Who's a Lawyer?
Do you love participating in debates? Do you often stand up for your friends during an argument? Would you like to help people fight for their rights? If your answer to any of these questions has been a resounding “yes”, consider becoming a lawyer!
As a lawyer, you will be licensed to practice law and act as a legal defence to represent your clients in civil and criminal proceedings. Your main job would include providing legal advice and counsel, writing up or going through legal documents, and gathering evidence and other necessary information for your cases. There are different kinds of specialisations when it comes to practising law, such as criminal, family, taxation, etc.
Are you passionate about Law? Want to pursue it as a future career option? Explore a day in the life of a Lawyer- Mr. Satyan Israni
What will you do?
Understanding laws and regulations.
As a lawyer, you must be aware and well-versed with all the laws and regulations covered by our constitution. You would also have to help your clients understand these laws and any other legal right they hold.
Example: Every shopkeeper/business owner pays tax on the goods/services they provide. It will be your responsibility to advise them on which tax brackets they fall under and what payments they need to make.
Representing clients in court.
You must represent your clients in a court of law by acting as a spokesperson for them in front of the judge to help them get justice in any legal matters. You would either represent an individual or a company.
Example: If you were arguing a divorce case, you would speak on behalf of your client and convey their wishes on the matters of alimony and child custody to the judge.
Preparing legal documents.
You would be responsible for writing up certain important documents such as divorce petitions, legal notices, written statements of clients, wills, lease agreements, etc. These documents have to be carefully prepared since they need to be presented in court.
Example: In case your client is leasing out their house to someone, you would have to create a lease agreement between your client and their tenants.
Analysing court cases.
When working on a case, you would have to do thorough research on past cases that are similar to the one you’re currently working on. These cases can then be used as references for your argument.
Example: In the recent case against section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the lawyers referred to the previous judgement given in the same case in 2013 and accordingly built their defence for the case.
Suggesting a course of action to clients.
Your clients will come to you looking for advice on how to go about certain legal decisions in their lives. You must understand their problem and guide them with what their next steps should be.
Example: If you are handling a case where your client has been discriminated against in terms of pay at work, you would suggest the right laws and fundamental rights they could base their case on.
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Where will you work?
Lawyers usually work at law firms where they assist clients with legal advice and represent them in courts of law. Your work hours depend on the company as well as court timings. You might end up working for more hours if you’re handling complex cases.
Your Own Firm
You can choose to become a consultant and work from home or set up your own office. You would provide legal advice to your clients, visit courts, draft documents, etc. The nature of your work as a legal consultant is not very different from working for a firm.
You could also work with district attorneys as a public defender. Most of your work here would involve court visits. You would represent individuals who cannot afford legal aid.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
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Attention to Detail
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Analytical and Data Skills
You will receive huge amounts of data from your client. This data will have to be analysed effectively so you can find ways that will help your client reach their customers is the best way possible. While it is true that the more data you analyse, the more insights you generate; analytical thinking will help you narrow down your search and find your key actionable items, thus saving you a lot of time and resources.build this skill
How do you make it to the top ranks?
Pursuing your career locally VS abroad
Studying law in India gives you a better insight into the way legal issues are handled in the country and also the Indian legal system. There is a good demand for lawyers in India in many law firms, startups and big companies that require lawyers to handle various legal issues and cases.
You can pursue law in India after Class 12 or graduation and opt to specialise in family law, corporate law, company law and others in the last year of your LLB course. To further enhance your knowledge in the field you can also opt for a master’s degree in the field. An LLM would increase your chances of job prospects and also give you a good understanding of the subject. You can pursue law from colleges such as Christ University, National Law University, Government Law College and others. The average cost for studying law in India is INR 10,000-1,00,000, depending on the university and the course you opt for.
If you plan to establish a career in India and pursue a degree from abroad, then you would be largely unaware of the Indian legal system which would make it difficult for you to flourish here. However, this completely depends on the specialisation you opt for. The Bar Council of India recognises education from many foreign universities, especially those from the UK or US. However, to practice in India, you would be expected to give the Bar Council exam of the state you reside in. Also to get admission into law school abroad, you would have to appear for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and English proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL.
Pursuing law abroad would cost you an average of INR 5,00,000-10,00,000 depending on the university you plan to study in. If you wish to practice law abroad, you would need to have a work permit or citizenship for that particular country and have to appear for their bar council exams. The duration of the law course abroad ranges from one year to four years. You can opt for a master’s in a particular area of specialisation or a diploma course in the same. Top law colleges abroad are: University of Oxford, Columbia University, University of Cambridge and others.
How much would you get paid?
The exact number will depend on where you’re working, your education, skill-set and internship experience.
What are your career options?
Family law, also known as matrimonial law deals with the handling of various family matters. It includes divorce proceedings, marriage proceedings, custodial fights, etc. You would either work for a law firm specialising in family matters, or run a firm/consultancy of your own. As a family lawyer, you are expected to keep your client information confidential and initiate legal proceedings on their behalf. This would include representing your clients in court and filing legal documentation on their behalf.
Corporate lawyers usually work in the in-house legal team of companies that provide various services such as banking, media, etc. Here, your job would involve ensuring the legality of commercial transactions, preparing contracts, taking the right legal decisions for the firm and also handling all the legal matters of the business. As a corporate lawyer, you need to be up-to-date with the various tax laws, securities law, etc.
A property lawyer handles all the issues related to property including buying and selling and initiating contracts between tenants and landlords. Here, you would be involved with preparing rent agreements, property wills, representing clients in court, etc. Most property lawyers work in a private or a professional set up that deal with property cases.
Criminal lawyers, also known as defence lawyers handle criminal cases. Here, you would either represent organisations or individuals who are charged with crimes. Your job would involve defending your clients in court and investigating and interviewing witnesses related to the case. You would build a defence strategy to prove your clients innocent and also draft, file and argue appeals made. You would work on diverse cases ranging from murder, domestic violence, etc.
A taxation lawyer represents his client before the state or local taxation authorities. You would mainly work for private firms, where you would handle all the taxation cases. Your job would include structuring, negotiating, and documenting business entities and advising clients or organisations on various tax implications.
A public prosecutor is employed by the state government, and works under the provisions of the criminal procedure code. As a public prosecutor, you would ensure that all the law rules and regulations are followed by the police and carried out during investigations. You would represent the interests of the state in your proceedings.
A court reporter is an individual who transcribes speech into written format. Court reporters usually work in state or local government offices or private media houses. Your primary duties here would be to attend court hearings, depositions and legal proceedings. You would be expected to prepare and edit transcripts for official use and provide a copy of the same to the related parties.
A law professor works in a college to teach aspiring law students. You would have to prepare for lectures and provide the best intellectual and practical guidance to your students. You would also be required to be fully aware of all the latest happenings and need good communication and teaching skills. Additionally, you would need to appear for the UGC – NET – a national level entrance exam to qualify as a professor.
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