Ever caught yourself dreaming about wearing a black coat and lapels, standing in a courtroom before a venerated judge and hundreds of spectators and arguing in the favour of a convict who has been wrongly incarcerated? Do you long for that sense of purpose in your life? Well, a career in law may just be the right path for you.
Putting the glamorous scenario described above aside, it requires a lot of hard work and patience to become a successful lawyer. One doesn’t immediately become capable enough to command that kind of attention and respect. The hard work can start just after your 12th standard or you could opt to delay it for after your graduation is done with. Though, the consensus is shifting towards the former with experts believing that a 17 or an 18 year old is better placed to applying of his/her energy and intellect to this esteemed profession, this opinion should not deter you from choosing to practise law after graduation.
The 5 year course, known as the BA LLB(for those of you who are curious, the full form is Bachelor of Arts, Legum Baccalaureus), or the three year one, is offered by many renowned colleges and universities like National Law School of India University, Bangalore, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Symbiosis Law School, Pune etc. And, as with all things that are coveted, you will have to sit for tests like CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) and obviously be the crème de la crème to get into the colleges outlined above.
Just as every professional course in the country has traditional branches that one can specialise in, law has it too. They are civil, criminal, corporate, taxation, labour and election law. But since change is the new constant, there are a lot of other fields that have opened up for those who seek something different. For example, one can look at Cyber Laws, Intellectual Property, and International Trade Laws. Cyber law is hot on the block right now with news like the alleged hacking of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited network by Chinese telecom maker Huawei raising questions about cyber security and the increasing need for stringent laws governing the World Wide Web.
You can look forward to various professions after a stint at a law school. You can set up your own practice after having done due diligence by visiting court proceedings in your final year. Many opine that to become a good lawyer, practical training in courts (if possible under a senior lawyer) is necessary to sharpen one’s spurs. What must be kept in mind is that you will have to register yourselves under the Bar Council of India (BCI) in order to litigate in India’s courts. For those of you who would like to be lawyers but picture themselves in a corporate environment with top notch firms as your clients, you can explore that as well with companies like Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co, AZB & Partners hiring the right candidates who will go on to become the corporate litigators that one often hears about in boardroom battles.
Firms like AZB & Partners will offer a law graduate anywhere between 3 lakh to 14 lakh Rupees annually. However, if a court is your calling, as a fresh lawyer you can look at a maximum of 15,000 Rupees per month. Though as you gain acceptance, the rewards increase. Some well-established lawyers earn quite a fat package on a per appearance basis.
So do you have what it takes to be the next Ram Jethmalani/Zia Mody?