A degree in Law can take you to some strange and exciting places. We have many ways to excel in the field of law in India or across the globe based on your interest, patience and zeal towards this profession.
As per our observation, in India people get inspired to enter into the legal profession by elder members of the family who are already into legal practice/profession. We see people carrying the legacy of the legal profession over generations in most parts of the world. People also get inspired to enter into the legal profession by the circumstances they see around them and the guidance they get from their admirers or well-wishers. Apart from these, there may be many situations which inspire one to take go for a career in law. Below are some of the choices one can make after pursuing law:
Career in Law
Gone are the days when the legal professionals used to stick only to the traditional litigation practice with black robes and courtrooms. Now around the world, we have more options in attractive corporate offices, Government Sector, Film Industry and many more. Lawyers have moved many moons away from conventional practices and now they live very much in the real world. But one thing still haunts people is that only lawyers who are into court practice or into traditional litigation gain or possess sound knowledge and experience in the field of law. But, this thing too will change when e-Courts become fully active.
Law, for a layman, means a system of rules and regulations which are enforceable legally. But as a profession, it means a lot more and encompasses various fields such as litigation, media, IP, academics, etc. As stated above the role of a lawyer in today’s era has completely evolved and moved into more spaces from traditional court practice and white collars to swanky corporate offices and jobs in movies and the media. Lawyers are the most sought after people by corporations and individuals, leaving a dearth of lawyers when looked up against the demand.
As law brings in diverse fields, it opens various options for law graduates. The demand for law school graduates, with the requisite skills to handle key positions at leading organizations across diverse sectors, has surged tremendously.
With a growing economy and an increasing number of foreign firms targeting the Indian market, the requirements of legal expertise will only increase, making the law a very lucrative career.
The traditional career path is to ‘practice law’ in the courts at various places. But, it is essential for any fresh graduate to learn the ropes under a Senior Advocate and it is tough to gain knowledge from a senior advocate until and unless they are too good. And, we do hear from every senior advocate saying that ‘You are lucky that you got a good opportunity with me’ I used to struggle when i was at your position. The law graduates in India are now required to qualify an All India Bar Exam before they join the Courts of Law. Litigation provides a wide range of employment options in both the private and public sectors. You may specialize in a particular field of law such as Taxation, Constitution, Family, etc. You can choose to focus on appellate work, trial-level practice, civil litigation or criminal cases based on the opportunity that comes your way.
You may work with a company/corporate entity as an in-house legal counsel, advising on legal matters related to its business and maybe it’s easy to grab this position in startups than an established company. An in-house counsel plays an important role in drafting, vetting, and negotiating contracts; ensuring and monitoring compliance with rules and laws; and handling legal disputes. But it is not an easy feat to grab a job as an in-house counsel.
One may join Multi-National Corporations, Private companies, Private Banks, etc. In India, banks have formed a common group named ‘Institute of Banking Personnel Selection’ to hire from a competitive exam instead of each bank conducting a separate exam for recruitment. But, State Bank of India still conducts it’s recruitment for legal officer separately.
Counsels are also required in Government Agencies, Public Sector Undertakings, Public and Nationalized banks, etc. These government organizations usually recruit lawyers through a written competitive exam followed by an interview and now most of the government agencies are recruiting candidates based on CLAT results.
These are business entities engaged in the practice of law. A noticeable trend that has emerged in the last few years is to shift from solo practice to well-organized law firms, which comprise several lawyers working together as one entity. As part of a law firm, one advises clients about their legal rights and re-courses as well as other legal matters. In India, we can see that the law firms are categorized as Tier I, Tier II and Tier III based on their reputation, goodwill, and such other factors.
Judicial Services/Civil Services
The State Judicial Services Examination organized by the High Courts for their respective states is a safe and sound option for those, who wish to pursue a stable government career. One may also opt for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, which is one of the most prestigious examinations in India.
Legal Process Outsourcing
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.
Contract Management and Legal Operations
Contract life cycle management and legal operations scope is increasing worldwide day by day. It is one of the major sector focused by the legal process outsourcing companies.
A career that not only allows you to pursue your intellectual interests and work on research projects but also offers a wide degree of flexibility and autonomy and pays you to read, talk and think.
A judicial clerkship is an extremely valuable experience for students interested in either litigation or transactional work; it provides invaluable insights into the workings of the legal system. Law clerks act as legal assistants whose duties vary from court to court and judge to judge.
Media and Law
As professionals, both journalism and law are intertwined as they require superior research and writing skills as well as critical knowledge of the government and the legal system. Legal journalism covers legal proceedings in courts, arbitration events, criminal matters, etc., which are disseminated to the public.
Lawyers get an opportunity to work as editors for various types of print and electronic media. It is a good option for those with a knack for writing.
One can take up a career as a law reporter with TV channels and newspapers. Ranging from high profile cases to concerns related to social issues and human rights, a new path for lawyers has opened up in this field.
The Indian Army, Air Force, and Navy recruit lawyers through the Service Selection Board (SSB). This selection process is conducted in different parts of India as declared in the notification from time to time. This recruitment process is organized twice a year but may differ. SSB interview process is conducted for two different commissions (i.e., Short Service Commission and Permanent Commission). Though the Ministry of India conducts an interview at different parts of India, interviewing authority bears traveling expenses of interviewee if such person is appearing for the first time.
Quite a number of law school graduates join Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work for social causes. If you are passionate about socio-legal issues, then you can take up this path. One may work with NGOs and Civil Society Organizations on issues based on environmental protection, gender concerns, caste discrimination, employment, working conditions, marginalization of various sections of the society, etc. Law school graduates are also offered opportunities to work with international organizations such as the United Nations and with international tribunals like the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, etc.