How to Become a Lawyer in India ?
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
5 years course
3 years course
B.A L.L.B (Hons), B.Sc L.L.B (Hons), BBA L.L.B (Hons) and B.Com L.L.B (Hons)
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
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
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.
Scope of Law in India
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.
Careers in Law
Law, for a layman, means a system of rules and guidelines, legally enforceable. But as a profession, it means lots more and encompasses various fields such as litigation, media, IP, academics, etc. The role of a lawyer in today’s era has completely evolved and moved many moons away from black robes and white collars to swanky corporate offices and jobs in movies and the media. Lawyers are the most sought after people by corporations and individuals, leaving a dearth of lawyers when looked up against the demand.
As law incorporates diverse fields, it opens various options for law graduates. The demand for savvy law school graduates, with the requisite skills to handle key positions at leading organizations across diverse sectors, has surged dramatically.
From Mahatma Gandhi to Barack Obama, there is a long list of luminaries who have used the legal profession as a stepping-stone to unmatchable greatness.
With a growing economy and an increasing number of foreign firms targeting the Indian market, the requirements of legal expertise will only increase, making law a very lucrative career.
The traditional career path is to “practice law” in the courts. But it is essential for any fresh graduate to learn the ropes under a Senior Counsel. The graduates are now supposed to 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 may 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.
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.
Private Sphere: One may join Multi National Corporations, Private companies, Private Banks, etc.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Pros and Cons of a Career in Law
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.
Top Institutes for law in India
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
Skills for a succcessful Laww career
7 skills for a successful law career
it's well-known that competition to secure a job in the legal sector is intense. To be successful you'll need these seven important skills
Legal recruiters cite commercial awareness as one of the most important attributes a candidate can have. It basically means possessing knowledge of current developments in local, national and world business, particularly any issues that may impact a law firm and its clients.
Firms expect employees to market their services to prospective clients, as well as develop trusting relationships with existing ones. Ultimately, law firms are businesses, so lawyers must appreciate the commercial importance of meeting deadlines, keeping costs low and handling information confidentially.
A client, meanwhile, will expect their lawyer to fully understand how their business is run, and which wider social, political and economic issues may affect them. If applicable, lawyers must also appreciate the short, medium and long-term implications of their client's business proposal, and think strategically about the organisation's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This enables the lawyer to provide pragmatic, business-minded legal advice to the best of their ability.
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You can improve your commercial awareness by:
• becoming a committee member of a university club or society
• browsing specialist websites such as RollOnFriday, LawCareers.Net, The Lawyer, Legal Cheek, Legal Week and Legal Futures
• gaining work experience at a commercial organisation such as a bar, call centre, department store or, if possible, a law firm
• going on a gap year, as this will develop your budgeting, scheduling and cost-cutting skills, and give you an international perspective on business issues
• joining industry-specific forums that allow you to attend seminars and network with business professionals
• listening to business-related podcasts or radio shows, such as BBC Radio 4's Today programme
• reading business publications such as the Financial Times and The Economist, and the business pages of a daily newspaper such as The Times
• watching business-related television programmes such as Newsnight, Panorama and Dragons' Den.
You'll be expected to show commercial awareness from the start of the application process by demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the firm you're applying to. It's also likely that you'll be tested during an assessment day. You may be asked questions such as:
• What business deal or story has most interested you recently?
• In x business deal what role did the firm play?
• How could the firm prepare for an economic downturn?
As a legal professional you'll have to work alongside a variety of people and more often than not winning a case will be a team effort. Solicitors need to collaborate with colleagues and partners in their firm, as well as liaise with clients. Barristers need to foster a close working relationship with their clerks and will often work high-profile cases alongside other barristers, as workloads on such cases are too heavy for one representative. The ability to work as part of a team is therefore essential and you'll need the skills to deal with people from all levels of the legal hierarchy, from trainees and pupils, to members of the judiciary.
It's also vital that clients trust their legal representatives, so you'll need to be personable, persuasive and polite.
The easiest way to hone your people skills is to join a team. This could be a sports team, drama club or choir - anything that enables you to work with others will help. Alternatively, make use of the opportunities at your university and get involved with editing the student newspaper or join the debating society. Part-time work in a customer service role is another way to improve this skill. Discover how to balance work and study.
Strong oral and written communication skills are vital and without them you'll struggle to carry out the duties of a solicitor effectively. Excellent listening ability is also important when working with clients, as you need to be able to build relationships and engender confidence.
You need to be a confident speaker when arguing a case in court, negotiating settlements and explaining complex information to clients. You'll have to use persuasive, clear and succinct language. Public speaking is also required in the role of a barrister. To hone this skill while at university, volunteer as the spokesperson in group activities or get involved in debate teams.
Written ability is equally important when drafting letters and legal documents. You'll need to know technical and legal language and be able to convey it clearly and concisely. To improve your written communication skills, get involved with your university's law society. You could take meeting minutes, draft emails, write newsletters or manage social media accounts.
Attention to detail
A sharp eye for accuracy is crucial to the success of your legal career. A single word out of place can change the meaning of a clause or contract, while misspelt or ungrammatical emails, letters or documents can give clients a bad impression, costing your firm their business.
When applying for jobs or training contracts bear in mind that employers look for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. If your cover letter is vague, too long or littered with spelling mistakes, a recruiter may question what a potential client would make of your letter of advice. To improve attention to detail, volunteer your proofing services to student publications such as newsletters and magazines and get used to going through your own work with a fine-tooth comb.
Research and analysis
Reading large amounts of information, absorbing facts and figures, analysing material and distilling it into something manageable is a feature of any law career.
The key is being able to identify what is relevant out of the mass of information and explain it clearly and concisely to your client. Hone this skill by taking large documents or long news articles and making five-point bulleted lists of the most important themes.
Research also plays a huge role in a lawyer's day-to-day job. You'll need research skills when doing the background work on a case, drafting legal documents and advising clients on complicated issues. Use your time at university to familiarise yourself with internet and library resources and build up a network of contacts. As a newly qualified solicitor or barrister industry connections can prove to be a useful source of advice
Creative problem solving
Some may think that the legal professions provides little outlet for an individual's creative talent but this simply isn't the case. No matter which legal career you choose you'll frequently have to think outside the box to get the job done.
As all experienced solicitors and barristers know, the best courses of action isn't always the easiest and to outmanoeuvre opposing parties and secure a positive result for your client you'll need to employ your creative thinking and problem solving skills.
A good way to develop these abilities is to take part in student competitions, such as mooting, become a student representative or gain a position on your students union.
Resilience and self-confidence
Demonstrate your commitment to a career in law through relevant work experience and remember that when it comes to standing out from the crowd, determination and enthusiasm go a long way - as does resilience and confidence in your own abilities.
Don't be overwhelmed by difficulties in securing a training contract or pupillage. This is a challenging career and it's not for everyone. Have the confidence to apply (and re-apply if necessary), seeking and acting upon feedback. Do you need to develop your skills further or gain a better understanding of the profession? Do you know how to sell your experience against the skills required?
Many students have the potential, but just don't know how to use examples to illustrate their abilities. It takes practice to get it right. For advice and tips take a look at writing a legal CV and cover letter.