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Career in Law
Ours is a country where disparities in social and economic opportunities amongst the population are quite pronounced. So a degree in Law not only provides decent opportunities for livelihood but also proves to be a tool to fight against injustice of all kinds prevalent in the country.
Unlike in the past, when Law graduates had only two options of either becoming a judge or a practicing lawyer, options open to them today are huge and varied. Add to that the prestige attached to the profession since long, you have a very attractive vocation to pursue.
Law is the set of enforced rules under which a society is governed. Law is one of the most basic social institutions – and one of the most necessary. No society could exist if all people did just as they pleased, without regard for the rights of others. Nor could a society exist if its members did not recognise that they also have certain obligations toward one another.
The Law thus establishes the rules that define a person’s rights and obligations. The Law also sets penalties for people who violate these rules, and it states how government shall enforce the rules and penalties. In most societies, various government bodies, especially police agencies and courts, see that the laws are obeyed.
Because a person can be penalised for disobeying the Law, most people agree that laws should be just. Justice is a moral standard that applies to all human conduct. The laws enforced by government have usually had a strong moral element, and so justice has generally been one of the Law’s guiding principles.
But governments can, and sometimes do, enforce laws that many people believe to be unjust. If this belief becomes widespread, people may lose respect for the Law and may even disobey it. But in democratic societies, the Law itself provides ways to attend or abolish unjust laws. The legal profession is not just about lawyers engaged in histrionics in courtrooms to present their cases dramatically before the honourable judges.
Law is the cement of the society and an essential medium of social change. A lawyer must respond to client’s needs. Understanding of the society is a must as there is a strong correlation between the society and the Law. Lawyers must possess excellent communication and presentation skills, as they have to cross – examine witnesses to establish facts before the court. The skills related to counselling and drafting are absolutely vital for a successful layer. Further, a high level of integrity will go a long way in making you a reputed lawyer because you have access to distinctly personal information about your clients.
The courses offered in Law are :
- Bachelor of Laws ( LLB )
- Master of Laws ( LL.M. )
- Integrated Program in Bachelor of Laws ( BA LLB )
- Master of Civil Law ( MCL )
- Doctorate in Law ( Ph.D. Degree )
LL.B. Course is of three years duration while LL.M. and MCL are of two years duration BA LL.B. is of five years duration, taken after 10+2. These types of courses are available with most of the universities. In both the cases ( BA LL.B. and LL.B. ) the students have to appear for an entrance test and personal interview. People interested in higher degree and specialisation can further pursue Master of Law ( LL.M ), Master of Civil Law ( MCL ) or a Ph. D. Degree, DCL, etc. Some institutes also offer one – year postgraduate diploma course in various areas of Law.
Those who are not interested in practicing in a court of law but at the same time are curious to know about the various facets, can go for two – year correspondence course for Bachelor of General Law ( BGL ) or Bachelor of Academic Law ( BAL ) after graduation. Of the specialisations, a criminal lawyer is concerned with matters like loot, arson, rape, murder, etc. A civil lawyer on the other hand is concerned with the right of an individual and also draws up wills, executes lease deeds, and appears before the court in mortgage cases.
In certain situations, they also act as custodian or the trustee of an estate. In addition to the two most popular areas – civil and criminal, lawyers also provide a gamut of services in the fields of business and company law, taxation, constitutional law, real estate, labour, family laws, patents, excise, consumer and environment laws. With the advent of the MNCs due to globalisation and mergers and acquisitions becoming the norms of the day, disciplines like corporate law, international trade, arbitration and investment and intellectual property rights have become quite popular.
Increasing use of Internet and e – commerce replacing conventional business have made the information technology highly lucrative and an emerging field for lawyers. Further, most companies employing company secretaries prefer law graduates. This combination may take one to the highest rungs of business organisations. For those with a degree in law combined with a degree or diploma in personnel management and industrial relations, the sky is the limit.
