- Khwaja Abdul Muntaqim
Legal profession is a fast growing profession. In these days of globalization and liberalization, it is likely to get further momentum as more lawyers would be required to handle cases arising out of international trade and as a result of growing importance of WTO.At present there are more than 5,00,000 advocates in India and the number is swelling with 15,000 new enrolments every year. Lawyers are held in high esteem in a civil society as they render valuable service to all segments of the society by getting their constitutional and legal rights enforced through courts-civil or criminal, at all levels of judiciary, that is, Trial Court, High Court, Supreme Court or Quasi- Judicial Institutions. Persons holding law degree or other higher legal qualifications have ample employment opportunities in private as well as public sector .It is their choice whether they opt for service or prefer to practice as a lawyer.
Legal Practitioner / Advocate / Legal Advisor
Lawyers can work as legal counsel and legal advisors for corporate sector, firms, organizations, legal persons, individuals and families. They can work as trustees of various trusts, as teachers, law reporters, company secretaries and so on. Additional law qualification along with other degrees offers scope for a wide range of employment opportunities. One who desires to become an advocate and practice law as a profession in India must have obtained basic law degree. He/ she should get himself/herself enrolled with State Central Bar Council as per provisions contained in the Advocates Act, 1961. Besides, he/she is also required to qualify in the entry test recently introduced by Bar Council of India failing which no one shall be enrolled as an advocate. 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.
Persons possessing requisite qualifications are recruited for Indian legal service against various posts– Legal advisors in Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Counsel in Legislative Department. These officers can reach the level of Secretary to the Government of India with the passage of time according to their suitability.Likewise, Legislative Counsels are also appointed in official languages Wing of the Legislative Department for Hindi and Regional languages-(Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada ,Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu). At the state level, too, officers with legal qualifications and professional qualifications are also appointed against similar posts. However, designations may vary from state to state. Besides, Law officers/ Legal advisors are appointed in almost all the ministries/departments/ undetakings of the Govt. of India and State Governments. All these posts are generally filled up by recruitment through UPSC and State Public Service Commissions on regular/ deputation basis. Basic qualification for all these posts is a degree in law, besides a degree in Arts/Science/Commerce etc. and professional experience as per the requirements of each post. In addition to that members of Law Commission, Govt. Advocates, public prosecutors, solicitors, Attorney General, Advocate general, Notaries and Oath Commissioners as also legal secretaries in assemblies ,staff in higher/lower judiciary/Quasi-Judicial institutions, Judicial members in CAT, Income tax, Sales tax, Excise and other tribunals are also appointed as per rules as and when the vacancies occur. However, fresh Law Graduates are appointed against non-gazetted posts generally equivalent to the post of Assistant in the Secretariat, such as Legal Assistants, Legal/Judicial Translators etc..
They are also recruited as commissioned officers in the legal branches of the Indian Army, Navy and Air force. They conduct courts of enquiry and court martial of erring service personnel as per law.
In the Judiciary, the lowest judicial cadre posts of Magistrate/Munsif or Sub-Judge are filled up by recruitment through public service commissions or otherwise under the supervision of the High Court. Basic qualification for all these posts is a degree in law(professional) , besides a degree in Arts / Science / Commerce etc. and the age limit for all these posts is generally 35 years which is relaxable for special categories as per rules. A Magistrate presides over criminal court and a Munsif/Sub-judge deals with civil cases. These officers can become District and Sessions Judge by promotion and can also be elevated to the office of a Judge of the High Court and the Supreme Court subject to their seniority and suitability. Earlier District and Sessions Judges were promoted from those in service/ selected from amongst the practicing lawyers but now in most of the states they are being recruited through competitive examination conducted by State commissions / High Courts.
Those with good academic record, particularly holding LL.M, Ph.D degrees or published work of a high standard, can take up jobs in any University or Institute offering law courses to students. There is wide scope for visiting professors as private universities are coming up in large number and they prefer such persons because of their eminence and acumen.
Writing/Editing Law Books/Journals/Reports
If one is familiar with the complexities of law and the procedure and is in a position to understand the intricacies of case law and has a flair for writing he/she is fit to be an author of law books / legal commentaries and a proper person to bring out law reports, produce law journals, take up all other journalistic assignments and compile law lexicons.
Legal Outsourcing refers to the practice of a law firm obtaining legal services from an outside law firm. This practice is, however, known as offshoring when the outsourced entity is based in another country. According to a report, India has huge potential in legal outsourcing, with the number of jobs in the field increasing to 79,000 by 2015, a study has said. The field of legal outsourcing was largely untapped.At present the number of jobs in legal outsourcing in India stood less than 12,000.The most important challenges to legal outsourcing included concerns about data security, conflict of interest rules, and the need for Indian lawyers to pass US bar examinations.
As regards remuneration, it depends upon the field a law graduate chooses.If one gets a job in a Govt.department, or in public sector or in a university or in any other organization where govt. rules are applicable he/she will be entitled to get emoluments as per pay scales prescribed by the Government from time to time. After acceptance of recommendations of 6th Pay Commission, Govt. servants are getting handsome salary, say between Rs. 20,000 and one lakh and above depending on the designation and nature of job. Now multinational companies and law firms have also started campus selections and have been offering annual packages between three and four lakhs as per the standing of the company. However, those who start practice of their own have to struggle in the early stage but their constant efforts may help them in reaching any heights and the sky is the limit. Besides , law reporters, legal journalists, authors, writers and editors associated with reputed publications as also free-lancers have good earning.
One can either pursue a three-year law course (LLB) after graduation in any discipline or a five-year course after twelfth standard examinations, leading to a B.A.;LLB (Hons) degree . Admission to LLB is generally based on percentage of marks scored at graduation level. However, some Universities/ Institutions like National Law Schools conduct entrance tests, too. The B.A. LL.B programme usually covers practical training including court attendance, participation in mock court proceedings, seminars, symposiums, conferences on legal subjects / hands on training at legal aid centres and research projects. In addition to LLB degree, many universities and institutes also offer other diploma courses in several disciplines of law. P.G. Programme in law (LL.M) is of 2 years duration & eligibility is LLB degree. After completing LL.M Course, one can join Ph.D. LL.D degrees are also conferred on eminent scholars.
Fields of Specialisation
- Civil/Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law
- Administrative Law
- Human Rights Law
- Family Law
- Corporate Law
- Business Law
- International Law
- Labour Law
- Real Estate Law
- Intellectual property /Patent Law
List of Central Universities/ Premier Institutions imparting legal education upto Postgraduate/Research level
1. Aligarh Muslim University
2. Allahabad University
3. Banaras Hindu University
4. University of Delhi
5. Jamia Millia Islamia
6. National Law University, Delhi
7. National Law School of India University, Bangalore
8. National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
9. National Law University, Orissa, Cuttack
10. National Law Institute University, Bhopal
11. National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
12. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow
13. National Law University, Jodhpur
14. Hidyatullah National Law University, Raipur
15. National University for Study and Research in Law, Ranchi
16. Chanakya National Law University, Patna
17. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
18. Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
19. Amity Law School & Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Noida
20. Andhra Pradesh University of Law, Visakhapatnam
21. Dr.Ambedkar Law University, Chennai
The above list is indicative only.
Some other State/Private Universities/Autonomous Institutions are also imparting legal education .
(The author is a Visiting Professor in Amity University Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and former Additional Legislative Counsel to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, having written several books on human rights issues).