by Sara Jain
Law is emerging as the most rewarding career option in terms of both development opportunities and monetary compensation. This is the precise reasoning behind such a steep increase of law graduates in the country over the past decade. Before posing the question of “how” to become a lawyer, it is imperative to understand “why” to become a lawyer. Unless, one is prepared to completely devote oneself to this prestigious profession, it is impossible to embark the path of becoming a successful lawyer. The career demands continuous and rigorous research work and time commitment apart from being an intellectual challenge altogether. When such tasks appeal to someone, he can proceed form the ‘why’ to the ‘how’ of law profession.
In India, in order to become a lawyer, a Bachelor’s degree in law (LL.B.) duly recognized by the Bar Council of India needs to be obtained. Either one can enroll in the five-year integrated law course after the 12th grade or in the three-year course following a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. An online examination, CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is conducted for admission in colleges offering the five-year integrated B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) degree. The aspirants for CLAT are tested on their legal aptitude, vocabulary and grammar, mathematical skills, general awareness and logical and critical reasoning. However, these educational qualifications are mere pre-requisites for being a lawyer, they don’t guarantee success in the profession. To become a competent lawyer, hard work, discipline, alertness of mind and self-confidence besides interest in the field is extremely vital. Also, in this career-building process, the role of internships can’t be undermined. Every law graduate has to complete a mandatory internship as per the rules of their Institution. In most NLUs, students have to intern in almost every semester in diverse workplaces such as NGOs, corporates, advocate’s office etc. to get an insight into their work and mannerisms. A lawyer’s workplace can’t be confined within four walls, the entire universe constitutes it which further enhances the significance of such field work through internships.
As a final step in entering the domain of practicing lawyers, one has to enroll as an advocate in any of the State Bar Council regulated by the Advocates Act, 1961. Once enrolled, they are legally sanctioned to practice in any part of the country. In 2010, the BCI (Bar Council of India) announced the All India Bar Examination, in order to assess an advocate’s ability to practice the legal profession in India. The said examination will test skills of a law graduate at a basic level such as the aspirant’s analytical capabilities and basic knowledge of law. The prime motive behind conducting this examination is to regulate the legal profession by setting a minimum standard for admission to the practice of law.
A budding lawyer, eager to acquire more knowledge and improvise his legal skills, does not stop here; he begins his journey. In order to receive in-depth knowledge and specialize in a specific field of their interest, law graduates can opt for LL.M. or Ph.D. either in India or abroad. For pursuing the post-graduation LL.M. course in India, again CLAT has to be taken for entering the prestigious NLUs.
In reality, the legal profession demands learning and development at every stage. It is largely a skill-based profession which can’t be built through cramming books. But it is through educational training that all these skills are imbibed and mastered. The Law School Admission Council has listed six vital skills a lawyer must possess- negotiating, counseling, communicating, advocating, synthesizing and analyzing.  With practice and training lawyers continue improvisation of these skills throughout their career and enhance their career prospects. The legal profession also demands a thorough knowledge of the usage of Microsoft Office tools such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint etc. and even specialized software. For instance, LexisNexis HotDocs gives assistance in Document Management and LexisNexis CaseMap can be utilized for Database Management.
The career options for a lawyer are immense, ranging from independent practice to working for the Government. Attractive job offers are received by skilled and competent law graduates from the prestigious law firms such as Amarchand Mangaldas, Luthra & Luthra etc. More than anything else, it provides with a platform to work for the needy and contribute to the development of the country and prove your worth as a responsible citizen.