"Well, I see you've sold your soul to the devil for riches. How can you defend someone you know to be guilty? You, lawyers are heartless and cold-blooded." Such social stereotypes are commonly heard about lawyers and advocates, scaring students to take up law as a career, though it’s also considered to be honorary on the other hand.
From writers to politicians, the profession of law has donned many hats. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Rajendra Prasad, and Abraham Lincoln were all famous lawyers. Studying law has been one of the popular career choices in India next to medical and engineering. However, the intensity of reading required to be invested in the legal profession makes students creep away from it.
But if only the intense reading hours are keeping you away from this lucrative profession, it’s time to think again! Which profession nowadays doesn’t demand an investment of time, hard work, and full-time commitment? None!
And if you are stressed about the stereotype thinking of the society about the advocates, it’s part of any profession in today’s times. No profession is loaded with only benefits or only losses. Each has its own pros and cons.
Take for example the medical profession, a profession most noble in its character. Yet, people feel that doctors are losing compassion and are not humane. They can’t feel the pain of the patients and just work mechanically in any case they attend –which is not true.
Similarly, law is the profession where the person has to be tough yet tender, rational as well as compassionate towards his clients. Lawyers are people who work for the advantage of people, to bring justice to them and the society, though this is sometimes not understood by the layman.
Additionally, the scope of the profession is very good. Today law students are better equipped than those about 10-15 years ago. The legal profession has undergone many substantial changes in the past decade. Gone are the days when studying law was equated with only litigations and filing cases in the court. Nowadays, law professionals can mark their presence in many corporate firms, law agencies, administrative sector and much more.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like studying law but you don’t want to be a lawyer, no reason to panic. The skills and competencies you develop during your study time are relevant for many alternate careers too. Studying law rewards you with skills like good communication, excellent memory, a flexibility of mind, authoritative skills, logical reasoning and an ability to think out-of-the-box.
Being a student in an environment of changing times, you are aware of the employability rules of today. You understand that success beyond university isn't just about grades; it's also about having a set of job-related skills, ones which the legal profession will confer you with.
“You are in the final year of your law college. And everyone’s eyes are on you. Where will you join? Which court will you practice in? What will be your salary? And so on.......”
But hearing the name of the court sends shivers down your back. You were not carved out for the courtroom......”Did I make a mistake by opting for a career in law?” is the question that strikes forth in your mind now.
Do not panic. The legal knowledge and the skills you acquired are useful in other sectors too, besides the courtroom. Company secretary, legal publishing, tax consultancy, administrative services, insurance sector and others pave the way for your success as a legal professional. As said, gone are the days where every degree would have limited job prospects to choose from, be it medical, engineering, law or any other vocational courses.
Moreover, the civil and criminal laws were the only branches in the previous times for lawyers to specialise in. But now......now you have a list of options; corporate, taxation, labour, cyber, international laws, and intellectual property. And as the number of options increases, so does the scope of the profession.
Concerning the monetary rewards of the profession, it pays off attractively; though patience is demanded at your end. The beginning may be sluggish but the future in the profession is highly promising.
Recalling the words of Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India; he said, “Do not look at the law as a means for making money but as an instrument for securing justice to the people of your country. Engage in the issues of public interest.”
“One of the great things about being in the legal profession is that you come to learn about a large number of important public issues from people who are experts in the field on a one-to-one basis, something you could never do otherwise. It’s a very rich and rewarding experience” says Prashant.
You need to take this career as a mission that will help you to groom and sharpen your communication skills, drive you to think logically and put your points rationally. Since it’s an honourable career, it will surely return you a promising future.
His words may sound motivational, but not rational for all. After all, the amount of money you need to invest and the financial gains do carry some amount of importance, however little it may be, especially in a country like India.
Investment in the profession in terms of finances range from 2-3 lakhs depending upon the institution you choose for your admission but yes, it’s weightier in terms of time, patience and hard work. Nevertheless, this investment is worth it and earns you a handsome income ranging from 20,000 to 5 lakhs with advancing career. But, rewards depend upon your calibre, expertise in case handling and the institution you studied in.
Getting there is easy where you can either opt for a 3-year course after graduation in any discipline or a 5-year integrated course directly after class 12; the second one being the preference of the majority. Talking about the benefits of the integrated course, Dr. Thomas Mathew, Co-Convener of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) Committee says “Bachelor of Law (LLB) is a traditional 3-year long degree which students can pursue after having completed their Bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Law (BA LLB) is an integrated degree for students whose objective is very clear. With this course, students will be able to focus more. Besides the theoretical knowledge, students are also given practical experience of court.”
“Studying Law for three or five years doesn’t mean that you get buried under tonnes of Indian Penal Code or Intellectual Property Rights. Internships and moot trials held at the institutes help you blend theoretical knowledge with practical challenges”, says Prof. (Dr) Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor NALSAR Hyderabad.
However, admission in a law college requires you to clear one of the following entrance examinations:
CLAT- Common Law Admission Test is the national level law entrance exam to secure a seat in any of the 14 National Law Universities (NLUs), TNNLS Tiruchirappalli, DSNLU Visakhapatnam, Nirma Ahmedabad etc.
LSAT- Law School Admission Test is a standardised test of reading and verbal reasoning skills.
DU LLB/LLM - Faculty of Law, University of Delhi conducts a separate entrance examination for admission to LLB and LLM courses.
SET Symbiosis- Symbiosis Entrance Test is a common written test conducted for taking admission to undergraduate law programs offered by various institutes under Symbiosis International University.
ULSAT- UPES Law Studies Aptitude Test is conducted by the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) to grant admission to undergraduate courses in Corporate Laws, Cyber Laws and Intellectual Property Rights.
The law courses are regulated by the Bar Council of India which also sets the rules and regulations concerning the practice of the legal profession in the country.
But students opting for a career in law must remember that the profession demands loads of patience, logical skills, hard work and dedication to achieve success in your career. Therefore, they must be ready to undertake this pledge before joining a law course.
The road may seem tough for the beginners but anything is possible with hard work and determination. It’s advisable to train under a Senior Counsel for a few years early in your career to achieve the necessary expertise.
We delivered the synopsis of choosing law as your career after high school. But it would be incomplete without the information of the institutes where you can apply for the same. So here is the list of the top institutes in India to pursue a course in law:
National Law School Of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru
Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, Delhi
National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University (NALSAR), Hyderabad
Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Indian Law Society (ILS), Pune
The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS), Kolkata
National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal
Symbiosis Law School, Pune
National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur
Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
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