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Careers in Law: Rise of Corporate Culture in Law Schools



Bar Council of India administers the impartation of legal education in India and governs the law schools throughout the country. Pre 1987, the condition of legal education in India was not up to the mark and no organized system for ensuring the quality of legal education was in existence. In 1987, the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU) was established with a special focus on the quality of education as well as students. For that, it also started an entrance test to refine the quality of students coming into the College. This is regarded as a leap forward in revolutionizing the whole system of bequeathing legal education in India.

Since then, there have been many such establishments of Law Schools on the same lines, later came to be known as National Law Universities and a complete turnaround was witnessed in the legal education in India. People now take CLAT as their first priority and aspirants work really hard to get an admission into these National Law Universities. As a result, the students have wide-ranging offers and thick salaries at an early age of their careers.

The growth of corporate culture in contemporary law schools can be owed to the development in the quality of legal education and increasing legal awareness among the general population. Moreover, Indian legal system being a common law one, is similar to many different legal systems of the World and also, India being a borrower of its constitutional principles from different nations, makes India, a mixed legal system and therefore, legal companies and corporate houses throughout the World, recruit Indian Law students. These foreign offers result in increasing of remunerations exponentially and with the foreign firms being allowed to practice in India, the remunerations are all set to experience the new high. These factors have effectively provided an impetus in the evolution and progression of corporate culture in the law schools of India.

Depending on the law school, the domestic starting salaries offered by these legal corporate houses to fresh graduates, range between some Rs.4 lacs to Rs.30 lacs per annum. These numbers are increasing with every passing year. This trend of placements in NLUs have been compared favorably with IITs and IIMs and places the legal education at par with the education imparted by these traditionally established universities in the respective fields. Pursuant to this development in corporate culture, a fresh law graduate gets an opportunity to earn decently at an early age of say 23-24, depending upon one’s potential and interests.

Students are opting for corporate counsel these days as soon as they graduate from the law school. A master’s degree in Law is becoming their second choice nowadays and these law firms allure them. Reasons being-

Ø  The prime reason for the students opting for the corporate field is the starting salary along with the perks that they enjoy at the very onset of their career, same as offered in the top B-schools.

Ø  Some law firms even provide medical cover and other insurances like Government do.

Ø  Transportation facilities and housing are two other services which are often offered by these corporate giants.

Ø  There is a sense of job security at a very early age and your status in society suddenly bounces up.

Ø  These firms have many different departments which give the opportunity to diversify and therefore, provide requisite national as well as international exposure for future.

However, these firms are not devoid of some very basic cons-

Ø  Although, the salaries are high but there is a very slow increment in the salary once you are hired.

Ø  Opportunity to grow within the firm is not necessary and largely depends upon person to person and personal will. Often, employees end up being caged in these legal corporate houses.

Keeping aside these very basic cons, the culture of getting a placement and securing a package of around 15 lacs per annum has been on a surge. Also, keeping in view, the contemporary inflation and increase the quality of life, the current generation of youth is inclined towards earning money at an early age and this culture is suiting them as it allows you to get decent money in exchange for your talent and hard work.

There are several major Law firms, both Indian and foreign, which recruit from the top and emerging Indian national law universities and other good law schools. Among the major recruiters from the domestic legal schools are top law firms such as Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh A. Shroff & Co, AZB Partners, J.Sagar & Associates, Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, Khaitan & Co., Nishith Desai Associates, DSK Legal, ARA Law, Dua Associates, Khaitan & Co, Fox & Mandal and Kocchar & Co. Some of the foreign law firms which had in past and which generally recruit from Indian law schools are- the UK-based Linklaters Alliance, the Singapore-based Khattar & Wong, and etc. Recruits join as junior associates and are promoted based on their experience and performance.

Joining these law firms is beneficial as they cater to needs and interests of big companies, which tend to contact these firms instead of private lawyers. Working in a firm improves one’s versatility as there are a lot of fields where one may work and apart from litigation work, a firm may also have a consultancy wing and an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) team, which provides with pieces of advice and out of court settlements, respectively. Hence, working for a firm may prove to be beneficial for an all-round personality development apart from providing financial stability. There is a strong presumption that this culture will keep rising for a considerable number of years to come, owing to its popularity and nature. 

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