Career FAQs: Law

What are the skills required to do well in this career?
The job of a lawyer is to assimilate and analyse facts quickly and to identify and distinguish the relevant factors from the irrelevant ones in a given situation. Good communication skills are a must, both oral and written. (S)He should also have a good command of written and spoken language and should be able to present matter in a clear and precise manner.

A lawyer must also be fond of reading, because you will need to do a fair bit of research to be effective at your job. However, the most important skill that you need to have is logical reasoning.

You need to be able to look at matters objectively and come to your own conclusions. If you are smart, presentable and not scared to voice your opinion, law is definitely a career you should consider.
What are the various professional paths in this career?
Today, it is the practice of commercial law and especially the field of corporate law and international trade law that is quite beneficial and lucrative. Apart from all these, taxation law, constitutional law, patent law, labour law, family law, mercantile law, contract law, administrative law, etc. are all areas which are both interesting and rewarding. Some lawyers may prefer to specialise in handling civil suits or criminal matters as they find it more challenging.

Lawyers can find employment opportunities in public and private sector organisations. Most lawyers prefer to become advocates and practise law as a profession. For that, they have to enrol with the Local/State/Central Bar Council. Central and State Government jobs are also open to lawyers. They can be appointed as Judges of various courts, as Attorney and Solicitor General, as Public Prosecutor and also in Defence, Tax and Labour departments. Moreover, lawyers can also work as legal counsel and legal advisers for firms, organisations and families. They also can be appointed as Company Secretaries in various firms. 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 ample career options in law schools and colleges as teachers/professors.

Non-profit organisations like NGOs also need the services of lawyers. International agencies like UNO, ILO, and ICJ also employ lawyers of good reputation and track record.
Which are the top institutes to study law?
As far as legal education is concerned, most of the Indian universities have their respective Law departments. However, it is the National Law Universities (NLUs) that offer high quality legal education. Currently there are 21 NLUs in the country. Affiliated to Bar Council of India (BCI), NLUs are recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

What are the eligibility criteria for enrolling in a graduation program in legal education?
In India, a student can pursue a legal course only after completing an undergraduate course in any discipline. However, following the national law school model, one can study law as an integrated course of five years after passing the senior secondary examination.

Bachelor of Laws (LLB): The LLB is the most common law degree offered and conferred by Indian universities, with a duration of three years. Almost all law universities follow a standard LLB curriculum, wherein students are exposed to the required bar subject.

Integrated undergraduate degrees:BALLB, BSc LLB, BBA LLB, BComLLB: These degrees are mostly offered in the autonomous law schools, having a duration of five years. Master of Laws (LLM): The LLM is the most common postgraduate law degree which has a duration of two years.

Integrated MBL (Master of Business law)-LLM/MBA-LLM : Generally, it is a three year double degree integrated course with specialization in business law. These types of course are available with most of the universities.

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 courses for Bachelor of General Law (BGL) or Bachelor of Academic Law (BAL) after graduation.
What is/are the entrance test/tests for seeking admission in a graduation program in law?
Law schools offer boundless opportunities, but provide limited seats. The following major entrance exams form the parameter for cracking the code to their hallowed corridors (after 10+2):

What is the syllabus for law entrance examination?
The syllabus varies from one test to another, but following are the broad areas on which you are evaluated for admission to a law program:
  • English including comprehension
  • General Knowledge/ Current Affairs
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • Legal Aptitude/Legal Awareness
  • Logical Reasoning
  • What are the prospects in this career?
    From Mahatma Gandhi to Barack Obama, the list of luminaries who have used this profession as a stepping stone to greatness, runs long and wide. A law degree can open the door to a wide variety of careers. Lawyers play an important role in society through the practice of law, which encompasses a multitude of activities. Prospects for Law graduates are tremendous. The avenues in which they can work are diversified in nature.

    When we talk of various specialisation areas in Law, 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 custodians or trustees 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 law, labour laws, family laws, patents, excise, consumer and environment laws. With the advent of the MNCs, due to globalisation, mergers & acquisitions are becoming the norms of the day, leading to disciplines like corporate law, international trade, arbitration and investment and intellectual property rights becoming quite popular. Increasing use of Internet and e- commerce has made Information Technology highly lucrative, and with it the possibilities of cybercrime, creating a huge opportunity 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, sky is the limit!

    Lawyers can become Corporate Counsellors overseeing the working of companies in legal matters. They can work with law firms, be in private practice or work for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and social service agencies.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.

    Law graduates can be employed in Government services also. 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)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. In a nutshell, we can say that legal profession offers one an opportunity of pursuing a career that can prove not only materially fruitful, but also intellectually satisfying.

    A strong education in law school also provides the ability to pursue employment opportunities outside the legal profession in areas such as politics and business. Law school education is very versatile and some students decide to pursue alternative careers upon graduation. Even lawyers who have been practising for several years sometimes switch over to other careers.

    A law degree can enable entry into many careers outside of the legal profession, including the following:
  • Broadcasting
  • Business
  • Civil Service
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Journalism
  • Policy Analysis Politics
  • Publishing
  • Social Work
  • Can you give some useful links to explore this career in greater detail?
  • ChartMyCareer