Legal studies are suitable for the candidates who are passionate about understanding the legal system of country. During last couple of decades there has been a rise in demand of law graduates in every field. Graduates from top Law Schools can expect a salary package that ranges from Rs. 3 to 15 lakhs per annum at the law firms or legal departments of organizations and at some government departments too.
Law Studies in India
There are total 900 law schools in India including private and government colleges. The most prominent ones are the National Law Schools/Universities. The first National Law School was started in Bangalore in 1988 and today, we have 17 “National Law Schools” across the country.
Admissions to these schools are done through a Common Law Admission Test, CLAT, started in 2008. Every year a National Law School conducts this exam for admissions to 2240 undergraduate and 632 postgraduate seats at these law schools.Last year as many as 39686 candidates had registered for CLAT. However, National Law School in Delhi conducts its own admission test.
Now, let’s get a detailed view of what are the courses are available for law stream, what are the career options and where to study the legal studies in India?
Law Courses in India
Following are the type of courses available for legal studies in India, at UG and PG and doctoral level:
- Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.) – LL.B. which has duration of three years is the most common law degree offered by Indian universities. Eligibility to take admission in this course in graduation in any stream.
- Integrated undergraduate degrees – B.A. LL.B., B.Sc. LL.B., BBA. LLB. And B.Com. LL.B., are the mostly offered UG degrees in the autonomous law schools and National Law Schools having duration of five years.
- Master of Laws (LL.M.) – LL.M. is most common postgraduate law degree which has duration of one or two years depending on the university offering the course.
- Integrated MBL-LLM/ MBA-LLM. -This is generally a three years integrated course with specialization in business law.
- M.Phil./Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Law – Offered by a very few of Universities, this is the research level course in law.
There are several specializations are available in law. Today, law graduates are looking at the emerging fields of law such as Environment Law, Intellectual Property Rights, Arbitration, Taxation and Corporate Law, Banking and Finance, International Trade Law etc. and are no longer restricting themselves to traditional areas of civil or criminal law.
Where to Study Law?
Among all the colleges offering law education, three types are available. The first ones are Government Law Colleges, the entry into which is based on the qualifying examination marks. These colleges offer both a three-year and a five-year program. The three-year course is for graduates from any discipline and the five-year course is pursued by students after completing 10 + 2 examination. The second option is to study law in private law colleges. The selection is again based on the qualifying exam marks.
However some private colleges conduct their own entrance tests and a few colleges use CLAT/LSAT scores to give admissions. The third category consists of the National Law Schools. These are 17 premier law schools in India that offer UG and PG level courses. Admission to all the courses is done on the basis of CLAT score.
Some of the best law schools among all these categories are-
- NLSIU, Bangalore
- Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
- National Law University, Jodhpur
- Faculty of Law, University of Delhi
- Government Law College, Mumbai
- Symbiosis Law School, Pune etc.
Career Options after Legal Studies
With the entry of a number of law firms, the recruitment of law graduates has reached a new height. Most of these firms pay handsome salary packages to the young law recruit, and this is indeed drawing a lot of law graduates to the law firms. Apart from law firms, legal departments of various companies, some public sector units also have the plenty of opportunities for law graduates.
1. Private Sector – The most popular options after graduating in Law remain law firms or corporate legal departments. Depending upon the law firms, organizations and the academic background of the candidate, law graduates annual salaries ranging from Rs. 8 lakh to Rs.12 lakh. Among Law firms, Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB, Luthra&Luthra and Khaitan& Co remain highly rated.
While the corporate legal departments offer opportunities at organizations such as HUL, ICICI, ITC, Ernst & Young and PWC, TATA, Reliance, Infosys, Wipro, TCS, ICICI Bank, etc. On the other hand, law graduates, who are keen on embarking on practice in law, prefer to work under a Senior Advocate. Most of the law offices of established lawyers pay these freshers anywhere around Rs.3 lakh to Rs.5 lakh.
2. Public Sector – Immense opportunities await law graduates in areas such as Legal Journalism and with NGOs, international organizations, centers for policy-making and legal research and government departments. Banks and PSUs also look for law graduates to join their legal department. In addition to this, Indian Oil Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and NCIL would be utilizing CLAT scores as one of the selection criteria for recruitment of legal professionals to IOC.
Options for Higher Studies and Research
After post graduation, there is also option for higher studies and research. There are very few universities in India that offer MPhil and Ph.D. degrees in Law. NALSAR Hyderabad has a one-year M.Phil. program with focus on teaching and research. Ph.D. in Law is offered by many universities such as Delhi University, Madras University, Calcutta University, Mumbai University, Nagpur University, National Law School Bangalore, NALSAR Hyderabad, NUJS Kolkata and NLU Jodhpur. The minimum qualification for Ph.D. is LLM with 55% marks.
CLAT, Gateway to the best Law Schools in India!
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the national level law entrance exam conducted every year for short listing candidates for admissions to UG and PG level courses at 17 participating NLUs. For undergraduate courses candidates having passed 10+2 or its equivalent examination with 45% marks in aggregate (40% in case of SC/ST/PWD) and for post graduate courses candidates with LL.B.
Degree or an equivalent degree from a recognized University with 55% marks in aggregate (50% for SC/ST/PWD) are eligible to take CLAT. CLAT applications are online and application fee for General / OBC and PWD category candidates is 4000 rupees and for SC/ST category candidates it is 3500 rupees.
CLAT for UG level courses will have 200 questions of 200 marks to be solved in two hours from five different subjects including English, General Knowledge, Mathematics, Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning. For post graduate courses, 150 questions of one mark each to be solved in two hours. Questions will be from Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence and Other Subjects such as Contract, Torts, Criminal Law, and International Law etc.
Negative marking is of 0.25 marks for wrong answers. CLAT result is published on the CLAT Website with an overall merit list prepared according to CLAT score along with their categories. Admissions shall be done through centralized counseling conducted by CLAT conducting university. 🙂