According to an estimate of the Bar Council, around 1,200 to 1,500 lawyers enroll every year. Another progressive point to be taken into consideration is that it is yet another male dominated field that has been stormed by women, although it is true that not many practice it. This is due to several reasons, ranging from working conditions being poor in many district courts to prevailing social conditions. Many women prefer to join legal firms or corporate houses as legal officers, rather than take up practice. However, the scenario is noticeably changing and more and more women are now proudly occupying seats and proving their worth in the courts.
Law education can be pursued in two forms- right after 12th or after graduation, as I mentioned before. If it is after 12th that you are interested in pursuing Law education, then you must go for Integrated Law course. If it is after Graduation that you want to study law, you may go for L.L.B. course.
12th Science, Commerce and Arts stream students, who have cleared their Board examinations from a recognized board, are eligible to apply for Integrated Law course (5 years long program). Do check out that detailed article about this Integrated program to get more idea about course combinations that you may try, depending on your 12th stream.
Some common examples of Integrated Law programs are-
Another way to pursue Law Education is by selecting L.L.B. Course after graduation. L.L.B. is actually a PG course. Graduates from most branches and disciplines may pursue L.L.B. course. So, basically, after 12th, one has to go for any Graduation course and successfully complete it. After getting graduation Degree, one may go for L.L.B. Degree (3 years long program
When it comes to Law Institutes, the regulatory body is Bar Council of India. To get admission in reputed, Bar Council approved institutes, one must appear for CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) examination. This test is conducted to evaluate candidates’ general English skills, legal aptitude, logical skills etc. Those who want to get admission in Integrated Law program or L.L.B. program must prepare for this test and score well in it. Some Private Institutes have their own Entrance examination to gauge the Legal Aptitude and skills of candidates.
One can either pursue a three-year law course after graduation in any discipline or a five-year course after twelfth standard examinations, leading to a BA LLB (Hons). Practically all universities offer the part time three-year course LLB course for graduates. Generally, eligibility is on the basis of marks scored at the graduation examinations. However, there are some universities that conduct entrance tests too. For the five-year course, the premier institution is the National Law School in Bangalore. For admission to this, an All India Entrance examination is held. The five-year course usually covers practical training too. This includes court attendance, hands on training at legal aid centres and research projects. For specialisation in a single focused branch, there are short diploma courses in labour and labour welfare, taxation and so on. To be able to practise, it is mandatory to put in a year’s internship. This may be done during the course of the final year
Equipped with a law degree and having completed the mandatory articleship, a person can become either an advocate or a solicitor. There is a difference between the two. An advocate pleads in court and is actively involved in litigation. He decides what legislation and what precedents are relevant in a particular case. Whereas, a solicitor offers legal advice to clients on a wide range of subjects, from personal to business matters. In the event of a case going to court, the solicitor briefs and advises the advocate who takes up the case on behalf of the client. If one decides to become an advocate, he begins as a junior assistant to an advocate, performing routine jobs like filing, researching, securing adjournments and, of course, attending court with the senior. He gradually graduates to working on briefs and drafting plaints. After several years of drafting experience, he begins to participate actively in court. In the case of the option to become a solicitor, one may join as a junior in a solicitor’s firm during the articleship, or while doing the law course. Here too, the junior job begins at routine runs like studying law cases, looking up authorities from time to time and filing suits and notices. Depending upon how big or small the solicitor’s firm is, the junior may gain valuable experience in a wide range of matters, from labour laws and industrial disputes to taxation, under the guidance of his seniors. Here too, after several years of experience, he may raise to the level of a senior and may eventually be invited to join as one of the partners of the firm.
Law-Institutes Almost all Indian Universities offer a degree in Law. Besides these, some Universities offer a five year law course after completion of 12th Std. Some Universities also offer short term specialized courses in Law. These are -(1)5 year Law Courses for School Leavers (2)Post Graduate Diploma and Degree Courses in Criminology / Forensic Sciences (3)Post Graduate Diploma Courses in International Law (4)Post Graduate Diploma Courses in Taxation (5)Post Graduate Diploma Courses in Labour Laws
An articled clerk or apprentice usually gets a stipend of Rs. 2,200. Private practitioners get good packets. For those in government service, it could be in the Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 4,000 range. When a person gets appointed as sub-judge, he begins at Rs. 5,500 plus the benefits and perks that all government employees are entitled to.
Generally, law firms employ fresh graduates as apprentices or assistants. During the final year of the course, a candidate takes up apprenticeship. After two years of articleship, the apprentice appears for an examination of articled clerk conducted by the Law Society. Plunging into private practice immediately after graduation is practically impossible, unless there is a ready-made family firm. It generally takes several years under an advocate or solicitor before a person is ready to branch off into his own practice. There are plenty of opportunities in private industry. There is also the possibility of becoming legal consultants (part time or full time) for companies. Opportunities are aplenty in government service. A candidate who qualifies in the Law Service Commission or State Public Service Commission is eligible for appointment as munsif. Promotion may take a person higher up to sub-judge, District and Sessions Courts Judge and further (depending upon seniority and vacancy) to appointments in High Courts and the Supreme Court. Public sector undertakings and state and central government organisations also employ lawyers. Opportunities exist in the defense services too.