By-K.L. Adlakha : A few years back if you happened to enquire from some talented students about the career/profession they plan to pursue after their schooling (10+2), the reply of most of them was on the expected lines. Their foremost preferences were Engineering or Medicine. Some of them, however, would show their inclination towards Management after graduation. Few would ever think about pursuing a programme in law.
In those days the study of law was an option for those who were not interested in serious studies or for those who just wanted to pass some years of their life or for those who wanted to join their parents already established in the field of law. Since there was no restriction of age for joining the law course, even persons in the age group of 50 years plus could be seen studying law. Law was a least attractive career amongst the talented students at that time. But in the changed economic and social scenario, a good number of talented students are clear in their minds to join law after their schooling (10+2) or graduation. With the advent of multinational companies in India, and the country embracing a free market economy and corporate culture, the talented students are attracted towards the study of law.
Besides, being financially lucrative and respectable option, law is also an adventurous and thrilling profession. A degree in law not only provides decent opportunities for livelihood but it is also a tool to fight against injustice in the society. In past, a law graduate had the option either to join judiciary or become a practicing lawyer but options open to him today are wide and varied. The prestige attached to the profession is an added attraction.
Earlier the image of a lawyer was that of a man in black robes arguing the case of his clients before the courts. Today a lawyer has become an indispensable part of the modern life. He plays a decisive role in every sphere of society. He tenders legal advice to his clients in their individual needs and helps in resolving their disputes with opposites-parties. He understands laws and ensures that the people live within four corners of law. He pleads for legal rights of his clients before the courts.
A lawyer must possess excellent drafting, presentation and communication skills. He must have good intellectual ability, should be hardworking, self-confidence and should possess physical and mental stamina. He must have quick grasping power. He must be a man of impeccable integrity because he holds secret briefs of his clients.
PROSPECTS FOR LAW GRADUATES
There are many career opportunities available to law graduates in India. Some of fields open to them are as follows :
1. Corporate World
3. Govt. & PSUs
4. Banking Sector
5. Teaching/Academics in Law Colleges
6. Defence Forces
8. Law Firms
11. Freelance Journalism
Courses offered in Law Schools are :
1. Three-Years Bachelor of Laws programme (LL.B.)
2. Five-Years Integrated undergraduate programme. (B.A., LL.B)
3. Two-Years Master of Laws programme (LL.M.)
However, the students completing the above programmes and interested in higher degrees can join the following programmes:
LL.D (Doctor of Laws)
Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy)
M.Phil (Master of Philosophy)
In the law schools besides the above-mentioned programmes, some short-term specialized law programmes are also offered to students to familiarize themselves with the new developments taking place in the field of law. Some of the specialized law programmes are :
1. Diploma in Patents Law
2. Diploma in Media Law
3. Diploma in Cyber Laws
4. Diploma in Human Rights Laws
5. Diploma in Environmental Laws
6. Diploma in Medical Laws and Ethics
7. Diploma in Labour Laws and Labour Welfare
8. Diploma in Securities Law
9. Diploma in Taxation Laws
10. Diploma in Intellectual Property Laws
11. Diploma in Banking Laws
12. Diploma in Criminology and Penology
Legal education in India has never been as good as it is today. For a very long time three-year LL.B course was in vogue in Indian universities. A bold and creative decision was taken on the part of the Bar Council of India by allowing an integrated five-year programme in the year 1987 when National Law School of India University was established in Bangalore by the NLSUI Act 1986 of the Karnatka legislature. The other universities continued to pursue the pattern of three year LL.B course. The outstanding success of the National Law School experiment invited attention from policy planners. The All India Law Ministers Conference at Bhubaneswar in 1992 endorsed a proposal of a Committee of Parliament for setting up model law schools on the type of Bangalore law school in every State. Thereafter, States of different legislatures enacted Acts to establish national law schools in their respective States – the State of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal (1997), the State of Andhra Pradesh in Hyderabad (1998), the State of Rajasthan in Jodhpur (1999), the State of West Bengal in Kolkata (1999), the State of Chattisgarh in Raipur (2003), the State of Gujarat in Gandhi Nagar (2003), the State of Kerala in Kochi (2005), the State of Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow (2005), the State of Punjab in Patiala (2006), the State of Bihar in Patna (2006) and the National Capital of Delhi in Delhi (2008). A number of universities and their constituent colleges followed suit by starting five year integrated LL.B. courses in addition to the existing three-year LL.B. courses.
Prior to 2008, all the national law schools were conducting their own entrance tests for admission but from the year 2008, admissions to all the national law schools are being made strictly on the basis of merit of Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). The maiden CLAT was conducted by the NLSUI on 11th May, 2008 since it was decided earlier by all the schools to conduct the test in rotation on the basis of seniority- senior most law school starting first. This year CLAT 2009 is being conducted by NALSAR University of Law. The eligibility for undergraduate five year integrated programmes is 10+2 with 50% marks and eligibility for two year LL.M. programme is LL.B. with 55% marks. The age limit for undergraduate five year integrated programme is 20 years as on 1st July, 2009. All the national law schools are fully residential. Prestige of gaining admission in national law schools is comparable to IITs, IIMs and CPMTs. The following eleven national law schools (National Law School of Delhi has kept itself out) will be part of the CLAT.
1. NATIONAL LAW SCHOOL OF INDIA UNIVERSITY, BANGALORE, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore-560242
2. NALSAR UNIVERSITY OF LAW, HYDERABAD 3-4-7 761, Barkatpura, Hyderabad – 500027
3. NATIONAL LAW INSTITUTE UNIVERSITY, BHOPAL Kerwa Dam Road, Bhopal-462044
4. THE WEST BENGAL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF JURIDICAL SCIENCES, Kolkata "NUJS Bhavan", 12, LB-Block,
Sector-III, Salt Lake, Kolkata – 700098.
5. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, JODHPUR NH-65, Nagaur Road, Mandor, Jodhpur-342304
6. HIDAYATULLAH NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, RAIPUR HNLU Bhawan, Civil Lines, Raipur-492001
7. GUJARAT NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, AHMEDABADs
E- 3820284, GIDC, Electronics Estate, Sector-26 Gandhinagar-382028
8. DR. RAM MANOHAR LOHIYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY
Sec-D1, LDA Colony, Kanpur Road Scheme, Near Power House, Lucknow – 226012.
9. RAJIV GANDHI NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LAW, PUNJAB, Mohindra Kothi, The Mall, Patiala – 147001
10. CHANAKYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies Campus, Gandhi Maidan, Patna – 800 001.
11. NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF ADVANCED LEGAL STUDIES, Kaloor, Kochi – 682017.
PATTERN OF TEST PAPERS
The pattern of the test paper for the undergraduate programme will be as follows;
1. English including comprehen-sion - 40 marks
2. General Knowledge/Current Affairs - 50 marks
3. Elementary Mathematics (Numerical Ability) – 20 marks
4. Legal Aptitude - 45 marks
5. Logical Reasoning - 45 marks
Almost all the National law schools are running five-year integrated undergraduate programme B.A., LL.B (Hons) and two year post graduate course (LL.M). After completing their under graduate or post graduate programme, the students can pursue courses in specialized fields of their choice.
LAW EDUCATION OTHER THAN UNDER CLAT
Besides the above-mentioned law schools covered under the CLA T, there are a number of other reputed law schools/colleges/universities which are running three year LL.B. programmes or/and five year integrated LL.B and two year LL.M programmes. They are conducting their own entrance tests for admission or taking admissions on the basis of scores
obtained in 10+2 or graduation.
(The author is a lawyer based in Lucknow)