Ambrose Bierce in his Devil’s Dictionary describes a lawyer as someone who is skilled in the “circumvention of law”.
The notion of a lawyer who is adept at finding loopholes in the system is popular one in the country but no one can deny that to up the law, one must know the law.
From writers, to politicians to freedom fighters, lawyers have donned many hats. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Arun Jaitley, Franz Kafka, Abraham Lincon and Barak Obama – all of these were lawyers.
However even with so many illustrious predecessors, many students are seemingly confused by the basic question – ” What are my career option after my Law Degree, and how should i decide”?
The ambition to enter the legal profession is usually drawn from inspiration. Most law aspirants tend to find their stimulus coming either from personal heroes (usually family members), fictional ones (Perry Mason, Alan Shore, Harvey Spectre) or because they feel really drawn by the idea that one person can truly make a difference.
Law, for a layman, means a system of rules and guidelines, legally enforceable. But as a profession, it means lots more and encompasses various fields such as litigation, media, IP, academics, etc. The role of a lawyer in today’s era has completely evolved and moved many moons away from black robes and white collars to swanky corporate offices and jobs in movies and the media. Lawyers are the most sought after people by corporations and individuals, leaving a dearth of lawyers when looked up against the demand.
As law incorporates diverse fields, it opens various options for law graduates. The demand for savvy law school graduates, with the requisite skills to handle key positions at leading organizations across diverse sectors, has surged dramatically.
With a growing economy and an increasing number of foreign firms targeting the Indian market, the requirements of legal expertise will only increase, making law a very lucrative career.
The traditional career path is to “practice law” in the courts. But it is essential for any fresh graduate to learn the ropes under a Senior Counsel. The graduates are now supposed to qualify a Bar Exam before they join the Courts of Law. Litigation provides a wide range of employment options in both private and public spheres. You may specialize in a particular field of law such as Taxation, Constitution, Family, etc. You can choose to focus on appellate work, trial-level practice, civil litigation or criminal cases.
You may work with a company/corporate entity as an in-house legal counsel, advising on legal matters related to its business. An in-house counsel plays an important role in drafting, vetting and negotiating contracts; ensuring and monitoring compliance with rules and laws; and handling legal disputes.
Private Sphere: One may join Multi National Corporations, Private companies, Private Banks, etc.
Public Sphere: Counsels are also required in Government Agencies, Public Sector Undertakings, Public and Nationalized banks, etc. These government organizations usually recruit lawyers through a written competitive exam followed by an interview.
These are business entities engaged in the practice of law. A noticeable trend that has emerged in the last few years is to shift from solo practice to well organized law firms, which comprise several lawyers working together as one entity. As part of a law firm, one advises clients about their legal rights and recourses as well as other legal matters
A sizeable number of law school graduates join Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work for social causes. If you are passionate about socio-legal issues, then this is the right avenue for you. One may work with NGOs and Civil Society Organizations on issues based on environmental protection, gender concerns, caste discrimination, employment, working conditions, marginalization of various sections of the society, etc.
Law school graduates are also offered opportunities to work with international organizations such as the United Nations and with international tribunals like International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, etc.
Judicial Services/Civil Services
The State Judicial Services Examination organized by the High Courts for their respective states, is a safe and sound option for those of you, who wish to pursue a stable government career. One may also opt for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, which is the most prestigious examination in the country.
Legal Process Outsourcing
Legal Processing outsourcing (LPO) is the delegation of core legal functions like making first drafts of cases, compliance work, legal research, etc. to an external counsel. The assigned task is completed on the basis of set parameters and fixed timelines. You can become an important part of reputed MNCs by forging a career in LPO.
A career that not only allows you to pursue your intellectual interests and work on research projects, but also offers a wide degree of flexibility and autonomy and pays you to read, talk and think?
A judicial clerkship is an extremely valuable experience for students interested in either litigation or transactional work; it provides invaluable insights into the workings of the legal system. Law clerks act as legal assistants whose duties vary from court to court and judge to judge.
Media and LAW
As professionals, both journalism and law are intertwined as they require superior research and writing skills as well as a critical knowledge of the government and the legal system. Legal journalism covers legal proceedings in courts, arbitration events, criminal matters, etc., which are disseminated to the public.
Legal Publishing: Lawyers get an opportunity to work as editors for various types of print and electronic media. It is a good option for those with a knack for writing.
Law Reporting: One can take up a career as a law reporter with TV channels and newspapers. Ranging from high profile cases to concerns related to social issues and human rights, a new path for lawyers has opened up in this field.