, he/she doesn't want us to be quickly satisfied with ourselves when we are being praised. Lawyers, always have a defense eh?

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