Careers in Law
Law as a profession offers a plethora of career avenues for students to explore and conquer. Thus, it is no surprise that more and more youngsters these days are gravitating towards law as their preferred choice of career and with good reasons. For every person with proficiency in communication, keen and logical reasoning, analytical skills and capacity to read and imbibe – legal sphere is the place to be. Law schools add on to these skills and make students legal professionals. This process has various steps.
Firstly, an entrance exam needs to be cleared to gain admission into a good and reputed law school. The most sought after ones are – CLAT (For most National Law Schools) and AILET (NLU-Delhi).DU, BLAT, ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY, CUCET, IPU, MHCET etc are the other ones.
Secondly, you need to know which course to opt for. The integrated 5 year graduate degree comprises bachelors of law coupled with other disciplines like B.A, B.Sc., B.Com and B.B.A. Students can choose their subjects based on interest and proclivity and the stream studied by him at the HSC level. The three-year law degree can be pursued by a graduate from any discipline.
Thirdly, a call needs to be taken during their final years in college, when the curriculum divides into specialisations like corporate law, intellectual property law, criminal law, etc. Moreover, by this time the student is well-armed to make an informed choice, having learnt the nuances of these specialisations during internships. Upon graduation, the career options available to a law graduate are –
Litigation – Litigators or legal practitioners provide dispute resolution services to their clients by representing them in the courts of law. They handle a multitude of matters ranging from criminal, civil to commercial cases. However, at the onset of their careers, litigators have to learn the ropes by working under senior lawyers. Thus, the salary is not very lucrative during the learning stage and can be expected to range between Rs 15 – 20,000 per month. However, it rises exponentially with the level of experience and increase in clients.
Corporate Counsel – Corporate lawyers handle all transactions on behalf of companies either as a part of their in-house legal team or as part of corporate law firms who have been retained to provide legal services. The work area ranges from negotiating contracts to facilitating mergers, ensuring compliance of regulations, et al. A fresher starting off at a decent law firm can expect to earn between Rs 6-8 lakh per annum.
Judiciary and Civil Service – Exams for entering judicial services are conducted state-wise. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts a nationwide exam for recruitment to various civil service positions in the Government like Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS), Indian Police Services (IPS), etc. These are safe options for graduates desirous of a stable government job and for the ones who would like to view things from the other side of the table by becoming judges. However, it is recommended to sit for these exams after obtaining 1-2 years of work experience. Salaries for judges and government officials are revised from time to time as notified by the Government.
Judicial Clerkship – One can also gain experience and put his researching skills to good use by working under judges in various courts by opting for judicial clerkship which is offered on a contractual basis. A Supreme Court judicial clerkship can pay between Rs 40 – 50K per month.
Media and publication – Law graduates can also work towards the dissemination of information to the public on important legal matters by writing books, reporting news by covering courtrooms (legal journalism), etc. People with a penchant for writing, current affairs and politics will find it to be a very satisfying career.
Legal Process Outsourcing – By working at LPOs, law graduates can provide intelligent solutions to overseas clients like document review and support, contract vetting.
Academia – Another option for law graduates is to give back to the community by taking up the noble profession of teaching. However, one needs to have a Masters degree to become eligible to apply for teaching posts in colleges and universities. NET will also have to be cleared to get tenure. Salary will depend on the applicable Pay Commission. A Masters in Law (LL.M.) degree will add a ‘specialized’ status to your profile, especially when pursued abroad. Further, LL.M. in international laws like international commercial arbitration, international trade, international law and policy, will place you in the unique position to pick a country of your choice to settle in.
Social Work – Lawyers are, arguably, best equipped for undertaking social work as they are aware of the legal rights and obligation of all strata of society. Meaningful work can be done by working with NGOs and Government Commissions like National Commission for Women, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, National Human Rights Commission, etc.
In today’s world, there is no pigeon-holing of careers into neat, distinct compartments. Hence, law graduates can also combine their degree with other disciplines like business administration, company secretary, etc., or take up freelancing or even work with the think tanks. They can even end up carving out new careers for themselves in the days to come.
10 Reasons to Choose a Career in Law
Diverse Legal Career Options
The complexities of our legal system have created hundreds of legal career options that serve a variety of core and non-core legal functions. From lawyers, judges, and mediators to paralegals, secretaries, and consultants, the legal professional’s role is expanding and evolving to keep pace with the ever-changing legal system.
Growth and Opportunity
In the last several years, the legal profession has experienced staggering growth. A steady rise in profits and revenues expanded headcounts, and significant salary increases have provided plenty of job opportunities in a broad range of legal positions.
The legal profession is one of the most lucrative industries in today’s job market. Double-digit growth in recent years has produced healthy revenues and rising salaries. Associates in the nation’s largest law firms start at $150,000 to $180,000, and partners earn average salaries in excess of $1.2 million. Many non-lawyers also reap significant financial rewards in the legal profession.
At the heart of the legal professional’s role is client service. Whether you are a lawyer representing a multinational corporate client, a paralegal assisting abused women to obtain restraining orders, or a law clerk researching a tax issue for a new business, the fundamental purpose of the legal professional is the help others resolve their legal problems.
Diverse Practice Areas
Increased segmentation and specialization in the legal profession has spawned a growing number of legal specialties and sub-specialties that cater to almost every legal interest. Legal professionals who seek a career in litigation can specialize in criminal law, employment law, family law, products liability or dozens of other practice areas. Legal professionals who prefer a career in corporate law can specialize in tax law, mergers, and acquisitions, real estate, finance or another corporate practice area that satisfies their interests.
Navigating an evolving legal system, advances in technology, vast bodies of case law and the demands of the legal profession creates a stimulating intellectual environment for the legal professional. Lawyers and non-lawyers alike must grapple with conceptually challenging issues, reason with logic and clarity, analyze the case and statutory law, research complex legal issues and master oral and written communications.
Historically, the legal profession has weathered economic downturns quite well and should do so in the future, in part due to the growing geographic and practice diversification of many law firms. In fact, some practice areas such as litigation, bankruptcy, and reorganization, residential real estate foreclosures, and regulatory compliance will actually benefit from an economic slowdown. As a result, legal professionals should find plenty of job opportunities in any economic climate.
In a culture that views high pay, impressive schooling and societal power as hallmarks of success, the legal profession has long been regarded as a noble and elite profession. This image is further boosted by the portrayal of legal careers in the media as exciting, glamorous, fast-paced and desired. As a result, the legal profession has held its allure and careers in the law remain is one of the most sought-after professions in today’s job market.
More firms and corporations are crossing international borders and expanding across the globe through mergers, acquisitions, consolidation, and collaboration with foreign counsel. The globalization of the legal profession provides today’s legal professional with a worldview and the opportunity to serve international clients.
The legal profession is continually changing and evolving, bringing new challenges and rewards. Legal professionals must be problem-solvers and innovators, willing to assume new responsibilities, tackle new challenges, master new technology and navigate an ever-evolving legal system. This dynamic legal landscape makes each day unique and fosters an enjoyable, fulfilling work experience.