“I will work as much as I can. I am running 98. I am not even thinking of retirement. Even now, I work and earn my livelihood," Advocate P Balasubramanian Menon says when he is asked whether he has thought about retirement. .Menon has just entered the Guinness World Records as the longest serving lawyer in the world, having completed 73 years and 60 days in the profession. In the process, he overtook Gibraltar government lawyer Louis Triay’s record of 70 years and 311 days.Once this news came to fore, Bar & Bench's Sara Susan Jiji met Menon in Palakkad for a brief chat. .His office has an old-world charm, and is adorned by countless mementos, the most recent addition being the Guinness World Record..Did he ever think he would one day make it to the Guinness World Records?“Not even in my dreams,” he says with a smile.Pointing to another certificate encased in glass, he says, “First I received this, the Indian Book of Record. A few months later, I got the Guinness World Record.”.Menon started his legal career in 1950 and has been specialising in civil law since 1952.However, as was the case with many lawyers from his generation, law was not his first choice. With his siblings pursuing engineering and medicine, his parents envisioned a career in law for him, a vision he dutifully fulfilled by attending law college.He initially spent two years as a junior to the Advocate General at the Madras High Court. He then relocated to Palakkad at his parents' insistence. Despite lacking an interest in law, he primarily attended the criminal courts. Once, during a case in Fort Kochi, the presiding judge was impressed by his argument and motivated him to specialize in civil law. "That was the turning point that shaped my legal trajectory toward civil law," he recounts..One thing Menon is very particular about is that law is not a business to him, but rather a dedicated profession.“This is my profession, not business. I am true to my profession and ethics to this day. As a result, a lot of people approach me to get legal opinions. I never misguide them. I give them the right opinion."He also says that as a lawyer, he argues on precise questions without making unnecessary points, and keeps it straightforward without misleading the court. He also helps clients who have a genuine desire for justice, regardless of financial considerations..At his age, how does he keep himself abreast of the constant changes in the legal world?In response, he produces a collection of notebooks from his neatly arranged bookstand, each one containing his handwritten insights into legal developments.Menon reveals his notes from the Kerala Law Journal, stressing that it is not just about reading, but actively diving into the ever-changing world of law..With the COVID-19 pandemic ushering in a wave of technological changes to the legal profession, lawyers like Menon found it difficult to adapt to virtual hearings and e-filing of cases. He expressed his disinterest in embracing technology, citing a preference for the 'traditional' when it comes to law. For him, there is a distinct joy in reading from a book as opposed to a screen, and talking directly to a person. Despite his juniors embracing technology, he is not keen on it. “I am not very interested. I don't get the old effect (with the virtual hearing). E-filing and all, I don’t like it. They are saying it is to save time, but I don’t like it. There is a difference when I an reading a book and reading from a phone. Similarly, there is a difference when I am talking to you directly and while on the screen. I don't like video conferencing and all. My juniors are doing it, but I am not very keen on it.".However, he remains devoted to expanding his legal knowledge, particularly in areas where High Courts provide no clear answers. He still pens down insightful articles for legal publications.Recently, he was motivated to write an article on the Supreme Court's tendency to rely on Article 142, which is a provision which enables the top court to pass wide orders to ensure complete justice in a case before it.“Now what the Supreme Court is saying is not good, in that it is not (strictly) in line with what the law says. It is all through Article 142 only, in the interest of justice they can say anything. But that is not the law of the land. That is only applicable to that case...What are they doing, it is not good. That is how I started to write one article in a law journal,” he says..He is also of the opinion that there is a shortage of skilled civil lawyers."Nobody wants to pursue civil law. There is a lot of work involved. If you pursue criminal cases, you get quick money and less work is involved. There is real dearth as far as civil lawyers are concerned."On the changes made to the Code of Civil Procedure in 2002, he says,"In 2002, there was a lot of change - why? Because they did know what trial work is like, they would not have made such amendments. It came out this way because they were not familiar with trial court work...".Menon is also not fully in support of alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, since he feels an honest litigant might not get justice in such cases."Now there is arbitration and mediation; there is no need for the law. For an honest litigant, you don't get justice. If you are dishonest, it is very convenient It is not good...When you compare with how it used to be earlier and how it is now, there is no comparison. Old is gold,” he adds..Menon is also quick to clarify that while he respects the institution, he is not afraid to question the judgments when he thinks the court has made a mistake.He also partly attributes errors in judgments to the heavy workload on judges."There are so many cases, they don't have time. No matter how many judges there are. I won't blame them, I always respect the Court. I never criticize a judge, but I criticize their judgments. I show absolute respect to the Court. I criticize if they write something wrong," he makes it clear..On a final note, the nonagenarian has a simple piece of advice for up-and-coming lawyers."Work hard, nothing else," he signs off.