How do I become a lawyer in India? How is the legal education structure in India? What after LL.B?
A person is eligible to practice law in India if he is a law graduate from a college which is recognized by THE BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA (BCI).
LL.B. OR BACHELOR OF LAWS (LATIN: LEGUM BACALAUREUS),
is an undergraduate degree in India. The plural form of a word in Latin is abbreviated by repeating the letter. Hence, “LL.” is short for “laws.”
THE BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA regulates the Legal Education system in India.
You can either do a traditional 3-year LL.B. course after your graduation from any stream or a 5-year integrated course after Class XII or equivalent.
A common Entrance Test is made compulsory to take admission in the course, in most of the Universities. But, still, there are some colleges throughout the country which admit students solely on the basis of their 12th or Graduation marks.
So, if you have already decided at an early stage, that LAW is the game for you, then it is better to opt for a 5-year course and start preparing for entrance exams accordingly. Instead of going for your graduation and then completing LL.B. which takes 6 years, a 5-year course will help you save a year.
When you go for a 5 year integrated course, you have multiple options to choose from the various courses offered by the present Universities and Law Colleges, like…
- B.Tech.LL.B. (This is a 6 years course)
Some Institutes also offer Honors Program where you can specialise in a particular subject.
Whereas, if you are already a graduate and indecisive or confused about choosing law as your career then, you must complete your graduation first in whatever field you like and then opt for a 3 years LL.B. course. Don’t worry, as a lawyer, you will not be judged depending on what course you did- whether 5 or 3 years.
A semester or a trimester structure is followed, for most of the courses, whether 3 years or 5 years. Some of the subjects are classified as ‘compulsory’ by the BCI while some subjects are optional. A student according to his preferences selects the optional subjects. Here is a list of compulsory subjects:
- Jurisprudence (Legal method, Indian legal system, and basic theory of law).
- Law of Contract
- Special Contract
- Law of Tort including MV Accident and Consumer Protection Laws
- Family Law (2 papers)
- Law of Crimes Paper I: Penal Code
- Law of Crime Paper II: Criminal Procedure Code
- Constitutional Law (two papers)
- Property Law
- Law of Evidence
- Civil Procedure Code and Limitation Act
- Administrative Law
- Company Law
- Public International Law
- Principles of Taxation Law
- Environmental Law
- Labour and Industrial Law (2 papers)
Apart from the above compulsory subjects, you will have some Compulsory Clinical Courses such as:
- Drafting, Pleading and Conveyance – Assistance of practicing lawyers is taken preferably to teach this course. Apart from teaching the relevant provisions of law, this course includes many practical exercises in drafting and in conveyancing as well.
- Professional Ethics & Professional Accounting system – This course is taught in association with practicing lawyers on the basis of the following materials.
(i) Mr. Krishnamurthy Iyer’s book on “Advocacy”
(ii) The Contempt Law and Practice
(iii) The Bar Council Code of Ethics
(iv) 50 selected opinions of the Disciplinary Committees of Bar Councils and 10 major judgments of the Supreme Court on the subject
(v) Other reading materials as prescribed by the University.
- Alternate Dispute Resolution
Outline of the course:
(i) Negotiation skills
(j) Conciliation skills
(k) Arbitration Law and Practice including International arbitration
and Arbitration rules.
The course is required to be conducted by senior legal practitioners
through simulation and case studies.
- Moot court exercise and Internship – This paper may have three components:
(a) Moot Court – You may be required to do at least three moot courts in a year.
(b) Observance of Trial in two cases, one Civil, and one Criminal – In the course of the last two or three years of LL.B. studies, you are required to attend two trials. Maintain a record and enter the various steps observed during your attendance on different days in the court assignment.
(c) Interviewing techniques, Pre-trial preparations and Internship diary – You will have to observe two interviewing sessions of clients at the Lawyer’s Office/Legal Aid Office and record the proceedings in a diary. Then further observe the preparation of documents and court papers by the Advocate and the procedure for the filing of the suit/petition. You also have to record this in the diary.
After completing your LL.B. you can start working or go for a postgraduate degree. To practice in any court of law in India as an advocate you need to further take an exam known as ALL INDIA BAR EXAMINATION (AIBE), you can get a detailed information about it, in this post here. But, if you want to study further, then you can go for LL.M.
LL.M. Master of Laws (Latin: Legum Magister)
is a postgraduate academic degree, pursued by those holding an undergraduate academic law degree.
There are currently 2 types of courses in India, one is a 2 years LL.M. course and the other is a one year LL.M. course. The 1-year course is recently introduced and it has not been adopted yet throughout the country. One year LL.M. course is usually provided by NLU’s, but there are some other Universities in India who have also started one-year courses.
An LL.M. degree is mandatory to be a teacher in a Law School in India.
In LL.M., you have to specialize in a particular field of Law. A student will receive the LL.M degree in the particular stream s/he opts for after successfully passing in all examinations. Some universities also require completion of his/her dissertation in that stream.
But, if you don’t want to specialize in a particular field, then there are general LL.M. courses provided by specific universities. Here, you study some selective subjects. And after its completion, you are awarded an LL.M. degree by the University.
Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy (Latin: Philosophiae Doctor)
is the highest academic degree in most countries including India awarded by universities.
After your LL.M. you can go for a Ph.D. in Law. Research scholars and Law Professors usually prefer opting for Ph.D. It is a full time or a part-time course. Duration of the course can be between 2-5 years. You have to decide which course you want to opt for because all Universities don’t offer both full time and part time courses.
If you are more inclined towards research in law, then you must go for it.
There are many other diploma or certificate courses in subjects like Corporate law, Cyberlaw, Intellectual Property law, Arbitration, etc.
The duration of these courses varies anywhere from a month to a year. Such courses are available offline as well as online. You can complete these courses even while studying law. These courses will enhance your knowledge in that particular subject.
This is the structure of current legal education system in India.
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