Mediation abilities coupled with communication and analytical skills make a good lawyer.

Law is entwined into every aspect of our life from something as simple as the age we may obtain a licence to the minimum wage you are entitled to receive and the rights you may have as a human being, Indian citizen or a consumer of any goods or service. The work of a lawyer is interesting, challenging and rewarding which is reflected in the wide reach and popularity of the legal profession. It is not surprising therefore, that law is and always has been a competitive profession to break into.

However, being a lawyer isn’t necessarily as dramatic as those portrayed in courtroom dramas or always about figuring out who is the culprit. The work could be only based on transactions or depending on the field, litigation. To be a successful lawyer, you should have excellent research skills, which is the starting point for any lawyer; logical and analytical skills are tested on a day-to-day basis in a lawyer’s career; the ability to mediate between two parties; outstanding communication skills; attention to detail; perseverance as well as enthusiasm and dedication to a legal career. Another important skill to cultivate for anyone in the legal profession is commercial awareness. Although this could be vague to describe, it essentially boils down to being aware of what is happening in the world in areas such as politics, the economy and businesses.

The first step necessary for a law career is to obtain a law degree. There are various institutes across the country where it is possible to begin the study of law. The regular route for a law degree is the 5-year B.A. LLB (hons) degree. Another path to a legal career is pursuing a 3-year LLB degree after graduating with a degree from another course such as B.A or a M.A. A select few institutions offer the degree such as Faculty of Law, Delhi University; Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University; ILS Pune, Government Law College, Mumbai.

CLAT

An acknowledged admission process is by undertaking the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) which is an all-India entrance examination conducted by 14 National Law Schools/Universities for admission to their undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes (LL.B & LL.M). A few of the participating universities are National Law School of India University, Bangalore; NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad; and The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.

It is a two-hour examination consisting of five parts: General Knowledge, English, Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and Legal Aptitude.

The common eligibility criteria for CLAT is that a candidate should have obtained a Senior Secondary School/Intermediate (10+2) or its equivalent qualification from a recognised Board with not less than 50 per cent marks in aggregate (45 per cent in the case of SC/ST/OBC).

There is also the National Law University, Delhi, which conducts its own All India Entrance Examination with similar eligibility criteria. However, there are also a number of reputed private institutions that offer a bachelor’s degree in law such as Symbiosis Law College, Pune; ILS Law College, Pune; Amity Law School, Delhi; The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai. They require individual applications and examinations.

The writer is Partner, Amarchand Mangaldas, Chennai.

Next week: How to prepare for CLAT and other entrance exams for Law School.

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