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Want a career in law? Find out how

July 12, 2017 08:40 IST

'India has 1 lawyer per 1,000 population.'
'Opportunities in the field of law are plenty.'

Career in law

Engineering and medicine continue to be the top career choices for India's young.

Not many realise that a career in the law can be equally challenging and fruitful.

As of 2011, revealed an RTI query, there are 1.3 million lawyers in the country.

Deepak Kapoor, founder and CEO, LawSkills.com, a training and recruitment firm for aspiring lawyers, tells Rediff.com's Divya Nair what it takes to become a sucessful lawyer.

Do you think legal education is preferred as much as medicine, engineering and management in India?

After the establishment of 5-year degrees, law has become a career of choice for students after Class 12.

We have noticed that students in Class 11 have begun taking coaching classes to gain entry into premier law institutions after Class 12.

This clearly establishes the fact that law is now a career choice, and is very much in demand, just like medicine and engineering.

The number of students cracking law exams in India has dropped over the years. What reasons do you attribute for this?

The number of students appearing for law entrance exams have increased over the years.

Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2017 had 45,000 students registered -- an increase of 12.3 per cent than the previous year.

In 2008, only 10,000 students had appeared.

This number may seem low compared to the number of medical and engineering aspirants.

This is due to the availability of fewer seats in law schools, the availability of 3-year and 5-year law schools and number of law schools in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, which directly admit students based on Class 12 results.

Is there a dearth of lawyers in India?

India has one lawyer per 1,000 population.

The US has one lawyer for every 300 persons. China has one for every 7,000 persons.

There are 12 judges per one million persons in India, 41 in Australia and 107 in the US.

What are the skills required to pursue and succeed in the legal profession?

To succeed as a lawyer, students will need to have strong analytical abilities, pay attention to detail, have logical reasoning, the ability to persuade and make sound judgment, and adhere to ethics.

There are lots of institutions offering fake degrees. How does one pick a good institute to study?

Law schools/colleges in India are regulated by the Bar Council of India.

Chances of colleges offering fake degrees are minimal.

While choosing law schools, students should consider the following:

  • Research the college's reputation.
  • Find out the number of permanent faculty.
  • Find if there are enough PhD holders in faculty.
  • Find the number of peer reviewed articles being contributed by faculty.
  • Check the alumni placement record.
  • Check if the infrastructure is good enough.

Knowing the answers to the above will help students narrow down their choices and make an informed decision.

What kind of jobs can students consider after completion of the course?

The landscape has changed for lawyers in terms of graduate opportunities.

Traditional litigation remains one of the chosen options.

Opportunities in the field of law are plenty.

Students can appear for judicial exams, join law firms or corporates, LPOs, NGOs, consulting companies, banks, legal publishing, legal reporting, etc.

What are the new age legal careers one can considers?

The number of specialisations have emerged, and students can choose from a plethora -- insolvency and bankruptcy, arbitration, sports, media and aviation laws, to name a few.

What are the challenges facing the sector? What should students bear in mind before signing up?

There are several challenges the sector faces:

  • The ever changing nature of technology, law as a business and the generation gap.
  • The emergence of new legal services, resulting from changes in legislation or individuals' ways of life, to adapting for the legal sector new service delivery models developed in other industries.
  • Changes in the ways in which clients wish to have legal services delivered.
  • Changes in required skills and talent pool available to the legal sector, or in the competition for that talent.
  • Growth in the provision of outsourced services, locally or globally.

How is your organisation addressing the skills versus employment gap?

At LawSkills, we aim to bridge the gap between legal education and the profession by providing multi-lingual, audio-visual courses with step-by-step procedures, practical aspects and case studies on various topics.

The courses are developed by legal professionals, connecting theory to their daily practice.

We have regular training programmes where experienced legal professionals do on-the-job training.

We also encourage our students to contribute articles and attend training programmes when conducted.

What's your advice to students who are struggling to succeed in the legal profession?

  • Network, network, network.
  • Do not be afraid or lazy to put in long hours of work.
  • Read and stay updated on news and current affairs.
  • Last but not the least, don't run after money; run after what you are passionate about.

Why do you think law is a prospective career option?

Law is probably the only area where there is no pyramid.

Any number of individuals can excel in their area of practice.

Law has a social cause and you get exposed to a variety of things.

Kindly note: Image published only for representational purposes.

Divya Nair / Rediff.com