Becoming a Lawyer is a dream that many Indian students nourish. Do you want to become a lawyer? If yes, this article will be of help to you. This article has been created keeping the needs of Indian law aspirants in mind. Graduates, 10th and 12th standard passed students may make use of this step-by-step guide.
Who is a lawyer? What are his/her tasks? What is it like to be a lawyer in India, what is the nature of work like? You will find answers to these questions in the next section-
A lawyer is a person who practices law. A lawyer is a professional who has knowledge of the law and legal procedures. Job profiles available in front of a lawyer include barrister, attorney, solicitor or chartered legal executive.
Depending upon the job profile, a lawyer may represent his/her clients at court, provide legal assistance and legal consultancy service, join Judicial Services, indulge in legal research or work on legal drafts and documents.
Before heading to the step-by-step guide, let us check out some vital details about the status of law education in India. We will check out law course formats available in India and the minimum eligibility criteria required to pursue those courses.
Law Education in India: An Introduction
Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) from an institute recognized by the Bar Council of India is the minimum qualification required to become (or practice as a ) Lawyer in India. LL.B. course can be pursued in two different ways-
- Integrated Law course (5 years long course, can be pursued right after 12th standard)
- Bachelor of Law- LL.B. (3 years long, can be pursued after completing graduation)
Integrated law course can be pursued right after completing 12th standard from a recognized board (any stream- Science, Commerce or Arts). It is a dual degree program. Course duration is 5 years. Course covers two degrees. Examples include- B.A. + LL.B., B.Com + LL.B., B.Sc. + LL.B. etc.
Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) is the traditional law course. It can be pursued only after completing graduation (3 or 4 years long course) from a recognized University/Institute. Course duration is 3 years.
After completing any one of the above mentioned law course, graduates may enroll with relevant Bar Council and start law practice in India. Further studies are also something that graduates may go for. LL.M., MBL (Master of Business Laws), PG Diploma courses and MBA are some of the well known Master’s courses that law graduates usually go for!
Come, let us check out the steps involved in becoming a lawyer in India. All the procedures have been listed below-
Steps involved in becoming a lawyer in India-
1 Choose a suitable law course that you want to study
As mentioned before, LL.B. (from an Institute recognized by the Bar Council of India) is the minimum qualification required to become a Lawyer in India. There are two ways available to pursue this course- Integrated law course and Bachelor of Law (LL.B.). Let us check out eligibility criteria associated with both course formats-
Eligibility criteria (Integrated Law course)- 10+2 passed from a recognized board (any stream) with minimum 50% (or around) aggregate marks. Candidate should not be more than 20 years of age.
Eligibility criteria (LL.B.)- Completed graduation (3 or 4 years long Bachelor’s Degree course) from a recognized University with minimum 50% aggregate marks (or equivalent grade). No age limit in case of this course.
The first step will be to choose a path that suits you. If you are willing to study law right after 12th, go for integrated law course. Otherwise select the traditional LL.B. course (after graduation).
2 Appear for (and crack) relevant entrance test
To secure admission in a reputed law institute, one must score valid marks in relevant entrance tests. Entrance tests have to be cracked in both cases- integrated law course and LL.B.- to secure admission.
CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is a well known law entrance test. Other than CLAT, there also exist state-wise and institute-wise law entrance tests. AILET, LSAT, AMU Law Entrance test, DU Law Entrance test etc are some of the well known entrance tests.
A law aspirant has choose relevant entrance test(s), appear and score valid marks in it/them.
3 Secure admission and complete course
Cracking relevant entrance test will help you secure admission in a good law college/institute (recognized by the Bar Council of India). Depending upon the program that you chose (integrated course or LL.B.), you’ll have to spend 5 or 3 years at the institute and successfully complete the course.
After completing the course, graduates may work towards starting practice or may go for further studies. LL.B. is the minimum qualification required to practice as a law professional in India. So, let us check out how to become a lawyer after graduation. Further studies and its prospects have been discussed towards the end of this article.
4 Apply & get enrolled with relevant State Bar Council
After obtaining Law Degree from a BCI recognized Institute/University, if you want to start law practice, it is necessary to register with your State Bar Council.
After applying and enrolling with the SBC, one will get provisional license to practice law. This provisional license will be valid for a period of 6 months.
5 Apply and appear for AIBE Exam
After enrolling with the State Bar Council, one may fill application form for AIBE exam. AIBE stands for All India Bar Examination. This exam is used to gauge the aptitude of graduates. The AIBE application has to be sent to Bar Council of India, Delhi.
After successfully applying, one has to appear for and pass the AIBE exam. On clearing the exam, BCI will pass on the result to your State Bar Council. The State Bar Council will convert the provisional license into a final license.
That’s it, now you are eligible to practice law in any part or court of India! The license has to be renewed every 5 years.
LL.B. is the minimum qualification required to become a lawyer in India. But it doesn’t mean that it is the only qualification present in India! There are higher law degrees available in India. LL.B. graduates have a handful of PG law courses to choose from. Popular ones include- LL.M. (Master of Law), MBL (Master of Business Laws) and PG Diploma courses. PG law courses can be used to specialize in disciplines such as-
- Criminal Law
- Civil Law
- Corporate Law
- IP Law
- Business Law
- Taxation Law
- Labour Law
Note: Not all specializations have been mentioned above.
Other than law PG courses, LL.B. graduates may also go for non relevant PG courses like- MBA, CA (Chartered Accountancy), CS (Company Secretary) etc.
Career prospects and job opportunities
After LL.B., graduates may start working for law firms or consultancies. The best way to get started is by working under established lawyers. Becoming a part of their team will help one earn valuable work experience.
Apart from working for others, law graduates may start own practice. If one has access to decent financial resources, it is possible to start own consultancy service or law firm.
Law graduates are also eligible to work for the Government (at State and Central levels). For this, they must appear for (and clear) relevant entrance tests.
Corporate houses, NGOs and MNCs are also known to have legal department. Big players usually hire a team of lawyers and law professionals. Law graduates may find a job in such setups too!
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