The legal profession in India has undergone a strategic and substantial change over the last few decades. Now-a-days the law aspirants not only figure themselves in courts but mark the presence in various corporate houses, law agencies, law firms, litigation, administrative services and many more. Earlier law had become a family profession. The families had been choosing law as professions for generations. But the scene has changed today, anyone having the traits and passion for this field can opt for the course and could achieve what he desires and is capable of.
Which Stream Should I Choose?
Probably the most frequently asked and the most important decisions that we make in our young life and most of us make a wrong decision due to the peer and family pressure. You feel me? You probably do! If you don’t i.e you haven’t been there, you will soon do. Practically any stream is fine- there is no restriction. However, if you are in 10th and thinking of streams for +2 - then you may want to choose Political Science or Sociology as an elective and hence Arts as a stream - these are to some extent aligned to the profession of Law. Though there is no necessity to choose this - you can pursue Law even by taking up science in +2.
Speaking, honestly and with experience, you have a false idea that Arts is the only best choice for prospective law students and it makes it topsy-turvy for the students. A law student requires logic, common sense, and some discipline in life, and which stream you choose after 10th grade is of little consequence. Every stream has something special, eg. Science stream is useful in case you want to specialize in Patent Laws, likewise Commerce stream is useful in case of Company Law. IT as an additional subject is useful in case you wish to specialize in Cyber Laws. So just go with whatever you like, make a decision based on your natural aptitude.
However, I would suggest all the aspiring lawyers go for Humanities/Arts. It has aligned subjects and is a less pressurizing stream. For those who can handle, with humanities, go for light coaching classes for the CLAT. Believe me, you need just 60 – 70% in 12 to appear for CLAT and that would not be a herculean task. After you finish with your 12th, invest another 3 months of hard labor and discipline to crack CLAT. Note * Only for those who can handle. Ones who are not very fond of books, don’t worry about NLUs or which college you are going to get, not at all if you want to litigate as a lawyer.
Cramming is not an option while studying Law papers. You can need to understand the sections to use it in your practical life too. So in short no matter what stream you choose law is unique and needs an open mind as in some cases when law is silent you need to apply Justice, equity and good conscience.
After graduating from school you can either pick a three-year LLB program or a five-year integrated BA LLB. If you have qualified 10+2/higher secondary school examination/intermediate examination or equivalent and have an urge for legal field, you can look in for the five year integrated BA LLB course. Otherwise, if you feel to join it after graduation, you can go for the LLB program after being graduated.
What I would suggest here is the 5-year integrated course if you want to pursue law as a career, because in most of the cases, the students are either too lazy to pursue 3 years of Law or their career objectives change and they get confused.
Admission to these courses is usually through a written competition, such as the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) that I have talked about earlier. It is the national level law entrance exam. You can take this admission test to secure a seat in any of the 14 National Law Universities (NLUs) in 14 different cities of India like Banglore, Hyderabad, etc.
Other examinations include LSAT, DU LLB/LLM, SET Symbiosis and ULSAT-UPES and other universities and colleges all over India also have exclusive entrance tests or even take admissions on the basis of the percentage scored in class 12. Law School Admission Test, commonly known as LSAT is a standardized test of reading and verbal reasoning skills designed by the USA–based Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for use by law schools in India. Faculty of Law, University of Delhi conducts a separate law entrance exam for admissions to various law courses namely LLB and LLM courses. Symbiosis Entrance Test commonly known as SET is a common written test conducted for taking admission to undergraduate law programs offered by various institutes under Symbiosis International University. UPES Law Studies Aptitude Test commonly known as ULSAT is conducted by the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES). The competitive entrance test is conducted to grant admission to Bachelor of Laws (B.A. LLB) and LLB in Corporate Laws, Cyber Laws and Intellectual Property Rights.
Careers in Law
Opportunity Knocking! Law, for a layman, means a system of rules and guidelines, legally enforceable. But as a profession, it means lots more and encompasses various fields such as litigation, media, IP, academics, etc. The role of a lawyer in today’s era has completely evolved and moved many moons away from black robes and white collars to swanky corporate offices and jobs in movies and the media. Lawyers are the most sought-after people by corporations and individuals, leaving a dearth of lawyers when looked up against the demand. New and lucrative fields have also evolved due to development in different fields like – Marine, Sports, Bankruptcy etc.
