IDIA’s overarching goal is to facilitate the evolution of truly unique lawyers that make a significant difference to the world around them. Our aim is not merely to create technically skilled legal professionals, but leaders who transform society in significant ways. The nexus between law and leadership is a significant one with a number of political leaders and thinkers having been trained in the law. To this end, special leadership training programs and techniques would be imparted to our scholars and volunteers from time to time. In line with Maslow’s pyramid (the “hierarchy of needs”), our goal will be to help each one of them ‘self actualise’ to the best extent possible.
In particular, we seek to create CHAMPS: lawyers with certain attributes as detailed below: Our project is therefore titled the CHAMPS project. Each of these attributes are explored in turn.
Creativity is no longer an option but is an absolute prerequisite for any legal professional that wishes to make a difference to society. Indeed, some of the most pressing disputes today require the fashioning of creative solutions. IDIA scholars and volunteers will be encouraged to unleash their creativity as best as possible through their tenure at law school and thereafter.
This term has great resonance in the medical field, where some have advocated for a move away from a “reductionist” focus on symptoms and their cure to a more holistic approach, focused on the disease and the body as a whole. And more importantly, on “prevention” rather than cure.
Similarly in law too, we need to move away from short term immediate wins for one’s client towards a long term holistic solution that heals the underlying conflict and makes society better off. IDIA scholars will be encouraged to become holistic in their orientation towards redressing the various problems plaguing society. The law will be seen as only one of the tools in one’s box with which to fix the problem. It will be a means to an end, and not the end itself. To this extent, scholars will be encouraged to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to most issues requiring resolution.
IDIA wishes to create a breed of lawyers who are sensitized to the various inequities facing society and will do their best to help redress them in a compassionate manner. Indeed, IDIA will strive to imbibe in its scholars the highest ideal that a lawyer can hope for, namely the propensity to completely efface his own self for the sake of another. This lies at the core of altruism, a virtue that will be sought to be drawn out from within each of the scholars that IDIA trains.
We intend on creating legal mavericks who carve out their own pathways and make a transformative impact on society.
Interestingly enough, the word ‘maverick’ originates from the name of an American lawyer Samuel Augustus Maverick, who refused to follow the herd and brand his cattle. He did so as he did not wish to inflict pain on his cattle. We hope that our scholars will also emulate this Maverick lawyer and independent thought and conviction.
For various reasons, the standard conception of a lawyer in popular culture is that of a greedy, self-serving, callous, money-grabbing and unsympathetic professional. While some in the profession do give cause to create this impression, others stand for the highest levels of integrity and honesty. We aim to build the best of these traits in our scholars as well.
Unfortunately, our adversarial legal system today has come to be one where disputes are prolonged and perpetuated endlessly. We wish to hark back to the core essence of the law and what lawyering is really about: namely problem solving. IDIA scholars and volunteers would be encouraged to become legal solutioners rather than legal gladiators out to fight and win at any cost.
The idea is to generate a new breed of lawyers that are not necessarily wedded to hostility and a win at any cost, but committed to creative solutions predicated on compassion and love. The law will be seen not as a zero sum game, but as one conducive to holistic healing through an amicable resolution of disputes.
Here again, specific training programmes including techniques in alternative dispute resolution will be explored.
Effective leadership and problem solving requires a diverse set of skill sets and attributes which will be sought to be inculcated through various programmes. Of these, we focus on 3 of the most important ones: creativity, a holistic attitude to problem solving and a compassionate approach.
Cultivating the attributes:
The above attributes will be sought to be instilled in scholars through their tenure at law school. It bears noting that one cannot expect these attributes to emerge overnight from discrete programmes. Rather, they have to be ingrained as a way of life. To the extent that they could help, specific programmes would be undertaken to help cultivate this.