From litigation to counselling, from civil lawyer to corporate lawyer and from cases related to property to intellectual property, law is a continuously evolving profession. With the advancement of technology and opening up of the economy, the career opportunities for Indian law graduates are many, unlike the earlier days when options were limited to criminal or civil litigation.
The Indian legal profession today comprises nearly 12 lakh registered advocates, around 1200 Law Schools and about 4-5 lakh law students. According to Bar Council of India’s Vision Statement 2011-2013, 60,000–70,000 law graduates join the profession annually. With surging international trade and integration of economies, Indian legal profession needs to keep abreast of international practices.
Usual job roles
A law graduate can practice in a legal firm with job profiles like litigation; drafting etc. And there are ample opportunities, both in private and public sectors. A practicing lawyer can go for cases related to family disputes, criminal cases or work as a tax consultant. Nowadays with a rise in children and women abuse, one can go for career options in criminal and family law.
Aditi Saxena, a first year student of Amity Law School is clear about her specialization. “I want to pursue law in criminology because the skills would prepare me as a leader, hone my thinking, where I can analyze a situation in different ways. I will be able to save many lives, stand for justice and bring in law for the security of people.” The career prospects are many. One can take up jobs in law enforcement departments, work as bloodstain pattern analyst, forensic science technician etc.
Prof. Purvi Pokhariyal, Director and Dean, Institute of Law, Nirma University, says, “The emerging domains in legal education includes interplay between Law, Science and Technology, the emerging areas of intellectual property management and new areas of international law due to impact of globalization.” Terms like mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, international trade etc., gained popularity after globalization, which were earlier unknown. Different domains have emerged, like corporate sector, increasing the demand for legal professionals. Today legal profession in India is not restricted only to courts; a law graduate can go for diversified career options as
Prof. Purvi Pokhariyal,
Director and Dean,
Institute of Law, Nirma University
Interplay between law science and technolgy
Institute of Law, Nirma University (ILNU) is primarily looking at bringing about a paradigm shift in delivery of legal education, focusing on justice education.
The institute has embraced the model of outcome-based education, clearly defining programme education objectives, programme learning outcomes and mapping all in alignment with the vision and mission of the Institute. The uniqueness of ILNU lies in its enrichment, curriculum, education approach, clinical pedagogy and innovative techniques of assessing students’ learning
The institute has eight research centres to enhance the critical inquiry amongst the students and to inculcate research skills under the guidance of faculty advisory.
Almost all the research centres are publishing journals, primarily as an outcome of various deliberations, talk shows and panel discussions carried out by each centre. As a prospective plan of these centres, the institute aspires to evolve as a policy-making institution assisting various government agencies to arrive at the right kind of policy and evaluating the impact of existing policy.
As told to Abhay Ananad
Intellectual Property Law
Information and knowledge have become such valuable commodities that it is very important for organizations to protect their intellectual capital. Information is travelling at a fast rate along with technological developments and people’s mobility. With the growing transactions and international trades between the countries importance of WTO has also grown multifold. The WTO agreement contains an agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which came into effect on 1st of January 1995. In this scenario the demand for IPR professionals and IPR as a career is seeing a surge in demand.
Mansi Sood, a final year student of NLSIU Bangalore says, IPR is more than an emerging area. “As we are progressing as a country, IPR is becoming much more prominent as a field. There are lots of opportunities that are coming up for young lawyers. The recent exchange with the US is evidence of that,” she said.
Partner, Dua Associates, Advocates & Solicitors, Singapore
Focus on international litigation pertaining to industry
Today the legal profession has evolved tremendously. Globally the field of law has developed from ancient customary and religion-based practices to the modern seeds of diversity with more specific areas of expertise.
The legal practice presently is categorized under two heads, corporate and litigation. The only difference in the two fields is non-contentious and contentious practice. Whatever may be in the times to come, litigation will always remain an indispensable practice in any legal system. Internet has transcended geographical boundaries and trade happens with a click of a mouse and global master contracts are being executed, opportunities are growing in each fraction of businesses.
Arbitration is growing immensely today. It is not a territorial practice and gives freedom to practice in any territory without the requirement of being qualified as lawyer from that territory. International legal practice is becoming a growing phenomenon. The concept of foreign law firms is an example of global international practice, however allowing foreign law firms to establish and practice in India is still under discussion.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, designed in the interest of Indian consumers’ rights, brought in a legal revolution and gave a legal platform for consumers to access justice. According to Ankur Singla, CEO, Akosha, an online consumer forum, a degree or certificate in Consumer Law will most definitely propel a student to the forefront in this niche field of law. “Customer-centric manufacturing firms and many other organizations prefer certificate holders to advise them on legal and compliance matters in Consumer Law. Another option is to join one of the many consumer advocacy groups as their specialized legal consultants. Academically inclined students may also pursue higher education in this area of law or work on research projects for non-governmental institutions,” he said.
Finally, a young lawyer may also start a career in litigation and primarily handle consumer complaints. Cases would normally require the lawyer to represent individuals on matters pertaining to debt collection, credit reports, etc. Representative suits are also a possibility, especially on issues relating to fake e-commerce websites and insurance frauds. The focus would be to ensure that consumers are protected from companies indulging in unfair trade practices. A career in consumer law is demanding, requiring not only hard work and dedication but also patience and a logical mind. “What makes this filed stimulating is the variety of the cases that come up,” Singla added.