From Mahatma Gandhi to Barack Obama, there is a long list of luminaries who have used the legal profession as a stepping-stone to unmatchable greatness. With a growing economy and an increasing number of foreign firms targeting the Indian market, the requirements of legal expertise will only increase, making law a very lucrative career.
The traditional career path is to “practice law” in the courts. But it is essential for any fresh graduate to learn the ropes under a Senior Counsel. The graduates are now supposed to qualify a Bar Exam before they join the Courts of Law. Litigation provides a wide range of employment options in both private and public spheres. You may specialize in a particular field of law such as Taxation, Constitution, Family, etc. You can choose to focus on appellate work, trial-level practice, civil litigation or criminal cases. The field is very interesting and lets you learn a lot about living with people. However it is not the field for you if you want to work from desk in a ‘Silence Please’ workspace with classic corporate culture. In litigation the income is generally close to nothing in initial stages, but grows with experience and has no limits. You may earn 10 Lacs in a day and may even have to go ungreased for a month straight. In this field, your marks in your academic life do not matter at all. The only thing that matters is the exposure that you have and how well do you way out with people.
You may work with a company/corporate entity as an in-house legal counsel, advising on legal matters related to its business. An in-house counsel plays an important role in drafting, vetting and negotiating contracts; ensuring and monitoring compliance with rules and laws; and handling legal disputes. One may join Multi-National Corporations, Private companies, Private Banks, etc.
Counsels are also required in Government Agencies, Public Sector Undertakings, Public and Nationalized banks, etc. These government organizations usually recruit lawyers through a written competitive exam followed by an interview. Here you will have to have a good range of liberties curtailed and work according to the say of your boss. However, this will give you a proper desk to work from and clean and quiet environment with a good work culture. The pay here is a handsome and fixed salary which may look puny after sometime.
These are business entities engaged in the practice of law. A noticeable trend that has emerged in the last few years is to shift from solo practice to well-organized law firms, which comprise several lawyers working together as one entity. As part of a law firm, one advises clients about their legal rights and recourses as well as other legal matters. This is also a lucrative idea where obviously you attract a larger number of clients than what you could personally do. The workspace and control on the firm depends from firm to firm but the earnings are handsome and has no limits. This field many times depends on the marks that you scored in your college and the internship experiences that you have. The students who have completed their masters in this fields are more sort for.
Environmental Law (Green Law)
A rising awareness of environmental issues such as the use of clean technology, renewable energy, managing carbon assets and keeping greenhouse gas inventories has created work for environmental law attorneys. As going green becomes a global priority, lawyers who can advise clients on green initiatives and sustainability issues are in demand. Experts very rightly predict that greenhouse gas, climate change, global warming and other environmental legislation will increase the legal work for environmental lawyers in coming years. This field pays large sums of money in lump sums as you will be dealing with industries and businesses mainly who will be willing to pay a lot to get rid of the charges and not having to shut down their businesses. It also let’s you to contribute to nature like no other field. However, this field is pretty exhausting and the proceedings may go on for very long periods and the court litigations may not be able to satisfy your desire to work in AC rooms on your laptop drinking your favourite latte.
Bankruptcy Law is one of the fastest growing practice areas in the legal industry today. With unemployment reaching record levels, many consumers no longer have the means to pay their monthly debt and mortgage obligations. Moreover, a declining economy, escalating medical costs, and record foreclosures have created a surge in Chapter 7 filings. The ailing economy has also prompted more business to seek legal help in restructuring their assets. As bankruptcy work continues to explode, attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals with bankruptcy knowledge will be highly sought after. The only drawback in this field is that sometimes you have to work on promises from the businesses on the verge of bankruptcy and cannot pay immediately but after some time. However if everything goes well the returns are huge as the dealing here is mainly with giant businesses and industry holders.
Labour and Employment Law
An ailing economy, business downsizing, a declining job market, and increased government enforcement will dramatically increase employment lawsuits. In a strong economy, employees find new jobs quickly and are less inclined to file employment-related claims. However, unemployed workers facing financial ruin are more motivated to pursue litigation. Moreover, litigation rises in an economic downturn as regulators step up enforcement and organizations file more lawsuits to collect money owed. Corporate counsel predicts litigation to swell in the future, according to a recent litigation trends survey, and labour and employment disputes are predicted to account for a significant number of those lawsuits. This field pays you not In lump sums but small and happy amounts frequently. You will have to deal with people on wages and mostly NGO’s will be your clients. The field lets you contribute to the society and work towards your compassion for the downtrodden. If you are the one who values respect and contribution more than money, go for the labour laws.
