Pursuing Legal Career in India
As long as there is a society, there will be a crime and you will need lawyers to fight for your case. Hence, society and lawyers are reciprocally dependent. A lawyer represents common people in legal proceedings and ensures the jurisprudence of the Indian constitution.
If you are anticipating to serve and protect the people by fighting for their justice, a career in law is your answer.
There are a plethora of career roles in law – from a court to a corporate firm lawyer, becoming a judge or a public prosecutor, and so on.
A lawyer must have good communication skills and an eye for minute details. If you possess such qualities and have already decided to opt for this career, it is time for you to sharpen them.
“If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers” – Charles Dickens
What is the Legal Career Path
Here is a comprehensive guide to becoming a lawyer in India.
Step 1: Choosing a stream after the 10th standard
There are no such stream regulations for a career in law. Students from any stream can opt for this career. Though most law students are either from humanities or commerce background. Aspiring law students have some common subjects like political science, economics, history in their curriculum after the 10th standard. These subjects are highly recommended as they provide an overview of the legal system of our society.
Step 2: A Bachelor’s Degree in Law (L.L.B – Legum Baccalaureus in Latin)
After 12th, the first step to becoming a lawyer in India is acquiring a bachelor’s degree in law. They are two types of L.L.B programs in India –
- The 5-year L.L.B program after 12th.
- The 3-year L.L.B program after graduation.
Course 1: Law after 12th (5-year L.L.B program)
If you are mindful of becoming a lawyer from the beginning, it is recommended you take the 5-years program of L.L.B. just after passing out of school. The 5-year integrated program teaches you rudimentary graduation subjects along with subjects of law. The combinations so offered are B.A L.L.B. (Hons), B.Sc. L.L.B (Hons), B. Com L.L.B (Hons) and BBA L.L.B.
The benefits of a 5-year program are – you get accustomed to the subjects of law and gather a perception of the root graduation subjects. Also, it saves a year compared to the after-graduation program.
Entrance Examinations for 5-year L.L.B course:
The top Law colleges in India accept students every year through entrance examinations. These exams are for candidates who have passed 10+2 from a recognized university. The application to these exams requires a fee and there is no upper age limit.
- All India Law Entrance Test (AILET)
This is conducted by the National Law University of Delhi every year for admission to a 5-year B.A L.L.B program. It is a 90 minutes offline examination in English. The test is carried out in a total of 150 marks comprising of five sections –
- Verbal Ability (35 marks)
- Legal Aptitude (35 marks)
- Logical Reasoning (35 marks)
- General awareness (35 marks)
- Mathematics (10 marks) [Negative marking of 0.25 marks is deducted for every wrong answer]
Reservations are there for SC candidates (15%), ST candidates (7.5%), and PWD (5%).
Application fee of Rs. 3050 for Gen/OBC candidates and Rs. 1050 for SC/ST candidates is required.
- Common-Law Admission Test (CLAT)
CLAT is a national-level entrance examination conducted by the Consortium of NLUs for students to get admitted to 22 eminent National Law Universities. The exam is conducted in offline mode for all the courses of L.L.B (BA/BSc/BCom/BBA). It is a 2 hours exam in the English version. The test is carried out in 200 marks comprising of five sections:
- English including comprehension (40 marks)
- Legal aptitude (50 marks)
- General Knowledge and Current Affairs (50 marks)
- Logical Reasoning (40 marks)
- Elemental Mathematics and Numerical Ability (20 marks) [Negative marking of 0.25 marks is deducted for every wrong answer]
General candidates need a minimum of 45% marks and ST/SC candidates need 40% marks.
Application fee of Rs. 4000 for Gen/OBC candidates and Rs. 3500 for SC/ST candidates is to be paid.
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
LSAT is a national-level entrance exam regulated by Pearson VUE in support of the US-based Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for admission to Indian law schools. The exam is conducted in offline mode for 2 hours 55 minutes. The test is carried out in 115 marks comprising of –
- Analytical Reasoning
- Logical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension. [No Negative Marking]
An application fee of Rs. 3800 applies to all registered candidates.
