Mr. Anwaar Hussain has been teaching at PCL for a number of years as a visiting Associate Professor, and has recently been appointed as Assistant Advocate General Punjab. His areas of interest lie in Contracts, Property Laws, Labor Laws and Taxation. The Legal Maxim staff conducted an interview with him regarding his position on teaching law and experience in joining the office of Advocate General, Punjab.
1: Could you give us a background profile about yourself and how law became a part of your life?
Ans: My father had agrarian roots but having blossomed out of those roots, he went on to become a banker. It was in this social milieu that I was reared up. My father went to U.A.E in pursuit of a banking career and we, as a family, moved there when I was a school going kid. Thus my schooling was done in U.A.E. My middle school education was science oriented. However, my mental make-up and intellectual genetic formation underwent a transformation and my career took a seismic shift when I got admission to pursue a Diploma in Cost Accounting and Finance from ICMA, which had Mercantile Law as a module. This steered my mental inclination towards law and thus I became a part of this noble and esteemed profession. As a law student, my academic record was also satisfactory as I obtained overall 5th position and 1st in terms of three year’s aggregate which is yet an unbroken record. Besides this, I was conferred with the University Merit Certificate.
In addition, I have evolved, over the years, a firm belief that the role of lawyers in nation building and social reformation holds a central place and to fortify my point I would just refer to Allama Iqbal and Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were both lawyers.
2: Why did you take up teaching while practicing and over the years have the reasons changed?
Ans: Regarding what brought me to teaching while practicing is due to multi-factorial reasons. Firstly, as a law student, I often guided my peers and classmates during my studies and helped them with academic coursework. Secondly, the inspiration my own teachers were exemplary and their role in me making this choice is like stressing the obvious especially that of Prof. Humayoun Ihsan who always encouraged me to become an academic. However, I was never a full time academic as from the outset of my teaching career in 1998, my mentor and teacher Mr. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, his Lordship was also teaching at PCL at that time, which made me realized that in most of the cases, a practicing lawyer stands at a comparative advantageous position as a law lecturer/professor than a full time academic and it proved correct. Thus I took cases as a young lawyer whilst also teaching as a member of the visiting faculty.
3: What advice would you give to an aspiring lawyer?
Ans: I have always believed that the genetic make up of a lawyer must have some inherent enquiries i.e., what the Law is, where the Law is and why the Law is so? I often refer this as 3Ws test during my lectures. These queries take a lawyer at the very origin of a piece of legislation. Moreover, I would lay special stress that a young lawyer or those who are aspiring to be good lawyers must keep their focus glued to academic arena, and not let himself carried away by distractions such as practical aspects of the profession. Such distractions have the notorious potential of hampering the way to building strong academic foundations in a lawyer which are necessary ingredients in the practical arena.
4: Could you tell us about your new experience as an Assistant Advocate General Punjab?
Ans: It’s been fabulous. The obvious nuance between this job and private practice is that it is more demanding and it takes a lot of steam out of you because here you lack that level of intimacy with the client (government departments), which is present between an advocate and a private client. However, you have to be on your guards all the time because here higher level of Governmental financial stakes are involved which put you under higher professional obligation to bring the best out of your potential to ensure that you safeguard as much the chunk of financial stakes of the Government as possible.
Ans: I have no ambiguity about it that the challenging part of the job is that, as I mentioned earlier, here you lack the required level of intimacy with the client whose interest you are protecting and you also sometimes lack necessary facts and documents of the case. In short, you are left on thinking on your legs while appearing before the august courts.
6: Where do you see the education of law in the future and how much has it changed since you started teaching?
Ans: I feel that it is good that quite a few numbers of new institutions are emerging on the academic landscape of law because it has the potential of bringing about positive competition. However, what I feel worried about is that there is a growing disparity between full time academics involved in teaching and practicing lawyers teaching. More and more practicing teachers are being overtaken by full time academics. This is not to undermine the contributions of academics in legal profession but the real face of the story is that, now-a-days full time academics not only lack practical aspects of the profession but also shy away from research work. When I say that students should focus more on academic aspects while studying, I say so because practitioner teachers should be there to guide them as to practical aspects every now and than.
7. Anything else you would like to say or share with our readers?
I would just say two more things. First for young law students/lawyers, it proved correct that if you keep focused and work hard there is immense vacuum at the top of the profession in legal field waiting to be filled in but only by those who have the capacity and perseverance to do so. This is what I have inherited from my seniors in the law profession and I feel obliged to pass on the legacy.
Secondly, I would like to pay my respect and also thank few great people, besides my parents, who have contributed a lot towards my humble success initially as a law student and then as a practicing lawyer and law-teacher. In this regard, late Khursheed Ali Chawala sahib was the first one who stressed me to work hard and that I have potential to excel in the field, Professor Humayoun Ihsan sahib who encouraged and groomed an academician in me and last but not the least Mr. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah for encouraging me to focus on practicing law and guided me through thick and thin of my career.