Come hail or storm, recession or boom, one thing is certain: Lawyers are never going out of fashion. Really! The laws in the country are always so complex; ever since they have been drafted, and redrafted, and amended like nobody’s business. It takes an expert, sometimes, maybe several so to resolve the simplest of legal matters.
Needless to say, this makes the work of anyone in this profession fairly significant. In addition, as the public and society, in general, get more conscious of their surroundings and rights, careers in law become more popular by the day.
As an obvious consequence, there are now more specializations available in the profession like never before. Just to state the facts, a lawyer is a person licensed by the government to practice law and advise clients on legal matters.
What does it take to become a lawyer?
You need to have a certain flair for thinking about both sides of an argument, not to mention a flair for the argument itself. The study of law is a rigorous process and needs concentration, a certain level of rote learning, lots of research on previous cases and the ability to apply the knowledge and research to new cases. Success in this profession is not based on marks you have obtained all the examinations, but much depends on personal attributes. Of course, communication skills are important for any job, yet, this one depends on it. Besides great oral and written communication skills, logical reasoning, power of concentration, patience, good memory to relate and quote past cases to prove your point, ability to argue and discuss matters with a variety of people, self confidence and courage are important. Like in every dynamic profession, one has to be up-to-date with information on any changes in the law. Needless to say, for that you have to indulge in a fair amount of reading.
Which path should you take to pursue a career in law?
There are many routes to study law. If you opt for an undergrad programme, you need to finish class 12 from a recognised board. Then you could opt for the five-year undergrad degree in law. Otherwise, you could opt for the LLB degree after graduation. It requires you to finish a bachelor’s degree from any recognised university. Of course, post that, further programme, the LLM is of two years’ duration and needs the LLB qualification as a pre-requisite.
Apart from that, there are a variety of certificate and diploma courses available for those who need specialised guidance, ranging from forensic law to cyber law and intellectual property rights (IPR). Many institutes also offer other diploma courses in several mixed disciplines like administrative law, international law, labour laws, tax laws and corporate laws. In some institutes or universities, the selection for admission is on the basis of your graduation marks.
In others, it is an entrance test. You need to figure out the institute you want to study in, and then check the requirements for admission. The entrance examination is usually objective type in nature, with questions invariably covering areas like reasoning, general awareness, numerical aptitude, legal aptitude and preliminary political science.
What lies ahead?
With the field booming more than ever before, many a times, law students are hired on as an intern and then retained by the firm they are interning for. In many cases, there is no looking back as this field not only offers tremendous grown opportunities but also chances for partnerships at the firm.
Lawyers can find employment opportunities in public and private sector organisations. Most lawyers prefer to become an advocate and practice law as a profession. For that, they have to enroll with the local, state or central Bar Council. Central or state government jobs are also open to lawyers. Moreover, lawyers can also work as legal counsel and legal advisers for firms, organisations and families. They also can work with legal consultancy firms dealing with tax, excise, patent, labour and environmental laws. They also can work as trustees of various trusts, law reporters in media industries.
Besides, lawyers have also ample career options in law schools and colleges as teachers or professors. In addition, lawyers can join politics since they have numerous public contacts. Non-profit organisations like NGOs need the service of lawyers. International agencies like UNO, ILO, and ICJ also employ lawyers.
As mentioned earlier, most of the times, the interns are hired to stay on as full-time staff at their respective law firms. They are paid handsomely, with starting salaries ranging from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000. After that, the sky is pretty much the limit. Once you know how to climb the corporate ladder, you will learn how to negotiate further. Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely according to the type, size and location of the employer.
A qualified lawyer employed in a government department has a pay package as per the terms and conditions of the government. Those appointed as judges have good remunerations and other perks offered by the government. Lawyers preferring private sector have more lucrative pay packages.
The earnings of lawyers working privately as advocates or consultants depends upon the number and nature of their clients.
Top Institutes You Can Study Law From
- NLSIU, Bangalore
- NALSAR, Hyderabad
- NLIU, Bhopal
- Government Law College, Mumbai
- Symbiosis Law College, Pune
- Faculty of Law, DU, Delhi
- ILS Law College, Pune
- Padmashree Dr DY Patil College of Law, Mumbai
- Faculty of Law, BHU, Banaras
- KC Law College, Mumbai
- Amity Law School, Delhi
- University Law College, Bangalore University, Bangalore
- NUJS, Kolkata
- Rizvi Law College, Mumbai
- Dr Ambedkar College of Law, Mumbai
- Gopaldas Jhamatmal Advani Law College, Mumbai
- Siddharth College of Law, Mumbai
Area of Practice
The law impacts our lives in numerous ways, and as mentioned before, the awareness that it has amassed in recent times covers many new specialisations. A few of them are:
- Civil Litigation: Involves a lawsuit resulting from a dispute between private parties (individuals or corporations); civil litigation is concerned with matters such as breach of contract, debt collection, malpractice and personal injury.
- Corporate and Commercial: Deals with the formation and maintenance of businesses; corporate and commercial lawyers handle contracts, liability, mergers, structured financings and other business matters.
- Criminal: Governs crimes against the public and members of the public (as opposed to civil litigation which deals with private disputes); a criminal lawyer may work for the government as a prosecutor or represent the accused person as a defense lawyer.
- Environmental: Legislation and regulations relating to the interaction of humans with the environment; environmental lawyers deal with matters such as air pollution, wilderness preservation and waste disposal.
- Family: Applies to legal relationships between family members; issues in family law include marriage contracts, divorce, child custody, adoption, wills and estate planning.
- Intellectual Property: Intellectual property refers to the ownership rights to certain kinds of creative endeavours; intellectual property law protects ownership through copyrights, patents, trademarks and industrial design registrations.
- Tax: Deals with the taxes levied by different levels of government; tax lawyers may advise corporations on tax strategies and implications of business transactions or counsel individuals on matters such as legal wills and estate planning.
With all said, if you have the right mindset, being a lawyer can prove to be a very exciting and adventurous career option for you.