In-Depth Jobs


Volume-35, 25 November-1 December, 2017

 
Career Prospects in Law

Usha Albuquerque and
Nidhi Prasad

Are you looking for a career that gives you a battlefield kind of adrenaline rush but without the risk of being shot at? Do you love watching all those crime serials with exciting courtroom drama ?
A career in law might be your ticket to the future.
The LLB which translates from the Latin abbreviation of Legum Baccalaureus is the qualification also known as the Bachelor of Law, while the master's degree is known as LLM, the Legum Magister.
Lawyers affect our everyday lives in countless ways. They are involved in everything from buying a home, to writing a will, to prosecuting and defending criminals. They counsel, strategize, problem-solve, write, advocate, negotiate - the list is endless.
The legal profession in India has undergone a strategic and substantial change over the last few decades. There is a long list of luminaries who have used this profession as a stepping stone to greatness. Gone are the days when black robes and courtrooms were the bread and butter of lawyers. From swanky corporate offices to jobs in movies and the media, lawyers have moved many moons away from the conventional,  and now live very much in the real world.
What Lawyers Do?
A lawyer is a person who practices law, as a paralegal, advocate, barrister, attorney, counselor. Lawyers advice clients and provide solutions to legal issues at both private and public level. They interpret laws, rules and regulations and prepare legal documents. They argue and debate at the courts and take decisions on legal matters. As a lawyer one is expected to apply abstract law theories to solve problems of clients in diverse set of situations.
Earlier law was seen as a family profession - with sons and daughters following fathers and grand-fathers into the family legal practice. But the scene has changed today, and anyone having the traits and passion for this field can opt for the course and achieve their dreams. The legal profession, that third wing of the democratic system, is once again one of the more respectable careers, and  so, highly sought after that the buzz is that lawyers are not only making news, but much money too. The black coat doesn't only have to do the rounds of musty civil courts, today's lawyer can choose the sophistication of corporate boardrooms also.
 As the legal system covers and regulates practically all aspects of our social, political and economic inter-actions, lawyers can specialise in specific areas of legal interest. These include: Civil cases, criminal cases, company law, taxation law, labour Law, constitution law as well as more recently -Corporate law, Human Rights Law, International Law, environment law, patents law, cyber law, intellectual property law and so on.
Fields of Specialisation
*Civil/Criminal Law
*Constitutional Law
*Administrative Law
*Human Rights Law
*Family Law
*Taxation
*Corporate/ Business Law
*International Law
*Labour Law
*Real Estate Law
*Intellectual property / Patent Law
*Maritime Law
*Medical Law
*Media Law
And so on
Work Profile
*Meet and consult clients to understand and manage their legal transactions
*Draft official papers, letters and agreements personalized to the client's specific requirements
*Gather evidence to formulate defense strategy, by means of interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts
*Study and interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses
*Analyze probable scenarios in cases, using knowledge of legal theory and precedents
*Negotiate and bargain with clients and other related network partners to achieve the given objective
*Manage and supervise the execution and drafting of contracts
*Correspond with clients and conflicting advocates
*Represent clients in Court during disputes
Eligiblity
To become a lawyer you need to have qualified with a Bachelor's degree in Law or BA-LLB.
This involves a  - 5-year course, after 10+2 with any subjects, or
-- A 3- year law course after graduation in any discipline,
To qualify for legal practice however, a year's apprenticeship with either a solicitor or an advocate's firm in required. After two years of apprenticeship the law apprentice can sit for the exam of articled clerk conducted by the Bar Council which then licenses the lawyer to practice.
One can either pursue a 3-year law course after graduation in any discipline or a 5-year course after passing class 12 examinations, leading to an integrated B.A. LL. B (Hons) course. Many universities offer integrated courses such as B.B.A. - LL B, B. Com/BBA - LLB, and even B.Tech - LL.B. Students who wish to pursue a five year course must appear for highly competitive entrance tests such as the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). The law entrance tests for law courses include -
*CLAT- Common Law Admission Test, commonly known as CLAT is a national level law entrance exam. You can take this after passing XIIth class admission test to secure a seat in any of the National Law Universities (NLUs), TNNLS Tiruchirapalli, DSNLU Visakhapatnam, Nirma Ahmedabad etc.
*LSAT- 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.
*DU LLB/LLM - Faculty of Law, University of Delhi conducts a separate law entrance exam for admissions to various law courses namely LLB and LLM courses.
*SET Symbiosis - 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.
*ULSAT-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.
*(IPU CET LLB) Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Common Entrance Test
*(BLAT) Banaras Hindu University BA LLB Admission Test
*Jamia Millia Islamia Law Entrance Exam
*Allahabad University LLB Admission Test
Skills Required
Primarily, skills such as and inquisitive nature, attention to detail, logical reasoning, persuasiveness, sound judgment and writing ability are significant for success as a professional in law.  To become a successful lawyer, one must possess good oratory skills and a strong command of language. Today, more skills are required to practice law competently and effectively. Some of these are:
*Good communication skills
*Quick responsiveness
*Excellent memory
*Open and flexible mind
*Good authoritative leadership qualities