One needs to be 10+2 in any discipline for BA LL.B. course and graduate in any discipline for LL.B. To apply for LL.M. one needs to be a Law graduate ( LL.B. or BA LL.B. ).
Admission Procedure :
In most of the Law schools around the country admission of students is done either through entrance exams or on the basis of school / college results. Most of the top law colleges in the country select students through an entrance exam. If you are looking for admission to a 5 year program at a top law school, then you should be prepared to give entrance exams. If the admission process requires an entrance exam, then as a basic eligibility criterion, a minimum of 50% in the board exams is usually a must for all colleges.
The Interviews and Group Discussions, if any, are usually formalities, and everything turns on entrance exam. The Law Entrance Exams usually test students in the following areas :
- Legal Reasoning
- Logical Reasoning
- Maths ( Class IX and X level – occasionally a couple of Plus 2 topics )
- General Knowledge
After acquisition of a Law degree, the graduates have to undergo training with a senior lawyer. As an apprentice, you learn about the practical realities of this profession. All the Law graduates who enroll themselves with the Bar Council of India are entitled to practice in a court of law.
Usually internships are for a period of about four to eight weeks, wherein students learn crucial skills such as drafting of pleadings, agreements and contracts, client interviewing, court – craft, legal research, advocacy, etc. These internships or placements as they are commonly referred to are a platform for the students to apply the theoretical inputs acquired through classroom and library learning in a practical framework and in turn, acquire skills from real life situations.
This cyclic learning process is also extremely beneficial for the individuals or agencies with whom such internships are undertaken, since the work that the interns do ( which is most often of a very high quality ) directly contributes to their output.
Therefore, interns are a value – addition, albeit for a brief period, to their chamber, firm or organisation, as the case may be. Internships also help foster relations between the students and the agencies that they work with during their law school tenure, which in many cases has blossomed in the long run into a mutually rewarding employer – employee relationship.
Unlike the usually brief recruitment process where neither the student nor the recruiter gets an adequate opportunity to know the other well enough, employment relations which have materialised through internships are often more meaningful because both parties are well – versed with each other’s potentials and strengths. Interns also serve as excellent ambassadors for the institutions they represent, thereby furthering the growing reputation of five – year residential law schools in India.
Lawyers, recruiters and the like gauge the institutions that the interns hail from by the skill and acumen exhibited by the students during their internship. Thus, even the law schools are keen on enhancing the internship programs for their students.
Prospects for Law graduates are tremendous. The avenues in which they can work are diversified in nature. Lawyers can become Corporate Counsellors overlooking the working of companies in legal matters.
They can work with law firms, be in private practice or work for NGOs ( Non Governmental Organizations ) and social service agencies. Law graduates can be employed in Government services. Recruitment to the State Judicial Services is made through competitive examinations conducted by State Public Service Commissions.
The eligibility qualification is a Law degree. Successful candidates are appointed as Sub – Judge or Munsif and may rise to become Chief Judicial Magistrate, District and Sessions Judge to even High Court Judge, depending upon their career record and seniority. After practising as a lawyer for a specified number of years, you can also be appointed directly as Additional District and Sessions Judge.
Law graduates also find job opportunities as Public Prosecutor, Solicitor, Deputy / Additional Advocate General or Advocate General. At the lower levels State governments hold examinations to recruit Public Prosecutors / District Attorneys. Further, they may find employment with various departments of Central / State governments. Public Sector Undertakings ( PSUs ) need several Law Officers, Legal Assistants and Managers ( Legal services ). Graduates with specialisation in labour laws are preferred in such cases. For handling legal matters and Court Martials, etc., Law graduates are required by Judge Advocate General ( JAG ) Branch of Army Headquarters.
Here, you will be selected as commissioned officer in the regular ranks through the Services Selection Board ( SSB ). In addition, Law graduates find employment with business houses, local authorities and even the Ministry of Law, where legal officers are required for in – house legal services.