#Eligibility criteria depend on the institute applied for
- Symbiosis Entrance Test (SET)
Symbiosis International University conducts this examination to enlist undergraduate students to their law programs. The exam is carried out in 150 marks including sections –
- Logical Reasoning (30 marks)
- General Knowledge (30 marks)
- Legal Reasoning (30 marks)
- Analytical Reasoning (30 marks)
- Reading Comprehension (30 marks)
[No negative Marking]
An application fee of Rs. 1750 is mandatory for all candidates.
Top Legal Institutes for 5-year L.L.B program
Legal Career Path after Graduation
Course 2: Law after Graduation (3-year L.L.B program)
At times students realize quite later their wish to make a career in law. It might be after graduation or even later after taking a career aptitude test. In such situations, one can choose to pursue a degree in law through the 3-years L.L.B program. The only difference here is this program only teaches the core law subjects.
Entrance Examinations for 3-year L.L.B course:
Appearing for these entrance examinations allows a candidate to pursue the 3-year program. The minimum qualification required is graduation.
- DU L.L.B
The DU L.L.B entrance examination is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The exam is computer-based for 2 hours. The question paper is objective type and examines candidates’ General Knowledge, Analytical Abilities, Legal Awareness and Aptitude, and English Language Comprehension.
A non-refundable registration fee of Rs.300 (SC/ST/PWD/EWS) and Rs. 750 (Unreserved, OBC) is applicable.
- MH CET
This examination is conducted for admission to the well-known law colleges of Maharashtra. This testifies the students on their General Knowledge and Current Affairs, Legal Aptitude, Logical and Analytical Reasoning, and English.
- BHU L.L.B
Banaras Hindu University conducts this entrance exam for its 3-year LLB program. The exam is conducted both in computer and pen-paper modes for 2 hours. The questionnaire is based on General Awareness and Current Affairs, English Comprehension, Legal and Mental Ability.
Difference between a Lawyer and an Advocate
Even though Advocate is a synonym of Lawyer, there’s a key difference.
“All Advocates are lawyers, but not all Lawyers are Advocates”
A lawyer provides legal advice to individuals or companies but is not eligible to stand in court.
An Advocate is registered to the Bar Council of India and is eligible to represent their cases in the court.
Lawyers are graduates but are not registered to the Bar Council of India.
How to become an Advocate in India?
As mentioned above, Advocates are eligible to practice in courts. After completing a 5-years/3years degree in L.L.B these are the steps to become an advocate:
- Gain Experience through Internships:
Every law graduate must undertake an internship under different senior advocates to gain practical knowledge. Internships can be for a minimum of 1 month and can be done while graduating.
- Enroll in State Bar Council:
With the experience gained a candidate must enroll oneself in the State Bar Council and clear the All India Bar Examination conducted by the Council. The certification received after passing will make him/her eligible to practice in courts.
Legal Career Option in India – Types of Law Careers
After securing a degree in Law, the court is not the only scope of opportunity. Besides becoming an advocate, there are many favorable career paths to undertake:
- Law Firms: these are organized firms comprising of advocates and lawyers working together as an establishment. They provide legal advice and protect the clients from penalties.
- Social Work: Law graduates can work with international organizations like the UN for social causes or with international assemblies like the International Criminal Court, International Labor Organization, etc.
- Litigation: Litigation lawyers are advocates who represent their clients in court. A lawyer must clear the All India Bar Examination to become a Litigation Lawyer.
- Corporate Counsel: Lawyers can be legal counselors to corporate clients. Their work is to handle disputes and oversee the maintenance of rules and regulations of the company with third parties including the government.
- Indian Legal Services: Law graduates can serve in governmental departments after clearing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) or State Public Service Commission (SPSC).
- Academics: After some experience in litigation, one can make a career as a teacher in law schools and provide both theoretical and practical guidance.
However, the field of juridical studies can be exhausting because of its lengthy academic process. The profession is lucrative but can be stressful. It is important to first understand whether the candidate has the cognitive ability, tactical skills, critical thinking, and above all emotional stability to follow a career in law.
Candidates must consult with career counselors or take an online aptitude test for career selection to examine their abilities and personality traits.
I hope this blog gives you a clear understanding of the fundamentals of a career in law and may you have a bright future