Preparing for Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)? You need to know this

Know more about Common Law Admission Test and career options in law

Law Education. Wikimedia Commons

Know more about Common Law Admission Test and career options in law

Dr. Versha Vahin- a Legal career consultant and Faculty, NLSIU, Bangalore speaks to Vrushali Mahajan of Newsgram

Law has been one of the popular fields in education. Preparing for these exams is a tough job. If you plan to take law as a profession, you must keep these points in mind so that you know more about it from our exclusive interview with Dr. Versha Vahini.

Dr Versha Vahini, career consultant
Dr Versha Vahini, career consultant

Vrushali Mahajan (VM): The demand for the courses and profession of law has surged manifold of late? What do you think is the reason for that?

Dr. Versha Vahini (VV): It is one of highly paid professions in the US and  slowly catching up to its dignified place in India too. There was a time when people did not want to opt for law. It was taken up by those, who did not get admission in engineering or medicine. But today, the scenario is changed. Law courses are more in demand. This may be attributed to the newer avenues thrown opened by more commercialized and globalized world. Earlier the practice of law was confined to court rooms. But now it is spreading out of the court premises. Today everywhere law professionals are needed. Corporate too need lawyers to in their commercial and administrative activities. Organizations need lawyers to oversee their compliance with legal requirements. Even individuals need legal professional be it in family matters or taxation or property matters etc.

VM: Lawyers play an important role in the polity too? what is your opinion?

VV: Absolutely. If you look at the freedom struggle, lawyers not merely led mass freedom movements but also played constructive role in bringing about social and legal changes in the society. Be it Mahatama Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Pt. Nehru or other important leaders, all were lawyers. They all have contributed significantly in the nation building.

Lady justice statue. Image source wikipedia
Lady justice statue. Image source Wikimedia

VM: What are the skills required to become a distinguished lawyer?

VV: To become a notable and distinguished legal professional, it is important to develop certain skills. These skills may not necessarily be innate or natural or god gifted. The skills required can be developed with education, training, practice, hard-work and perseverance.  One needs to develop critical and lateral thinking and eye for analysis. Most significantly, a lawyer must have is ethical quotient in order to earn esteem and reverence.

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High court of Karnataka. Image source: Wikimedia commons
High court of Karnataka. Image source: Wikimedia commons

VM: What about the legal education and law courses?

VV: The basic qualification to become a lawyer is to obtain LLB degree. Currently there are more than 1500 law institutes (which includes private and government colleges, departments in Universities and specialized law universities) offering LLB courses. LLB courses, which a student opts for must be recognized by Bar Council of India.  There are 3 years and 5 years law courses offered by law institutes. Five years course is done after 10+12 and three years course after bachelors in any stream. Currently there are 18 specialized Law Universities, commonly known as National Law Universities, of which 17 conduct common admission test under the aegis of CLAT to give admission in their universities. NLU, Delhi conducts its own admission test (All India Law Entrance Test, AILET).

Image source Wikimedia
Image source:Wikimedia commons

VM: Are Law courses affordable to the general public?

VV: Higher education in general and Law courses in particular have become quite expensive and unaffordable for many.  Most of the National Law Universities are mandatorily residential. So, one has to spend more in these universities in comparison to other law colleges. One can find wide range of colleges offering LLB and LLM (Master of law) courses with their fees between 30K per annum to 150K excluding boarding and lodging. There is hardly any college which offers any grant or financial assistance for law courses. However some government colleges and universities have some financial aid schemes for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). To the extent that education is mostly self-financed, one can say quality legal education is fast becoming non-affordable for the majority.

VM: What are the career options available after Law courses?

VV: There are quite a number of options available for law graduates. Apart from traditional solo court practice (litigation), one can opt to be an in-house counsel in companies and corporations (mostly non-litigating), join law firms (kind of organized form of law practice) in either litigation or consultancy or transaction based law practice. One can also opt for higher studies in order to go for teaching and research. There are in fact many legal education institutes where researchers, apart from teachers, are in demand.

-by Vrushali Mahajan. Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @Vrushali Mahajan 

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