Law as a Career
Why study law?
If you have gone through any of John Grisham’s novels, you probably know the fun and the excitement of being a Lawyer; a profession that brings a lot of money, power and intelligence with it. These surely are things that eventually carve a successful path for an individual. In media, the usual focus in high-profile cases was on the US or developed Western countries: economies and legal systems that are highly evolved and functional, making lawyers as very important individuals within the social, political and the economic framework.
However, a lot has changed lately. Call it the globalization effect or the flattening of the world, the Western phenomenon has just not remained to the West. It has seen an upsurge in countries wherever there has been an economic evolution. India is one of them.
With multi-billion dollar investments in the growing economies, the business activities have grown manifold. The obvious implication is that a lot of new regulations to keep track of this growth have evolved in these economies; the need of which was not felt earlier. Likewise it has created more opportunities for lawyers in general. Economic exchange and GDP growth impact the entire pyramid from the government to the corporations to the individuals. Every stakeholder becomes more demanding and accountable; making the legal framework and hence, the lawyers, more important than ever.
A strong market demand leads to a shortage of quality legal professionals and then into efforts that slowly meet this demand. India is a good case in point. Legal education in India has been governed by the Bar Council of India. In the pre-liberalization era, the law schools were unorganized and there was no systematic check on the quality of legal education that was imparted.
In the year 1987 the first National Law School of India University (NLSIU) at Bangalore was set up. It was the first law school that adopted the innovative 5 year integrated law course which was highly focused and industry driven. It also started the trend of an entrance exam as a measurable criterion to give the most meritorious the opportunity to study law. As a consequence, only the best could make it to this new format law school and by the end of the course, students had multiple offers and fat salaries.
Given the success of this format, many similar law schools were set up to cater to the need and this gave a face lift to the legal education in the country. Law as a career option compares well with other lucrative career options like Management, Medicine and Engineering and even surpasses them; depending upon an individual’s capabilities.
A law degree is considered as a smart career move as it commands status, prestige, employment and promotion prospects and has a good or even large income attached to it.
Depending upon the law schools, the domestic starting salaries for fresh graduates in law firms, which are the favorite recruiters in law schools, find a range between INR 30,000 to INR 100,000 per month. It compares favorably with the best of the domestic business schools.
The legal profession is finally evolving to the next level propelled by growth in business and economy in general. It is as rewarding and lucrative as any other contemporary career option is and often gives even more headroom for growth; thus should be given a serious thought.