*Logical reasoning
*Good listening and powerful oratorical skills
*Knowledge of all statutes, rules and regulations, and notifications
*Patience - some cases can drag on endlessly
*Ability to constantly learn and pick up a lot of information.
*Ability to take stress - hard decisions often have to be made during most trials,
Scope
Law is a very popular career choice in any country and certainly one of the most respected professions with a wide range of career possibilities. After graduating a lawyer has several professional options. You can work in government, in the corporate sector, with financial institutions, in a law firm, consultancies or private practice.
To work in government, lawyers can join the Indian legal/ judicial service or the State legal service, after qualifying in the Law Service Commission, or the State Public Service Commission entrances examination. Those who are selected join as munsif is a district court, and move up in time to the post of district and sessions judge, or to senior positions in the judiciary and revenue departments.
A lawyer can also apply for the legal branch in the defence services, the Judge Advocate General's department through the services selection board tests and interview.
A majority of lawyers take up jobs in law firms or private practice handling civil and criminal cases, matters of property, inheritance, contract and commercial issues, theft murder, crimes against society or the state and so on. Other specialised areas could include tax law, concerning income-tax, wealth tax, estate duties and so on or labour law, specializing in solving problems arising between the management and the labour force in an organisation or even excise and customs law, constitutional law, international law and several others.
A dominant trend these days is the lure of corporate jobs for law graduates. Today leading law firms are the most sought-after destination for Law Graduates. Some of the top law firms in the country are: Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, J Sagar Associates, Khaitan & Co, Luthra & Luthra. Trending Fields: Corporate Law, International Taxation, Cyber Law.
Following are the career prospects for a law graduate & a legal practitioner:
*Litigation : A litigating lawyer hears out the case, drafts it for the client and either by himself/herself or assisted with a team, fights the case in a court of law or tribunal. Also, there has been a trend towards specializing in areas like Intellectual Property Lawyers, Tax Lawyers, Arbitrary Lawyers and Constitutional Lawyers.
*Indian Legal Service : There is also an option of legal service in Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Council in Legislative Department.
*Besides legal advisors ; members of law commission, government advocates, public prosecutors, solicitors, Attorney General of India, legal secretaries in assemblies, judicial members in CAT, sales tax, income tax excise and other tribunals are also appointed as per the guidelines. They are also recruited as commission officers in the legal branches in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force to conduct court martial proceedings.
*Teaching & Writing : There is a wide scope for law graduates to become professors and guest lecturers in prestigious universities.
*Legal journalism is also in vogue these days
*Law firms : Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB, Luthra & Luthra, JSA, Trilegal, Khaitan & Co
*Corporate in-house legal departments : HUL, ICICI, ITC, Ernst & Young, PWC have their own legal departments
*PSUs : SEBI, ONGC, IOCL, SAIL
*Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) : Pangea3, OSC, CPA Global, Clutch Group
*IP firms : Anand & Anand, Remfry & Sagar, Lall &Sethi
*Research : Lexis Nexis, Manupatra
*Arbitration consultancies : Karanjawala, Oasis
*Chamber practice
*Working with Senior Counsel
*Litigation firms
*Non-profits Organisation
*Academia
But now, the opportunities available for graduates from any of the top Law Schools are phenomenal. After the liberalization of India's economy there is a huge demand for highly skilled lawyers who are adept in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, infrastructure contracts, debt restructuring, FEMA regulations, IPRs, corporate governance, private equity deals, WTO law etc. Students also join in environment or Human Rights in reputed organizations like CSE, ICRC, UNHCR etc.
Some of the Colleges offering courses
Students can prepare for law entrance exams right from class 11th or 12th standard. The National Law Universities throughout the country under CLAT are listed below :
*National Law School India University, Bengaluru (NLSIU)
*National Academy of Legal Study and Research, Hyderabad (NALSAR)
*National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (NUJS)
*National Law Institute University, Bhopal (NLIU)
*National Law University, Jodhpur (NLUJ)
*Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (HNLU)
*Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU)
*Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow (RMLNLU)
*Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab (RGNUL)
*Chanakya National Law University, Patna (CNLU)
*National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (NUALS)
*National Law University, Odisha (NLUO)
*National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi (NUSRL)
*National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJA)
*National Law University, Delhi (NLUD) conducts its own paper AILET.
Other than these some universities conduct their own papers. Some of them are: -
*Symbiosis Law School
*IP University
*Amity University
*UPES Dehradun
*Aligarh Muslim University
*Jamia Millia Islamia College
Law is an attractive profession with lots of money and wide scope, but it requires a good amount of hard work with no shortcuts.Organizations place a premium on good team work skills, business etiquette, negotiation skills, a sense of responsibility and a willingness to learn.
(Usha Albuquerque is Director & Nidhi Prasad is Senior Counseling Psychologist at Careers Smart Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi. e-mail : careerssmartonline@gmail.com)
Views expressed are personal.
Image: Courtesy Google