Law as a Career Option and CLAT

Law, as a career option, has seen a massive shift of reception in the recent years. In the previous decades, it was deemed to be the lowest of the low back up options. One pursued the LLB course, which spanned 3 years after a graduate course, only if they had no other strategy left to make a living out of legal means.

However, the trend shift from the 1990s has been spectacular and has generated a whole lot of positive reception in terms of career prospects and payback.

Some universities and colleges date back almost a century and the list includes Aligarh Muslim University, Government Law College, ILS Law College and Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Centers of modern education such as most of the National Law Universities (NLSIU, NLIU, NALSAR), Symbiosis Law School etc. have taken over the legal landscape only in the 1980s and later.

It was with NLSIU Bangalore that the 5 year law course was introduced as a method of experimentation and revolution in legal education. The idea was to save one extra year that a student would have to otherwise waste in a 3+3 year study model (3 years for the undergraduate course and a furth3 years for the LLB course) and instead offer a composite degree of B.A.LL.B. that spanned only 5 years. The undergraduate subjects were later expanded to include BBA, B.Com, B.Sc.

Until 2008, the prestigious national law universities and the private universities had separate entrance exams for each of such avenues. A student had to independently apply to each such university and write different exams. Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) was introduced in 2008 and, as the name suggests, was a common entrance test to the national law universities with the exception of NLU Delhi and the private schools.

As of 2015, 16 national law universities accept admissions subject to competing CLAT and acquiring an admissible rank in the test. The top schools like NLSIU, NALSAR, NUJS, NLIU and NLU Jodhpur receive the crème de la crème of the rankers.

The law schools (as ranked by different magazines and grading mechanisms) offer their pupils the infrastructure to hone their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular skills. There are several career options available to a law student who diligently maintains a sound academic and achievement profile.

Mostly, the colleges offer “placements” to students in reputed law firms of the country depending on the choice area of interest and pay-package. The Big 6 firms (ranked as per RSG40 and other forums) offer a starting package of around Rs. 13-16 Lacs. Apart from law firms, several companies also visit the campus in order to scope prospective employees in their “in-house” divisions. Such companies are highly reputed organisations with similar pay packages as their law firm counterparts. They include ICICI, WIPRO, Tech Mahindra etc.

Legal Process Outsourcing units also recruit heavily from campus placements. These are organisations which offer and outsource legal support to law firms. Such positions are not as popular as the abovementioned options but they act as dependable career options nevertheless. Apart from campus placements, the students may opt for off-campus options such as clinching pre-placement offers with the law firms and companies.

Some students prefer to sit for judicial services exams which are conducted by Law Service Commission and separate States for appointment as Magistrates and legal officers. As is true for any career option, diligence and hard work guarantees and reaps excellent benefits in future.

Many law students dream of entering the litigation field and arguing fancily in court rooms. To do the same, they need to enroll with their respective state bars and work under an experienced lawyer, who is open to teaching and bolstering their brief and practice.

A significant segment of graduates opt to study further and engage in the Masters of Law (LLM) programme, both abroad and within the country. Such studies may be undertaken in an effort to be eligible for practice in a foreign jurisdiction, honing individual specialisation, strengthening employment prospects within India and indulging in research or teaching. These further studies may be self funded or may be assisted through grants and scholarships.

Teaching attracts a small but significant portion of graduates who opt for further studies and qualifying exams and subsequent enrolment as assistant professors. A similar avenue is of research scholars.

At the same time, quite a few law graduates, who do not wish to practice law, appear for the civil services examinations. They have consistently performed well in such competitive exams. A tiny fraction of the graduates also opt for post graduate degrees in management and entrepreneurship.

In short, there is no shortage of career options for law graduates provided that the correct choices and decisions are made at the apt time. A student needs to identify his/her fitting place and work towards achieving that target.

Contributed by Neeati Narayan

The tutor for law entrance exam, Kaushal Arora can be contacted HERE.

Image from HERE.

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