WHAT is common to Mahatma Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malviya, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Sardar Patel? Besides being in the forefront of India’s freedom struggle, a common thread binds them. They were all lawyers by profession. Even six decades after Independence, Law continues to be an attractive profession.
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How to enter the profession
You can become a professional after getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, commonly known as LLB. You have three types of institutions to choose from.
Public university departments/colleges
National Law Schools
The course can be a 3-year LLB or a 5-year integrated Degree. Both these are Bachelor’s degrees. But a 3-year degree is only for those who already have an undergraduate degree. If you are in 10+2, you can apply for a 5-year integrated degree. In the 5-year pattern, after completing some specified courses, you will be awarded a BA or BSc Degree at the end of 3 years. You will get an LLB Degree only after completing all the five years of the course.
Law Schools in India
There are at least 900 Law colleges across the country. The establishment of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Bangalore made a huge qualitative impact on legal studies in the country. Now there are 15 such Law Schools in India.
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the gateway to National Law Schools. Many other law colleges give admission through Law School Admission Test – India (LSAT-India). There are also institute-specific entrance tests like the All India Law Entrance Test (AILET) for admission to NLU, Delhi and Symbiosis Entrance Test (SET), besides state-level entrances.
The National Law Schools generally follow a semester system except NLSIU, Bangalore that has adopted a unique trimester system. Under the semester system a student undergoes 10 semesters of study. Internships and moot trials go a long way in helping you blend theoretical knowledge with practical challenges.
Law as a profession
Lawyers in India must clear the all-India Bar Examination to practice in courts. Earlier, the profession of was limited to criminal and civil litigation in the courts. Now, the opportunities available for graduates from any of the top Law Schools are phenomenal. After the liberalization of India’s economy there is a huge demand for highly skilled lawyers in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, infrastructure contracts, private equity deals, WTO law, Intellectual Property Rights etc.
The plethora of opportunities available to a lawyer in India is amazing. It is high time that more and more students seriously start thinking of Law as an attractive and satisfying career option. Even abroad, Indian lawyers are making their mark in government and corporate domains. So, wake up to the realities and prepare well to get a head start in this challenging profession.
“Balance Boards as well as CLAT without neglecting either”
With just three months left for CLAT 2014, Prof Hema Raman, Director, Sri Ram Law Academy, Chennai shares with Careers360 some tips that law aspirants should follow for the all-India entrance examination to be conducted on May 11, 2014 for admission to 5-year integrated LLB programme.
Q. What should be the preparation strategy and focus area of the aspirants now?
A. Most students at this point in time will be juggling their preparation for Board Exam as well as CLAT. They should balance the two, without neglecting either. The focus should be on studying all components of CLAT right now, as they will have only one month’s time after the Boards.
Q. What are the important topics that a student should focus on in each subject area?
A. For English, one should focus on grammar and vocabulary. For Math, all elementary chapters such as Time and Distance, Time & Work, Profit & Loss etc., are important. For GK, both current affairs as well as static GK deserve attention. For Logical Reasoning, one should focus on critical reasoning and for Legal, focus should be on legal reasoning problems.
Q. 0.25 negative marking was introduced last year. What has been the effect of this?
A. It has not had any adverse effect. On the contrary, luck factor has been eliminated and only the truly deserving ones make it to the Law Schools.
Q. Is any change expected in the exam pattern of CLAT UG 2014?
A. No new change has been so far announced by the CLAT authorities.
Q. Which books would you recommend for the preparation of CLAT UG 2014?
A. The market is full of new books and students have to carefully choose from them. First and foremost, getting hold of the past year’s question papers is a must for students to get a hang of the type of questions asked in CLAT. This will make the picture clear for you.
Q. What has been the difficulty level of CLAT in the past few years? What is in store for CLAT 2014?
A. The difficulty level of CLAT has always ranged from simple to moderate and CLAT 2014 paper is going to be no different.
Q. How should students to prepare for subjects like Legal Aptitude?
A. Legal Reasoning section of CLAT calls for no specific preparation, as students have to merely apply the given principle to the factual situation and choose the most appropriate option. It tests their ability to apply a given principle to a situation rather than a test of knowledge of the subject.
Q. Which topics would you advise non-math students to prepare for?
A. The level of Math questions in CLAT is confined to elementary Math which every student studies from classes VII up to class X. So non-math students are not at any disadvantage. Sheer practice coupled with knowledge of short-cuts will help them to crack this section.
Q. What are the other important law exams that you would advise 10+2 students to take up?
A. National Law University, Delhi’s AILET exam, Symbiosis Law School’s entrance ‘SET’ and LSAT are other popular entrance tests for students seeking to pursue UG in Law.
Q. What are the career prospects for those who study Law after 12th?
A. Apart from thriving legal practice in areas such as Taxation, Arbitration, Corporate Law etc., Law graduates are in demand at top legal firms, LPO’s, Banking and PSUs. Media Houses and NGOs. Government Departments and Judicial Services are the other avenues open to Law graduates.
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