Legal profession is one of the growing and lucrative professions all over the world. It is one of the most adventurous as well as exciting career. Lawyers are held in high esteem in our society, and there remains the faith that when all else fails, one can still take recourse to the legal system. In our daily life in one way or other we may come across situations where legal advice is required. In such situation we need the advice of a legal professionals who analyse and interpret law properly.
Lawyers counsel clients about their legal rights and suggest course of action in a particular matter. They also advise clients and draw up legal documents, such as wills and contracts and conduct negotiations on legal matters, and may represent clients in court and tribunal proceedings.
Academic excellence is not the main thing behind the success in this profession. Professional competence acquired through experience and practice with efficient lawyers is the main yardstick of success.
There are various areas of specialisation in this field which one can choose from like corporation law, civil law, criminal law, international law, labour law, patent law, tax law and so on.
There are number of institutions and universities conducting courses in law. The most premier among law universities in India is National Law School Of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. Admission to NLSIU is through an All India Admission Test held usually on first Sunday in May. University College Bangalore, Government College Mumbai, ILS law college and Symbiosis college, Pune and Faculty of Law of Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University etc are some of the other leading legal Institutions in India.
Educational: Minimum qualification to go for a course in law (LLB) is 10+2. Course duration is of 5 years and is sponsored by the Bar Council Of India.
P.G. Programmes in law (LLM) are of 2 years duration & eligibility is LLB degree.
In addition to LL.B. degree, many universities and institutes also offer other diploma courses in several disciplines of law, including Administrative Law, International Law, Labour Laws, Tax Laws and Corporate Laws.
In most of the institutes/universities, selection is on the basis of an entrance test. The entrance examination is objective type in nature. The questions invariably cover areas like Reasoning, General Awareness, Numerical Aptitude, Legal Aptitude and Preliminary Political Science.
Teaching is not restricted to the conventional class-room methods alone, it include case studies, mock court etc. to make the study more practical and interesting.
There are various branches of specialisation in law like civil law, criminal law, corporate law, property law, income tax law, marine law, public international law, family law, labour law, press law, excise law, constitutional law, administration law, sale of goods law, trade mark, copyright and patent law etc. one can choose from.
Personal attributes: Success in this profession is not based on marks one obtain in the exam, but it is very much related to personal attributes. One must have good oral and written communication skills, logical reasoning, power of concentration, patience, good memory to relate and quote past cases to prove your point, ability to argue and discuss matters with a variety of people, self confidence, courage to deal with threats especially in criminal cases etc. He should have up-to-date information on any changes in law. A good library and a fair amount of reading is also important.
They can find employment in various courts of law, in government service both Central and State government, as teachers, as legal advisors in various companies, business houses, organisations etc. They also do private practice as legal advisors, advocates, solicitors etc.
One who wishes to become an advocate and practice law as a profession in India, should enroll with the local State Central Bar council. An application for admission as an advocate shall be made in the prescribed form to the State Bar Council within whose jurisdiction the applicant proposes to practice. The Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils forms a self contained code of law for legal professionals practicing in India.
Lawyers can find employment in a variety of positions in the Government Service as well as other fields. Lawyer can also work as legal counsel and legal advisers for firms, organizations and families. They can work as trustees of various trusts, as teachers, law reporters, company secretary and so on. Opportunities exist in the defense services too. Additional qualification along with law degree offers scope for a wide range of employment opportunities.
Lawyers are appointed in central services ( Indian legal service) through UPSC on grounds of their experience in the field. Post covered under Indian legal service are Law officers, Assistant Advisors, Dy. Legal Advisors and Legal Advisors.
State legal service appoints lawyers through SPSC exams in senior position in State police/Revenue/Judicial Departments. The basic qualification is degree in law, besides a degree in Arts / Science / Commerce / Agriculture. Average age limit is between 21 to 30 years.
