Some traditional perceptions regarding careers are changing fast. It was believed that pursuing law will not generate success and money as quickly as taking up medicine or engineering does. This view is far from the reality. A management degree is the springboard to corporate success. But in the same corporate world, there is a rising demand for good lawyers as well. While students after completing their intermediate struggle hard to secure a qualifying rank in IIT-JEE, there is a growing number of aspirants working equally hard to crack Common Law Aptitude Test, popularly known as CLAT in the country.
- 1 CLAT – a craze with students
- 2 Law – respected for generations
- 3 Step in the right direction
- 4 Early start
- 5 What it takes
- 6 Cost of education for LLB
- 7 Funding and Scholarship for Law students
- 8 Job opportunities for Law students
- 9 Salary Package for Lawyers
- 10 In demand
- 11 Market Scenario
- 12 Global Focus
- 13 Highs and Lows of choosing Law as a career
- 14 Tips for Getting Hired
CLAT – a craze with students
CLAT is conducted by 14 national law universities for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes (LLB & LLM). Thousands of students from all over India appear for this test every year. Students are taking up CLAT as seriously as IIT-JEE. The result of CLAT shows the trend of science students clearing it with very good ranking. This suggests that many students with science background are open to the idea of being lawyers. Even those who qualify in medicine or engineering are inclined to opt for law. There is immense scope of growth in this domain. Besides, it carries more potential to serve society where justice suffers when quality professionals with superior brains do not pursue this profession. Though parents feel surprised to hear their children prefer law as a career option, they extend complete support to honour their choice.
Law – respected for generations
Law is one of the most popular career choices in India for a long time. Those who have lawyers in their families for generations prefer to enter this profession. However, to become a lawyer it is not mandatory to have a family background in law. Anyone with passion for the subject can take it up. Traditionally, students could specialise in either civil or criminal laws. This concept has changed now. Students can specialise in any of the multiple options offered like patent laws and corporate laws. A degree in law not only lets the candidate practice as a lawyer in the courts and in the company but it also opens up career avenues in sectors like corporate management, legal services and administrative services. Sounds exciting!
Step in the right direction
Students interested in law can either do a three-year law course after graduation in any discipline or a five-year year course after class 12. In fact, the three-year course is giving way to the five-year one. In most cases, colleges run the three-year course only for those whose main discipline in graduation is something other than law, or working professionals who want to do an LLB as an additional qualification. The five year course is meant for those who want to take up law as a career – be it as a litigator, or any other type of legal professional.
The LLB course, regulated by the Bar Council of India, sets rules and regulations regarding legal practice in the country. Any specialisation is done at Masters, M.Phil or PhD stage. A higher degree helps candidates secure jobs in academics.
A candidate can begin preparing for law entrance exam conducted at national level for five-year BA LLB at various National Law Schools soon after completing the senior secondary exam. The national law entrance exam, CLAT (Combined Law Admission Test) tests the student’s general English, legal aptitude, general awareness, logical skills et al. Some universities offering the three-year LLB course conduct entrance exam with a similar syllabus.
What it takes
Law as a career requires oodles of patience and logical skills. It takes lot of hard work and dedication to become a successful lawyer. First generation lawyers face numerous problems in the métier just as it happens in every other profession. It becomes easier if one trains under a Senior Counsel in the beginning of their career. This is not to hint that upstarts cannot make it big. Dedication and diligence works wonders. Refined communication skills and a faculty for critical analysis and articulation are pre-requisites. One should mull over these aspects before opting for law as a career.
Cost of education for LLB
Three-year LLB course involves expenses in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 for three years. The five-year BA LLB costs more, in the range of about Rs 3, 00,000 for five years. Hostel expenses are exclusive of tuition fees.
Funding and Scholarship for Law students
Not many law schools offer financial assistance on the basis of entrance exam. The candidate must consult the authorities and find out the specific policies on scholarship from respective universities. Students can approach banks for education loan or apply for various scholarships that are offered from time to time.
Job opportunities for Law students
There are abundant opportunities for a law graduate. One can either practice as an advocate in a court of law or work with corporate firms. By clearing exams conducted by Public Service Commissions, a law graduate becomes a judge. After gaining experience, a law graduate can aim to become Solicitor General, a Public Prosecutor or offer services to government departments and ministries. One can also work as a legal adviser for various organisations. Teaching in colleges, working with NGOs and functioning as a reporter for print or electronic media are other profitable options.
Salary Package for Lawyers
A lawyer who wishes to start his practice in a court can get a stipend of Rs 5000 to Rs 40,000 depending upon the advocate he is associated with. A law graduate working with Legal Process Outsourcing can earn good salary between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000. It is a very high paying profession, but depends largely on the quality, popularity and success of the candidate. The college you graduate from is another key factor.
Dearth of qualified lawyers has been a stifling problem. The Bar Council of India has expressed concern that young lawyers do not join the Bar. There are around ten lakh lawyers in India. According to experts, only 20 per cent of the tribe can be considered fit to practice in courts. Several schools like NLSU, NALSAR were established to increase the level of legal education and produce skilled lawyers to meet this requirement. With such a huge backlog of cases and high litigation rates in India, meritorious lawyers will earn well.
Talks are underway to expand the scope for legal practice in India and open avenues for law firms from outside India. Students can secure better job opportunities when foreign law firms set shop here. LPOs have started roping in young law graduates for their processes dealing in US laws or UK laws. Legal education has been liberalized. Professionals from various other disciplines are keen to do short term courses in law. This will raise the bar of legal awareness.
Legal education in India is similar to the one in the UK. Many universities in the UK offer legal education to Indian students who enjoy working there, with attractive salary packages. A recent trend has been that students from India study in law colleges in the USA and receive attractive jobs after completion of the course. Harvard Law School, Yale University and Australia National University are some preferred destinations for Indian law students.
Highs and Lows of choosing Law as a career
Lawyers, just like doctors and chartered accountants, require experience to hone their skills and become valuable for clients. Time helps a lawyer become effective. Candidates determined to succeed in the profession have to be patient in the initial phase of their career. There is no limit to success, respect, money and power. Lawyers also help people in their battle for justice.
Tips for Getting Hired
Candidates who do five years BA LLB from premier schools like NLSUI Bangalore, NALSAR Hyderabad get excellent job offers from top legal firms and ITES firms. Many also opt to begin their own practice. All law graduates who wish to practice in the courts have to register themselves in the Bar Council of India (BCI) and practice in courts under senior lawyers.
Practical training in court enhances your chances of getting hired by top legal firms and with senior lawyers. Though most of the law colleges impart practical legal education to final year students, it is students who should take initiative and start visiting court proceedings in the final year to understand the day-to-day affair.
When the legal scenario looks so promising, there is sufficient wisdom in the decision making of young aspirants who want to train in this field instead of settling for engineering or medicine. The arena is full of opportunities for those who have it in them. Try and prove your mettle. Only the best deserve to be here.