Posted by: LST Team | March 3, 2009

Law 2

Actually, the world DOES need another lawyer” – discoverlaw campaign


Introduction

Law has evolved beautifully from the past stigma of it being a sullied and most criticized profession to becoming one of the most sought after careers. Today, there is not a single field wherein a law graduate cannot pursue a career into. Thats why students from different educational backgrounds find law a more challenging and dynamic subject to study. By maintaining proper standards in imparting quality education through experienced faculty and academicians, todays law schools have matured to become global corridors of knowledge.

Legal education in India saw its first change in the year 1987 with the establishment of National Law School of India University, Bangalore, which introduced the 5 year LL.B course for the first time. Since then a dozen other national law schools have come up in different parts of India. These institutes are national in the sense that substantial number of seats in all these institutions are filled up by students from all over India. Till 2007 all these law schools used to conduct their own entrance tests which caused a lot of hardship on students and expanses incurred as a result of traveling throughout the country. However, with the joint efforts of Universities Grant Commission, Ministry of HRD and the National Law Schools and after the directions given by the Supreme Court in Varun Bhagat’s case, a common law admission test was initiated in the year 2008. Thus, Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) was born.


CLAT, the umbrella test

CLAT is an all-India test for prospective law students aspiring for an admission in one of the twelve national law schools. It mainly tests a student in two fields, namely, knowledge and reasoning. There are certain skills essential for success in law schools. Critical reading abilities, problem solving skills, synthesizing, comprehending, general knowledge etc. are some important skills which are tested in the exam.

The test pattern is as given below:

Total marks : 200

Total number of questions : 200

Duration : 2 hrs


Subject ares with weightage –

English including Comprehension : 40

Elementary Mathematics : 20

General Knowledge/ Current Affairs : 50

Logical Reasoning : 45

Legal Reasoning : 45


Eligibility

To be eligible for CLAT 2009 a candidate should have passed Higher Secondary School/Intermediate Examination (10+2) or its equivalent examination with not less than 50% marks in aggregate (45% in case of SC/ST/OBC/PwD) and should not be more than 20 years of age on 1st July, 2009 ( 22 years in case of SC/ST/OBC/PwD)


Major Institutes

In total, eleven national law schools accept CLAT marks for admission to their undergraduate programmes, namely,

  • National Law School of India, Bangalore

  • National Academy of Legal Studies And Research University of Law, Hyderabad

  • National Law Institute University, Bhopal

  • West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

  • National Law University, Jodhpur

  • Hidayutullah National Law University, Raipur

  • Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

  • Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow

  • Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala

  • Chanakya National Law University, Patna

  • National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi

As per last year’s CLAT statistics, 11225 students appeared for admissions to undergraduate courses offered in the national law schools. Another 724 students had applied for the post graduate courses. An inspiring and welcome fact was that more than 50% of the applicants for the UG course were girls. It is expected that CLAT 2009 will see more than 20,000 students appearing for a future in law schools.

Other than CLAT, there are various prestigious law entrance exams conducted by individual colleges and universities. Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP) is conducted by Symbiosis Law College in the first week of May. National Law School, Delhi, will administer its entrance test on 3rd May, 2009. Amity Law College, NOIDA, conducts entrance test along with Guru Gobing Singh Indrapastha University. Christ College, Bangalore also has its own entrance test around same time. Surprisingly, this year Faculty of Law, Delhi Univerity, is conducting its entrance exam for the three year LL.B course in the month of March which is three months before schedule.

Indian Law School, Pune and Government Law College, Mumbai, admit students on merit basis. Last year their cut offs closed as high as 83-84% in commerce stream and 78-80% in humanities.


Future Path

Future of law graduates could not have been more secure and brighter than what it is today. And the good news is, the field is still open for more ideas, more manpower and consequently more ideas. For a fresh law graduate there are varied areas wherein she/he can begin with. Though many law students get their future path structured from their law school years itself, but there are many others who would still want to wait for the right opportunity to catch hold of.