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property is an organization’s most valuable asset. New developments in science and technology have created the need for lawyers with specialized backgrounds in these areas to help protect the intellectual capital of businesses, authors, inventors, musicians and other owners of creative works. In today’s competitive landscape, demand for intellectual property lawyers is growing at a high rate. As long as invention and innovation exist, intellectual property lawyers, paralegals, and other professionals will be needed to procure the rights to new ideas and protect the ownership of existing creations. Even when other law practices are affected by a recession, intellectual property law continues to thrive. The field is a total money making machine which pays lump sums and that too frequently. The only setback for my easy going friends is that the litigations in this field may get very complicated and confusing and convincing a court can be a mammoth job.
As I told you earlier you can opt any stream that interests you when you are going to persue law. My tech friends would love to work in a field where they can engage in what they are passionate about and even be successful working for what they understand better than the others. The field is a moderate one when it comes to earnings, however, the demand for lawyers in this field is at boom and thus you earn on frequent dates. Also, this field has a lot of workload as you get to work until there is technology and innovation in the world.
Air and Marine Laws
These fields are brand new with respect to others and see a big deficiency in the number of practitioners right now. As a result getting a job in this field is easy if you already have some knowledge of the air and marine laws. The job pays you very well and in huge amounts and mostly big corporations are your clients and you even get to travel abroad, for free! What’s better?
This field Is a newborn where the main work is litigating, counseling and contracting for various sports clubs and teams and corporations. The field is highly unexplored and comes with great opportunities both in terms of fame and money.
Judicial Services/Civil Services
The State Judicial Services Examination organized by the High Courts for their respective states, is a safe and sound option for those of you, who wish to pursue a stable government career. One may also opt for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, which is the most prestigious examination in the country. This field is the field that is going to outgrow any other in this country. You are offered stability and power in this field and a big hamper of facilities from the government. The salaries touch a maximum of Rs. 1,50,000P.m, but other pros in this field suffice. I would suggest going for professorship before judiciary to be able to crack and complement the position you are going for.
A career that not only allows you to pursue your intellectual interests and work on research projects, but also offers a wide degree of flexibility and autonomy and pays you to read, talk and think. You can even go for the professorship and while interacting with new people and students every day you can earn a fixed salary and the respect that you earn in this field is something to be proud of. The earnings in this profession may vary from place to place and institution to institution depending upon the position that you hold. It may range from 50,000 p.m to 2,00,000 p.m. All together it is an interesting and somewhat easier field with stable job. It is beneficial to be holding a masters degree in this field or a Ph.D.
Lawyers get an opportunity to work as editors for various types of print and electronic media. It is a good option for those with a knack for writing. However, you will find the job satisfactory if you are the one who writes when he is hungry and thirsty. The earnings may not be very great, but if you are following your passion, then it would be more than satisfactory as a whole.
One can take up a career as a law reporter with TV channels and newspapers. Ranging from high profile cases to concerns related to social issues and human rights, a new path for lawyers has opened up in this field.If you have the journalist blood and tongue, you are fit for this job. This offers you network, money and fame just adequately. You can earn anywhere around 1,50,000.
There are many more fields in law which are yet not discovered or are not very famous, however, once you are a lawyer, you do not have to see a time when you have nothing to do. You see litigations every day in every field. You just have to be praying for more and more disputes every day! No don’t!
Lawyers like other professionals such as doctors and chartered accountants require experience to polish their skills and become valuable for their clients. Therefore, it is time which helps a lawyer become effective. Being from a lawyer’s family myself I have seen my homies spending nights without thinking about other necessities of life. Candidates determined to succeed in the profession have to be patient in the initial phase of their career. However, there is no limit to success and money as well as power for a lawyer. Lawyers are not only respected but also help people in their battle for justice making a huge contribution to the society..
Thus, this profession is a full package that offers everything that a person looks forward to when he pursues a profession. You don’t have to demand respect but you command respect and money here. Anyone with any interest can go for this field as the law is somethings that touch everyone is one or another way and you can work in the field which you feel for the most and are interested in the most. Moreover, the profession is a noble one and you can make huge contributions in other’s lives and earn from it handsomely. There are just 3 things that it demands in return – Hard work, patience and constant reading throughout your life. And remember – Do what you love and love what you do!