Thinking of an enthralling career? Want to fly high and become a legal eagle educator? Become a law teacher. A feeling of being secured crops up whenever we think of law in terms of legal regulations that bind all individuals. Louis D. Brandeis, the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (in office: 1916-1939), had said, “If we desire respect for the law, we must make the law respectable.” And in order to gain respect, crusaders are required in the form of law educators. Most law graduates tend to take up litigation or go for corporate jobs. However, those who are academically inclined, teaching is a rewarding profession that offers a stable career and good remuneration.
Teaching over practising law
Teaching law is one of the most rewarding careers both in terms of job challenge and monetary benefits. Open to students of all streams, law is appropriate for someone who has an involvement for understanding the legal systems of the country and is looking for challenging and exciting opportunities at the work front.
Scope of teaching law
Dr. Afroz Alam, Associate Professor & Head at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, affirms, “The scope of teaching as a career in the law domain has increased tremendously with the creation of law universities and the phenomenal growth of law colleges (private and public) in India. But, there is a clear dearth of teachers in law schools, colleges and universities. Most law schools and colleges are, more than anything else, looking for potential law graduates to offer them the teaching position.”
Another reason to take up teaching law is its future potential. The most prosperous law practices in 2020 will be those that are able to successfully adjust their business models to use artificial intelligence–type tools while at the same time promote and deliver the part of the legal service value proposition that the machines will not be able to provide. The educators will have to play a pivotal role in order to impart both theoretical and practical aspects of law discourses.
After the completion of 3-year LLB or 5-year integrated LLB, aspirants will need to pursue postgraduate programme in law (LLM). After completing the LLM course, candidates should pursue LL.D degree. Another avenue to become an educator can be to crack the CSIR UGC National Eligibility Test (NET), and PhD after completing LLM.
Community colleges and career training centres may hire a professor with a master’s degree alone, but candidates have to essentially hold LLM, Ph.D or an equivalent degree to become a tenured Lecturer/Professor.
Substantial research-oriented published work in law journals would be added constituents for a prospective law teacher. Dr S.P Singh, Registrar, Chanakya National Law University, Patna says, “One needs to have a sound understanding of the subject, communication skills and passion for teaching. Continuous updating of the subject area and research is required in this profession.”
To become an assistant professor of Law, the academic record of the candidate should be at least 55% marks in LLM degree. The NET clearance is a mandate. However, if an applicant holds a PhD degree, then the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET is exempted.
To get directly appointed for the post of Professor, PhD degree is a mandatory qualification. Experience in the practical law field has an added advantage during the selection procedure.
As per the rules and regulations of the UGC, an assistant professor with Ph.D qualification can earn promotion as Associate Professor after 12 years of service as assistant professor.
Academic regulators such as UGC decide the remuneration as per the pay-band and pay scale. For example, the average salary for an Assistant Professor of Law is Rs 550,000 per year.
On the contrary, private colleges and universities are slightly flexible in terms of offering additional or top-up component of salary to attract and retain best candidates, but that depends on individual cases.
Amit Rana, the co-chairman of BCI, says, “BCI (The Bar Council of India) certification is not required if an individual plans to take up teaching law as his/her profession, but continuous updating of the subject area is a mandate throughout the span of his/her teaching career. The remuneration usually ranges between 12–36 LPA for a tenured Professor.”
Law is an ever-changing domain and requires being on the same page with the societal alterations. Dr. Alam says, “Class lectures should help students develop critical faculties for thinking out-of-the-box. It should focus not only on right value inculcation but also on imparting the appropriate skills (like advocacy, analysis, legislative drafting and judicial reasoning) required to upholding them.”
Most graduates of law tend to avoid a career in litigation practice, the heart and soul of legal enterprise, and instead seek employment in law firms and corporate houses. A law educator would be the apt person to reverse this trend towards ‘soft lawyering’, and encourage students towards not only ‘hard law’ career routes but also take teaching as a career.
Unlike the preceding years, teaching in the domain of law has become more demanding. It is largely because legal education has become multi-dimensional in nature creating the need for an instructor with a multidisciplinary and integrated approach to legal studies. It is now time for schools in India to introduce legal studies in the academic curricula to engage students right from their formative days. The initial step has already been taken up by the CBSE. Hope other Boards follow.
Dr S.P. Singh Registrar,
Chanakya National Law University, Patna
Use of ICT (Information Communication Technology) in legal education raised the level of research and teaching in legal education. Now there are various Online Legal Databases which are very important research tools for both law teachers and other legal professionals
Dr Afroz Alam,
Associate Professor & Head, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad
The scope of teaching as a career in the law domain has increased tremendously with the creation of law universities and the phenomenal growth of law colleges (private and public) in India. But, there is a clear dearth of teachers in law schools, colleges and universities.