What does it take to be a lawyer? Where do the opportunities lie?

Not even a decade back, law was the last resort for graduates. Thoughts of lawyers in black coats seated in dingy courtrooms would send shivers down any self respecting individual. But, careers in law have taken a turn for the better. Now, lawyers work in swanky corporate offices and work for corporates as varied as media, insurance, banks, FMCG or become partners/associates in law firms.

So, if you have good communication skills, both oral and written, are fond of reading, can convince others easily, have a logical way of thinking so that you are able to look at matters objectively and come to your own conclusions, then this is the career for you. And if you are smart, suave and ready to voice your opinion, then this is the career for you.

Setting up of National Law Schools/Universities (NLUs), five-year integrated LL.B. courses right after class 12, world class education and admission through Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) have helped the cause. With 14 NLUs and about 1,700 seats at the LLB level, CLAT attracts the best students with placements in the best law firms around the world. No wonder the NLUs have provided 100 per cent placements since their inception and today, they compete with Harvard, Oxford, Yale, NUS, and the like.

Careers

The biggest recruiters are Indian and international law firms, consultancies, corporate, NGOs, Legal Process Outsourcing companies and government organisations. Students passing out from the National Law Schools/Universities get average placements at Rs. 6-10 lakh per annum.

This year, CLAT is being conducted by Hidyatullah National Law University (NHLU), Raipur. The test will have a total of 200 multiple choice questions, each of one mark and the duration of the exam is two hours.

Write full length tests

CLAT is a speed test. 200 questions in 120 minutes is no mean task. A student will need around 150 marks to get admission in top NLUs. This may however drop this year to 135-140 due to negative marking. With an accuracy of 80-90 per cent, you will need to attempt about 160-180 questions to get this score. So, you really need to build your speed and allocate time properly between different sections. Remember that all questions carry equal marks, and English and G.K. questions are easiest to solve and the least time consuming.

You should try to solve them in about 15-20 minutes each. Devote 12-15 minutes to maths and you should be left with about 70 minutes for the remaining two sections. You may give 30 minutes to reasoning and about 35-40 minutes to legal aptitude. Of all the sections, legal aptitude may be the trickiest and time consuming but remember that the score in this section will be used as the tie-breaker, if required. Try different sequences of solving the paper and see what works best for you. Stick to that strategy in the last three to four mocks.

AILET 2013

AILET is the exam for admission to NLU Delhi. The exam will be conducted on April 28 and the pattern is identical to CLAT. The paper has 150 questions with 35 questions from each section, except maths which has 10 questions. All other law entrance exams are also similar. So, the same preparation strategy will work for AILET, CET, SET and LSAT. The only care to be taken is that a student must understand the syllabus and test areas of each exam properly and write four to five mocks of that exam before appearing for the main exam, so that he/she is accustomed to the paper and is able to build a strategy.

The author is an IIM-K alumnus and Director, VistaMinds.