“Do not look at Law as a means of making money. Look at Law as an instrument for securing justice to people.”
– Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
That being said, if you are someone who wants to serve the people by fighting for their justice, someone who believes that truth shall always prevail and who wants to protect the interests of the people; a Career in Law might be the answer.
Good communications skills, strong logical and analytical skills, an eye for detail and confidence are some of the qualities required in this profession. So, if you have already decided to opt for this profession, you can start working on them to make them even better.
There are abundant opportunities available for a law graduate, from practising in courts to working with corporate firms, government department ministries, becoming a judge, a public prosecutor and so on.
Now, let me give you an insight into how your journey is going to be if you want to pursue a career in Law.
How to Become a Lawyer in India?
Step 1 – Choose any Stream after Class 10th
There is no specific stream required to pursue a degree in law, and students from all streams can go for this career. Generally, students who want to pursue law right after their 12th take up Humanities or Commerce streams. Some of the popular subjects for students aspiring for Law are Political Science, Legal Studies, Economics, History and Psychology. These subjects are recommended because they help form a base for the subjects taught in Law schools and some of these are beneficial in providing an insight to school students about the legal system of our country.
Step 2 – Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (L.L.B)
The next step in your journey to becoming a lawyer is to pursue a graduate degree in LAw (L.L.B). You can pursue this either right after class 12th or after your graduation in any other subject.
Route 1: Pursuing Law After Class 12th (5-Year L.L.B Program)
If you are determined to pursue a career in Law, you should enrol yourself into a 5-year integrated program. 5-Year L.L.B degrees teach you basic graduation subjects along with the subjects of Law, with the most common course combinations offered being B.A L.L.B (Hons), B.Sc L.L.B (Hons), BBA L.L.B (Hons) and B.Com L.L.B (Hons). The benefits of 5-year programs are that you get an exposure to Law subjects early on (alongside your graduation), giving you greater insights into the core subjects of Law, and you also save a year of study as compared to Law after graduation.
Top Institutes for 5-year L.L.B Programs
- National Law School of India University, Bangalore
- Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
- West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
- National Law University, New Delhi
- National Law University, Jodhpur
- National Law University, Bhopal
- Gujrat National Law University, Gandhinagar
- Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat
- Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Key Entrance Exams for 5-Year L.L.B Programs
The top institutes in Law accept admission into their 5-year integrated program based on the scores of entrance exams. Different law institutes accept scores from different entrances. Some of the top undergraduate entrance examinations for Law are:
- Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) – It is a two-hour, computer-based, standardized test for admission to 18 prominent National Law Universities in India. It covers objective-type questions relating to elementary Mathematics, English with Comprehension, General knowledge, Current Affairs, Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning.
- All India Law Entrance Test (AILET) – This test is conducted by National Law University (Delhi) for providing admission to its integrated BA. L.L.B (Hons.) and includes sections like English, General Knowledge, Legal Aptitude, Reasoning and Numerical Ability.
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT) – It is a standardized test with a duration of 3 hours 30 minutes, designed to assess reading comprehension, Logical and Analytical Reasoning proficiencies. These test scores are accepted by Jindal Global Law School, Alliance School of Law, Faculty of Law (SRM University), Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law (IIT Kharagpur), amongst others.
- Symbiosis Entrance Test (SET) – Symbiosis International University conducts this test for admission to its undergraduate law programs. It consists of sections like Logical Reasoning, Legal Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and General Knowledge.
Route 2: Pursuing Law After Graduation (3-Year L.L.B Program)
There are times when students do graduation in some other subject but realize later that they want to take up Law as a career. In such a case, you can still go on to pursue a degree in Law, through a 3-year L.L.B course right after your graduation. The only difference between a 3-year L.L.B and 5-year L.L.B program is that in the former you only study core Law subjects, while the latter also teaches basic subjects of graduation along with the core subjects of Law.
Top Institutes for 3-Year L.L.B Programs
- Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, New Delhi
- Jindal Global Law School, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat
- Faculty of law, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- Government Law College, Mumbai
- ILS Law College, Pune
Key Entrance Exams for 3-Year L.L.B Programs
The entrance exams that you need to give for securing your admission in a 3-year L.L.B program are:
- DU L.L.B- This exam is conducted by the Faculty of Law, Delhi University. It consists of sections like English Language and Comprehension, Current Affairs, General Knowledge, Quantitative Aptitude, Analytical & Logical Reasoning and Legal Awareness & Aptitude.
- LSAT– This test is accepted by Jindal Global Law School, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat for admission to their 3-Year L.L.B Programs. It consists of sections like Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. (Note– This test is accepted by law schools for admission to their 5 years as well as 3-year programs)
- MH CET- It is conducted for admission to the Law colleges of Maharashtra including the well-renowned Government Law College. It tests the students on their Legal Aptitude, General Knowledge & Current Affairs, English and Logical & Analytical Reasoning.
- BHU L.L.B– It is conducted by the Banaras Hindu University for admission to its 3-year LL.B Program. It contains sections like English Comprehension, General Awareness & Current Affairs, Aptitude & Mental Ability and Common Legal Knowledge.
Lawyers v/s Advocates
“All Advocates are Lawyers but not all Lawyers are Advocates”.
To explain this statement further, an Advocate is a person who fights cases in court and is registered with the Bar Council of India, whereas a Lawyer is someone who provides legal advice to businesses, firms, companies or individuals, but cannot represent their cases in court. Lawyers are graduates in L.L.B but are not enrolled with the Bar Council of India.
