As society advances and opens up newer avenues in our daily lives, the need for legal protection against the demons of modern society has increased as well. With globalization leading to relaxed trade norms, and the widespread use of computers facilitating cyber crimes, the scope of law has only expanded over the last few years. Today, though recession is looming large over economies, threatening to stunt the growth of various industries and sectors, the legal profession continues to boom. The current economic downturn has, to an extent, impacted the legal profession. However, law today, encompasses several emerging and challenging areas such as technology, intellectual property, medicine and health sectors for which the demand is on the rise. Hence, law as a career, also promises a bright future for aspirants.
A law student today, has innumerable specialization options to consider.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR):
Reputed to be one of the most rewarding fields in law, IPR deals with the legal rights over intellectuals creations of the mind, and deals with patents, copyrights, designs and trade secrets, to name a few. Most lawyers specializing in IPR, either work with legal firms that offer such a service, or work as in-house counsel for corporations. LPR is a very vast and lucrative stream of law, and offers immense scope for specializations, as companies need regular legal assistance for registration, as well as protection of their trademarks, product or process patents and designs of machinery or equipment.
Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO):
LPOs essentially provide services in litigation support, contract review, legal research, analytics, and patent and technical support services to clients including law firms and corporates across the globe. Though LPOs are a very recent phenomenon, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) estimates, this segment is poised to cross the $6 billion turnover mark by 2010 and tower at $15 to $20 billion by 2015.
Experts seem positive about these figures even during recession. LPOs are actually growing even in the current scenario. The recent news of US President, Barack Obama’s decision reduce outsourcing to countries like India in the near future too, has not yet had any impact on the business of LPOs.
A fresh graduate from a reputed law school, recruited as a junior associate in an LPO firm can snag an initial salary, ranging between Rs two to Rs five lakh. Unlike traditional law firms, where you need to work hard for several years, before you can become a partner in the firm or start your sole practice, and IPO employees can expect to reach a managerial position, earnings anywhere between Rs eight to Rs 20 lakh, within a short span of five years.
Corporate law can either refer to working for the legal department of a corporate firm, or handling the cases of corporate clients. Legal professionals play a critical role in the functioning of a company and are responsible for drafting, vetting, and in several cases, negotiating contracts for the company ensuring and monitoring compliance with laws, and handling legal disputes that the company may be involved in. Very often, they need to coordinate with specialists like tax lawyers, employee benefits lawyers, as well as real estate attorneys, so as to deal with the various needs of their clients.
Corporate law offers considerable opportunities in both, private, as well as public sector undertakings. This field includes various core specialization areas, such as taxation, securitization, capital risk management, banking, insurance, acquisition and mergers and realty laws etc. In time to come with trade rules becoming more liberal corporate law is expected to boom further.
Companies are in need of good legal assistance for their taxation obligations. They thus, rely upon lawyers for advice for filing and presenting their taxation cases before the court, despite having chartered accountants. Furthermore, the tax department finds flaws in a majority of returns filed, and the adverse assessment orders passed by them are challenged by the companies up to Supreme Court, where again taxation lawyers would be required. Legal assistance in indirect taxation which includes service tax, central excise and customs law is also in demand.
The widespread use of computers and technologies bring about new forms of cyber crimes all the time. This has created tremendous opportunities or cyber lawyers.
Considered to be the most difficult areas in law, criminal law may not offer high monetary benefits during the initial years of practice, but the sky is the limit for a talented lawyer who has carved a niche for himself / herself and who handles high profile cases. Lawyers can either set up their own practice to handle individual clients, or may be state representatives in the form of public prosecutors or defenders. Needless to say, the nature and environment of this field may at times, pose a great threat to one’s life.
A mere degree is not enough to succeed in the legal profession. One needs talent, as well as experience to make a mark in the legal world.
Excellent written and oral communication skills, patience and perseverance combined with a strong awareness and understanding of the economics and business environment of the country, are crucial to succeed in a legal career.
A practicing legal professional needs to be hard working sincere and efficient. He/she must possess a good personality and public speaking abilities as well as have the power to convince people.
Experience also plays a major role in the making of a successful lawyer, and this is exactly why pursuing an internship with a law degree is a common phenomenon among law students.