The ambition to enter the legal profession is usually drawn from inspiration. Most law aspirants tend to find their stimulus either from personal heroes (usually family members) or fictional ones or because they feel really drawn by the idea that one person can truly make a difference.
From Mahatma Gandhi to Barack Obama, the list of luminaries who have used this profession as a stepping stone to greatness runs long and wide. Gone are the days when black robes and courtrooms where 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. The legal profession now looks attractive enough for those willing to pursue a career in it.
Litigation: The traditional career path is to “practice law” in the courts. It is essential for any fresh graduate to learn the ropes under a Senior Counsel. The graduates should 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 can 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.
Corporate Counsel: 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.
a) Private Sphere: One may join Multi National Corporations, Private companies, Private Banks, etc.
b) Public Sphere: 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.
LAW Firms: 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
Social Work: A sizeable number of law school graduates join Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work for social causes. If you are passionate about socio-legal issues, then this is the right avenue for you. One may work with NGOs and Civil Society Organizations on issues based on environmental protection, gender concerns, caste discrimination, employment, working conditions, marginalization of various sections of the society, etc. Law school graduates are also offered opportunities to work with international organizations such as the United Nations and with international tribunals like International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, etc.
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.
Legal Process Outsourcing: Legal Processing outsourcing (LPO) is the delegation of core legal functions like making first drafts of cases, compliance work, legal research, etc. to an external counsel. The assigned task is completed on the basis of set parameters and fixed timelines. You can become an important part of reputed MNCs by forging a career in LPO.
Academia: 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?
Judicial Clerkship: A judicial clerkship is an extremely valuable experience for students interested in either litigation or transactional work; it provides invaluable insights into the workings of the legal system. Law clerks act as legal assistants whose duties vary from court to court and judge to judge.
Media and Law: As professionals, both journalism and law are intertwined as they require superior research and writing skills as well as a critical knowledge of the government and the legal system. Legal journalism covers legal proceedings in courts, arbitration events, criminal matters, etc., which are disseminated to the public.
a) Legal Publishing: 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.
b) Law Reporting: 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.
Pre-requisites for the profession:
Good communication skills are a given – both oral and written. A lawyer must also be fond of reading because he/she will need to do a fair bit of research to be effective at the job. However, the most important skill that you need to have is logical reasoning. You need to be able to be able to look at matters objectively and come to your own conclusions.
These entrance exams typically require you to prepare for about 9–12 months on topics like Mathematics, English, General knowledge, Current affairs, Legal aptitude and Logical reasoning. Some of the top entrance exams are: CLAT, LSAT, AILET, SET, BVP CET LAW, DU LAW test, BHU-UET, AMU Law test.
Courses to pursue Law in India:
- BA + LLB
- B.Com + LLB
- BBM + LLB
- BBA + LLB
Best Colleges to study law in India:
- National Law School of India University, Bangalore
- National Law University, New Delhi
- NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
- Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- National Law University, Jodhpur
- WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
- Government Law College, Mumbai
- Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
- National Law Institute University, Bhopal
- Chanakya National Law University, Patna
- National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
- Indian Law Society Law College, Pune
- National Law University and Judicial Academy, Guwahati
- National Law University, Cuttack
- Indian Law Institute, New Delhi
- Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam
- Karnataka State Law University, Hubli
- University College of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
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