Litigation is, by default, the first option which is open for every law graduate. With ever increasing number of pending cases in our courts, both lower and higher courts, and hundreds of new cases being filed every month, there is always scope for a fresher to make a decent start in courtroom practice. There are initial hiccups in setting ones practice, however, after a period of time it becomes more and more challenging. Monetarily a lawyer earns anything around 15K for a start. But once the wheels start rolling, sky is the limit. The most famous lawyers in the country have all followed this career path – K.K. Venugopal, Fali Nariman, and Soli Sorabjee to name a few. Successful practicing advocates make by far the most money in the legal profession. The top lawyers in the country charge Rs.50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh per appearance, in court, and appearances may often last for just a few minutes.

Another lucrative area is a career in corporates. A corporate lawyer is as good as a top level management executive. Just add legal knowledge and it gets even better. MNCs have recruited students from campuses and placed them at executive levels realizing the potential of a fresh law graduate. Legal managers play a critical role in the functioning of a company, and are responsible for drafting, vetting, and in several cases, negotiating contracts for the company, ensuring and monitoring compliance with laws, and handling legal disputes that the company may be involved in. GE Capital, ICICI Bank, ITC, IBM, Infosys, Wipro, Dr. Reddy’s, Biocon, KPMG and HLL are some corporate giants that frequent law school campus recruitment programmes.

With the rise of global investments and a liberal economy at core, India has given a green signal to foreign law firms to setup their offices here. The result is: higher standards of delivery, corporate working environment and even higher pay packages. Law firms cater to the interests of companies and private individuals alike, though most of the large law firms deal exclusively with corporate houses, i.e. companies. Work at a law firm involves dealing with a wide variety of problems that may or may not be restricted to a particular area of the law (depending on the specialization and culture of the firm). Major law firms, both Indian and foreign, recruit from the top Indian law schools. Among the major recruiters from the domestic legal schools are top law firms such as Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh A. Shroff & Co, AZB Partners, J.Sagar & Associates, and Luthra & Luthra Law Offices. Foreign law firms that recruit from Indian law schools include the UK-based Linklaters Alliance, the Singapore-based Khattar & Wong, and others.

Every other industry has benefited from the information technology and its not surprising that even law could not stay aloof. An LPO is an offshore unit, undertaking legal work assigned by in which in-house legal departments or organizations from areas where it is costly to perform, such as the United States or Europe to areas where it can be performed at a significantly decreased cost, primarily India. The array of work, which, you may have to undertake while working in an LPO, would range from High-end legal research and drafting briefs, memorandums and commercial contracts to Litigation support work like evidence related work and first level document review. Realizing the potential the LPO industry has and the alarming rate at which it is growing IGNOU with Rainmaker have recently introduced a Post Graduate Diploma in LPO. Salaries, for fresh graduates, start from 20,000 – 25,000, but easily touch 70,000 in a span of 5 yrs. The Industry is a sunrise industry, which should see a boom in the next 3-5 years.

Apart from these few areas, Academics also provides a law graduate an opportunity to expand her/his knowledge. Pursuing teaching as career option comes good to those who have a desire and a passion for it, National law School Alumnus form the part of countries best faculties throughout the Top National Law Schools of the country. When it comes to Research and Academics the initial pay package differ and as far as eligibility goes either you to need to have a Masters degree (LL.M) or else must have cleared the National Eligibility Test. You start off as an Assistant Professor and given your National Law School Background in due course if you take up a Doctorate, you can end up being the Dean of a College.


Conclusion

Apart from CLAT, the US based Law School Admission Council (LSAC) have recently announced its Law School Admission Test (LSAT), India version, to be administered on 17th May, 2009. It is a sign of growing global acceptance of the standards maintained by the law schools in India and also highlights the need for a more experimented and widely administered way of testing prospective law students. Though this year only Jindal Law School, Sonepat, is admitting graduates through LSAT- India.

With so many tests in the pipeline, students are recommended to keep themselves updated about all the dates and venues along with the manner in which one has to apply. Your only friend and guide is www.lawentrance.com. For now all you need to do is to concentrate hard and crack the Boards!!

karn@lawentrance.com

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