The path to a career in law – Deccan Herald

Immediately after Class 12 exams, a student is sometimes faced with the question, ‘What next?’ For a student determined to make a career in law, it may be prudent to seriously consider the question. An individual must start preparing a year in advance if they wish to study in the most reputed law schools in India.
A career in law is intellectually challenging and rewarding, while offering a plethora of opportunities apart from litigation in the modern age. To begin with, one needs to fulfil certain requirements, the most basic being an LLB degree. In India, law degrees are offered in regular mode since the Bar Council of India does not recognise the distance mode of education.
The five-year integrated course can be taken up soon after one’s Class 12 with the advantage being, completing one’s law degree in just 5 years. Many Law schools admit students without any entrance test and simply based on 10+2 scores. Other reputed colleges admit students based on entrance exams such as the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) conducted by the National Law Universities or may conduct their own entrance test as in the case of NLU-Delhi. 
A three-year LLB degree can be pursued by one only after completing a basic bachelor’s degree. The disadvantage of pursuing a three-year LLB degree is that, it takes a minimum six years to earn a law degree. On the other hand, it offers the benefit of exploring opportunities after graduation, before taking up a degree in law. Another advantage of this option is the possibility of pursuing a technical course such as BE or BTech before taking up LLB.
Pursuing a law degree after a technical course can offer niche opportunities in the field of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which is yet to realise its full potential in India. Only a person with a degree in science or technology is eligible to become a patent agent and only a person with a law degree is eligible to become a patent attorney. A person with BE LLB or BSc LLB qualifications can become both an agent and attorney, positioning them uniquely. Currently, the LLB degree with focus on IPR is offered by IIT Kharagpur.
For someone looking to practice law abroad, it is advisable to apply for a law degree at the undergraduate level and not at the master’s level as is common in technical fields. Unlike science and technology, laws, rules and regulations are specific to a particular nation. Hence, it makes sense to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in a country where one wishes to practice.
While, many Universities in the UK or Australia accept direct applications along with a TOEFL or IELTS scores, Universities in USA and Canada requires one to take LSAT (Law School Admission Test) along with TOEFL and IELTS scores for an admission into a law course.
To become eligible for a Master’s in law, it is mandatory for one to have an LLB degree except for a few universities outside India which may offer a master’s in law without a bachelor’s in law, this may be restricted to certain specialisations.
In India, anyone with an LLB degree and the requisite scores may directly apply for LLM which is a one-year course (BCI recently mandated a change to two-year course from 2022-2023 onwards) whereas the National Law Universities require CLAT scores for the PG course. Many public sector enterprises also hire Law graduates based on CLAT (PG level) scores into their legal team.
Students of law interested in Master’s should carefully choose their subject of specialiation based on their interests. While litigation does not warrant a Master’s degree, a profession in corporate law, financial law, IPR and education will benefit from specialised degree.
It is also important to note that a certificate or diploma course in law does not make one eligible to practice. Some courses like the MBL (Master’s in Business Law) may offer some legal acumen on the business but does not make one eligible for legal practice either.
Those interested in law may choose to first pursue LLB which will only add to one’s knowledge.
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