Customer-centric manufacturing firms and several other organizations prefer certificate holders to advise them on legal and compliance matters in Consumer Law
From ‘Papyrus paper’ to ‘Electronic paper’ the way of writing and preserving information has completely changed in today’s technological era. ‘Theft of data’ which is a very common problem for organizations has resulted in big losses and organizations are spending a lot of money for protecting it. With the proliferation of online transactions, data demands high-end security but still breach of security system is a common problem that organizations face. Social media, which has given new landscape to the people, has become one of the main platforms for committing crime. Inadequate understanding is also leading to the increase in cyber crimes. All these resulted in the Information Technology Act, 2000, the primary source of cyber law in India which came into force on October 17, 2000. The demand for cyber professionals is on the increase due to advent of widespread cyber crimes after the introduction of ATMs, transfer of funds through the Internet, cyber stalking, and other Internet-related offences.
Advocate, Supreme Court of India,
Cyberlaw A newly emerging career
Students of today are very technology savvy. Nowadays students are using mobiles, communication devices and smart phones not just for communicating but also for academic activities and research. So it is relevant to understand that every activity in the electronic and digital ecosystem has got legal ramifications. These ramifications can expose users to legal consequences. These and related aspects are all part of newly emerging legal discipline known as cyberlaw.
Cyberlaw as a legal specialization developed over the last few years. This is extremely relevant as technology is going to grow continuously with the passage of time. As more and more people use technology, legal issues connected with technology are bound to be there and cyberlaw addresses those issues. As technology makes life more productive, there would be increasing need for addressing the legal ramifications. In time to come, cyberlaw will become a necessity for all stakeholders, whether they are lawyers or not.
Cyberlaw as a career option will continue to be constantly in demand; however, it will need constant updating on your part.
There is a shift in the mechanism of settling disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADRs) rather than the previously prevalent mode of litigation and Indian judiciary system is trying to move towards ‘arbitration friendly jurisdiction’. Arbitration is the most economical way of settling disputes and this has a very ancient legacy. It not only brings organizations to amicable settlement with little chance of prolonged dispute but also saves time and other resources. Many international law firms are establishing their offices in Asia and India also got its first International Arbitration Centre set up in Mumbai. With the arrival of International Commercial arbitration, the traditional job profiles are now undergoing change. So the career opportunities for law professionals in this domain are also increasing by the day.
As a legal advisor lawyers can advise and counsel individuals on family issues to corporate firms related to compliance etc. Many multinational companies have in-house legal departments to follow compliance, legal counsel etc. In last few years the number of law firms in India providing legal services in corporate sector has increased several times. As per media reports, general counsel will be one of the hottest jobs in 2015 in industries like pharmaceutical, digital, e-commerce and automobile.
Rohit Tiwari, Manager Transfer Pricing, Price Waterhouse& Co, LLP
Transfer pricing domain has huge employment potential
Transfer pricing has tremendous scope for employment. To give you an example, the Big 4, that is, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG have dedicated transfer pricing departments, employing a number of accountants, lawyers and economists. One gets the opportunity to work with senior professionals and to develop technical Transfer Pricing knowledge alongside other specialists.
This domain would particularly interest individuals with a strong attention to detail and who are keen to develop an in depth technical knowledge of this specialist area. Tax planning and optimization advice to establish and implement the appropriate methodology for int’l and domestic transactions necessitate interaction with specialists, which includes among others corporate tax compliance/planning, VAT, Customs & Excise and international tax.
It would be useful for students to actively seek internship opportunities to get an inside understanding of how transfer pricing forms an integral part of an international transaction and the various laws that come into play.
As told to Aeshwarya Tiwari
Corporate and financial law
Dr. Sapna S, Principal, Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies, says, “Legal educators and practitioners will have to work in the context of rapidly changing environment of political economy, trade, and investment.” Mergers and acquisitions, project financing, joint ventures are all terms that we now hear regularly. So students with a specialization in “Corporate & Finance Law” always have an edge. Professions like CA and CS also demand legal knowledge and many professionals go for legal education even after many years of experience. According to Companies Act 2013 ‘corporate law’ is now termed as “corporate governance law” and technology-related issues also have been introduced in the law. It has become mandatory for organizations to maintain documentation in electronic form. And nowadays transactions and business dealings are getting done online, increasing the responsibility of corporate lawyers.
Dean, Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Courses must be a mix of academic and professional training. Based on one’s vision and commitment, one can make legal education respond to employment opportunities in the country
Transfer pricing refers to the pricing of cross-border transactions between two related entities. More than one-third of sale and purchase of transactions occurs between firms that are related to one another, for example, between two subsidiaries of a multinational enterprise. Simply put transfer pricing is setting the price for goods and/or services sold between related entities operating across international jurisdictions. This is a complex area that demands knowledge of tax, commercial law, economics, accounting and business practice. “These inter-company transactions are becoming increasingly frequent which consequently gives law graduates an opportunity to experience and understand the relevant industry, conduct a financial analysis of such companies in addition to practicing Tax Law,” says Rohit Tiwari, Manager Transfer Pricing, Price Waterhouse & Co, LLP.
Demand for specialists
Globalization being a key driver of growth necessitates undertaking several international transactions on a daily basis. “The foreseeable growth of the sector is unparalleled as multi-nationals engage in international transactions as a matter of routine and each transaction attracts transfer pricing regulations,” says Tiwari. Disputes about determining the appropriate method for valuing intra-firm transactions and/or the right transfer price have created enormous jobs. Transfer pricing thus requires a specific skill set wherein a good understanding of the relevant provisions is a prerequisite.
As transfer pricing remains a specialist area. However, the number of Indian law professionals specializing in transfer pricing in India remains limited, which increases the demand and growth potential of those who have chosen this field as their career path.
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