In the judiciary, the posts are that of the magistrate, district and sessions judge, munsifs (sub-magistrate), public prosecutor, solicitors, attorney general, advocate general, notary and oath commissioner. There are also legal secretaries appointed in assemblies, law inspectors, legal officers in banks, judicial members of income tax, sales tax and excise departments, government advocates and staff in the registrar of companies' office. The examination for these posts take place periodically & is advertised as and when the vacancies occur.
A candidate who qualifies in the Law Service Commission or State Public Service Commission is eligible for appointment as Magistrate and Sub-Magistrate ( munsif). While magistrate presides over criminal court, munsif delivers judgment on civil cases. 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.
At the state, federal and local level, public defenders serve as court-appointed attorneys for those who cannot afford an attorney.
Govt. Pleaders represent the State in sessions courts and lends advice to officers in districts in all legal matters when called for.
Advices the government on legal matters and submit statement of important cases to Attorney General of India for his opinion or appearance in the Supreme court as necessary. A Solicitor General makes sure that the Attorney General performs his duties properly.
Attorney general appointed by the president advices the government of India on such legal matters as may be assigned to him by the president. He has the right of audience in all courts of India and participate in the proceedings of Parliament without the right to vote.
Similar to the post of Attorney General at centre, each state has an Advocate General appointed by State Governors. These offices generally prosecute cases that have statewide significance and work with local District Attorney's offices in the prosecution of cases. One of the best ways to gain trial experience quickly after graduation is to work at a state attorney's office.
Assistant State Attorneys (also called district attorneys) are primarily responsible for criminal matters and prosecution. The District Attorney is usually an elected official. Depending upon the size of the District Attorney's office, they may have multiple units that focus upon different types of crime such as domestic violence, homicide, appellate work or sex crimes. If you work with a smaller District Attorney's office, you may have the option of handling diverse caseloads.
A notary is a legal practitioner of at least ten years experience in the profession. He is appointed on application to Central, State government to draw, verify, authenticate, certify and attest the execution of any deed. Oath commissioner is another established authority similar to the notary.
Public sector undertakings and state and central government organisations also employ lawyers as advisers.
Lawyer can also work as legal counsel and legal advisers for firms, organizations and families. They can work as trustees of various trusts, as teachers, law reporters, company secretary and so on. Opportunities exist in the defense services too. Additional qualification along with law degree offers scope for a wide range of employment opportunities.
They can work in the legal branches of defence departments such as the Indian army, Navy and Air force. They conduct courts of enquiry and court martials of offending service personnel governed by the particular legislation acts.
They work in legal departments of firms or for private clients. Legal advisors counsel their clients as to their legal rights and obligations and suggest the appropriate course of action in business and personal matters. They also check deeds, issue writs, collect information for affidavits and draft legal documents.
An advocate practises in the court of law. He represents a party (individual, group of individuals or a company) in a court of law. They present the facts of the case to the judge, cross examine witnesses and finally sum up the reasons as to why the court should decide in their clients' favour.
Solicitor is a kind of advisor to clients on a variety of matters that involves law. Solicitors explain the cases of his clients to the advocates. Solicitors need never appear in court directly. Solicitor's firms undertake cases related to their area of work.
Those with a good aptitude and taste for teaching, can go for LL.M and take up job in any University or Institute offering law courses to students.
If he has a flair for writing may act as an author and produce journals and legal commentaries and bring out law reports. They can write articles for magazines, news papers etc.
A law graduate and/or a member of the Institute of Company Secretaries can be employed as a company secretary in a firm.
Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely according to the type, size, and location of their employer. Initially an articled clerk or apprentice earns a stipend of Rs 2,200/- This will increase substantially over years of experience. In the government judicial service salaries range from Rs 2,000-4,000. A sub judge earns Rs 5,500 along with the usual allowances and perquisites applicable to government employees. Most salaried lawyers are provided health and life insurance, and contributions are made on their behalf to retirement plans. The private legal practitioner earns comparatively handsome amounts.