Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal, director and dean, Institute of Law – Nirma University
Back in the day, there were a select few career paths providing students with basic understanding of the discipline and good job opportunities. The most popular ones being medical, engineering and law. Most colleges offered a limited choice of courses with a graduate/postgraduate qualification in certain subjects which led to everyone following a straight path. Today, students can choose from a variety of streams, courses, and subjects to get to a job that they desire. However, that doesn’t diminish the value of doctors, engineers and lawyers.
Law as a profession witnessed much demand in its heyday and is still one of the most fulfilling professions one can pursue. Until a few decades ago, the legal career path was pursued by successive generations of the family and getting exposure and understanding the logistics was way easier but today anyone who has a good hold over their internships, experience, and learnings along with a good qualification can secure a good position at any law firm in the country.
The legal industry has witnessed a sea change over the past two decades. There has been a steady increase in the number of law graduates who pursue degree from elite law schools to get a high-paying job at well known law firms. Furthermore, there are vast arenas to choose from when it comes to the choice of law schools, the educational benefits, and the extracurricular activities to be paired with the course, and many more.
In the 1980s, jobs for lawyers were mostly like assisting as junior advocates that paid little as it was not always a viable profession for the ones who didn’t have their families supporting them and helping them move forward in the industry. With corporate legal jobs coming into the picture, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of students pursuing law. Today the demand from these law firms has increased manifold resulting in a high supply of law graduates from renowned law colleges.
Students are making the most out of every opportunity and trying their best to get into premier law schools in the country. Students are willing to take loans and pursue the law degree because the financial return from it comes much sooner, making it a less risky investment. The Bar Council of India recognizes around 1400 law schools in the country out of which only a dozen of them are considered elite and in demand. The top corporate jobs in the legal sector only prefer recruiting from these top law schools which results in a handful of graduates that makes it to the top. Additionally, the salary offered to a degree holder from these law schools is much higher than the ones who come from tier 2 or tier 3 law schools.
Law as a profession seeks to improve societal standards and promote equality. Having a first generation lawyer that has access to legal matters only through his/her understanding and not through a family background is important. Being an asset in the legal profession has many advantages in the future as it is growing at a constant speed making it easier for students to learn. A law student can choose to practice law as an advocate which is the most traditional and conventional path to building a career in this field. One can work for a law firm and work for multiple companies and clients. One can become a corporate counselor or a cyber-lawyer. For a successful future in the legal sector, a student must possess good listening, oratory and communication skills. Therefore, the legal profession has a promising future.