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White collar jobs attract law grads

Fed up with a corrupt system and unwilling to play second fiddle to seniors, young lawyers are turning their backs on the court room and walking into corporate law jobs

Lawyers have always enjoyed a special, if not always flattering, place in our culture. In cinema they are portrayed either as Machiavellian con artists who get the villain off the hook or as die-hard crusaders fighting for justice for the underdog. Big cities and mofussil towns across the country have their share of expensive cars and rickety scooters with ‘Advocate’ emblazoned above the taillights. The very word, lawyer, brings to mind the image of a man togged out in black and white, arguing passionately before a packed-out court room, while the judge thunders ‘Order, order’. The truth, alas, is less glamorous.

    Although India, with eight lakh practising lawyers, has the second-largest legal community in the world (second only to the US), there may soon come a time when clients will be hard to find a lawyer willing to go to court.
    The reason is that law graduates are increasingly choosing white collar over black robe. These young lawyers are not consumed by any burning desire to argue before a judge or engage in the thrills of litigation. For them, a nine-to-five job as corporate lawyers holds more promise, a better wage and none of the headache of negotiating the labyrinthian system. “The starting pay packet for working in the legal cells of companies is anywhere between Rs 7 to Rs 9 lakh, and fresh graduates are making a beeline for them,’’ says Prof Vivekananda of Nalsar University of Law at Hyderabad. No wonder then that 70 of the 80 students who passed out of the National Law University at Jodhpur in 2006 are today working with corporate law firms. “The incentive lies in the stable income that these jobs provide,’’ says Pranay Goyal from the same university. IN BLACK & WHITE
8lakh: The number of practising lawyers in India (second only to USA)
35lakh Rs: Pay package for student from Nalsar, Hyderabad, for working with a UK law firm
18000Rs: Monthly salary of a government prosecutor
0Money usually paid to a young lawyer working for a senior criminal lawyer
3of 100 No of students currently studying criminal law at National Law University, Jodhpur
70of80Number of students from NLU, Jodhpur who joined a corporate law firm in 2006
3 of 80 Students from 2002 batch of NLU, Bangalore are today arguing cases
1 of 4 Law graduates from Ahmedabad who want to enter litigation.

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