How to become an Advocate in India?
If you wish to practice in courts, you can follow the following steps:
Step 1- Secure a graduate degree in Law.
You must have graduated with either a 5-year integrated degree or a 3-year L.L.B degree to be eligible for becoming an Advocate in India.
Step 2- Gain practical work experience through Internships.
Every Law graduate is required to have done an internship under a senior advocate or a law firm, as prescribed by the specific institution from where they are pursuing their graduation. Generally, the duration of the internship is a minimum of one month and you can intern even during your graduation or after completing it. An individual can also do 2-3 internships under different advocates or firms in order to gain a diverse knowledge of the subject.
Step 3- Enroll with the State Bar Council.
The next step is to enroll yourself with the State Bar Council and clear the All India Bar Examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. Once this exam is cleared, you get a certificate of practice through which you are eligible to practice law in court.
Specializations in Law
In case you are thinking of going into research and publishing or the education sector, a specialization would help you enhance your knowledge. To specialise in a particular field of Law, you need to pursue a Master’s degree in Law (L.L.M).
Some of the common specializations that lawyers opt for are:
- Civil Law- It is also known as the common law which is entitled to every person. It deals with disputes between individuals in areas like violation of their rights, breach of contracts among parties, property and family law.
- Criminal Law- Criminal Law relates to cases regarding criminal offences. A Criminal Lawyer researches in detail the background of the case and also needs to interact with the clients, police, and witnesses to collect actual facts and evidence in order to defend their client.
- Tax Law- This field deals with the study of various tax policies of a nation and focuses mainly on different types of taxes, such as income tax, real tax, estate tax, franchises, problems of inheritance, etc.
- Intellectual Property Law– An IPR Lawyer counsels their clients on the protection of their intangible property like inventions, literary & artistic works, symbols, names, images and designs used in business, etc.
- Corporate Law- Corporate Law essentially involves studying acts and laws that apply to a company. Corporate lawyers advise companies on their legal rights, obligations, and privileges and also deal with employment law issues, contract disputes, the protection the intellectual property rights of the company, etc.
- Environmental Law- This field focuses on laws that help to protect the environment by regulating the impact of human activities on the environment relating to land, air, water, conservation of wildlife, etc.
Top Institutes for L.L.M in India
- National Law School of India University, Bangalore
- Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, New Delhi
- Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
- West Bengal University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
- National Law Institute University, Bhopal
Scope of Law in India
Some of you might think that after securing a degree in Law, the next step is to practice in courts. But this is not the case. There are many other opportunities in Law that you can undertake in addition to becoming an advocate, such as:
- Corporate Counsel– A lawyer can provide in-house legal counsel to their corporate clients relating to their business matters. The basic work of a corporate lawyer is to draft and negotiate contracts, handle legal disputes and ensure that everything is within the prescribed rules and regulations of the company and the government.
- Law Firms- Law Firms are well-organized firms comprising of several lawyers or advocates working together as one entity. These firms provide legal advice to their clients and provide them with all possible actions that could prevent any penalty implied on them.
- Litigation- A Litigating Lawyer or an Advocate represents his/her client’s case in court. In order to practice in court, you need to enroll yourself with the state bar council and clear the All India Bar Examination.
- Social Work- Many law graduates join NGOs to work for social causes such as environmental protection, gender concerns, caste discrimination, working conditions of laborers, etc. You can even work with international organizations such as the UN or with international tribunals like International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, International Labor Organization etc
- Legal Publishing and Media- Many well-renowned lawyers also work as editors for print media like newspapers, journals and electronic media like news channels, where they put their writing skills to use and pass on their legal knowledge to the public. Legal Journalism involves reporting on legal proceedings held in court to the public.
- Indian Legal Services- Law graduates who have cleared the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) or State Public Service Commission (SPSC) Examination can provide legal service in the Department of Legal Affairs, Legislative Council in the Legislative Department or the Department of Justice of the Indian government.
- Professor- After gaining some experience as an advocate or any other field of law, you can teach at law schools and make your career in the teaching sector, as you would have both theoretical and practical knowledge of this sphere.
Pros and Cons of a Career in Law
No doubt that Law as a profession is very lucrative and appealing, but it too has certain advantages and disadvantages. Here are some points to keep in mind to decide whether Law is a suitable career option for you or not.
- Helping People- This profession provides an opportunity for those who want to fight for the people and help them in seeking justice for any wrongful act done to them.
- Intellectual Challenge- Not only for an advocate but for a legal counsellor also, Law is a mentally stimulating profession. Lawyers need to carry out extensive research for each case to find all the possible information as a small detail can change the direction of a case.
- Wide Range of Career Options- As already mentioned above, you get a wide range of career options to choose from. You can get into consultancy services, start your own Law firm, become an advocate, become a law professor etc.
- High Stress- This profession can be quite stressful when you have pending cases and short deadlines.
- Dealing with a lot of Information- Each case requires thorough research and due-diligence, which also amounts to a lot of information that you need to deal with on a daily basis, in addition to long working hours on average.
- Rising Competition- As the number of law schools is increasing, the number of Law graduates is also on a rise. This has led to an increase in competition and you need to prove your worth to be called the best.
After going through this blog, I am sure you’ll now have a good idea about what Law is and what it demands. No doubt the entire process is going to be exhaustive, but the end results are going to be worth the efforts!
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