The diverse array of options that a law degree opens can be pursued as per one’s interests and inclinations. It can be a gateway to not only money and success but also to power and respect. The stream of law one decides to focus on goes a long way in determining the nature of work they’d end up doing and to an extent, also the amount of money they’d earn. So it is essential to know the scope of a law degree to realistically gauge your abilities and goals against the specialisation you want to pursue.
a. Here are the important law specialisations
1. Civil Law
This subject deals with significant areas of litigation including damage suits, guardian disputes, deeds, wills, individual rights and conflicts etc. This specialisation has an excellent scope for private practice, although it also offers good job opportunities with government and private bodies.
2. Criminal Law
A roller coaster ride, it involves interacting and interrogating the accused, witnesses, working around forensic reports, post-mortem reports, crime scenes etc. One might opt for private practice or work as a public prosecutor. Criminal law pays well but is not for everyone.
3. Constitutional Law
Lawyers who deal with constitutional cases, i.e. cases in which interpretation and application of statutes and official acts of government and questioning them for infringing on individual rights vested by the constitution. All laws and all actions of public officials and institutions are presumed to be constitutional.
4. Administrative Law
An administrative lawyer deals with issues regarding decisions or regulations of local, state or central government agencies. If a person feels that such an agency has passed regulations which affect their business negatively or if they think that a personal wrong had been done to them, an administrative attorney is the one to turn to.
5. Human Rights Law
Human rights lawyers investigate and defend people involved in cases such as those that include torture and abuse. Human rights lawyers often spend many hours examining a case; studying domestic and international human right laws; and interviewing clients and witnesses.
6. Family Law
Issues relating to the family like divorce or annulment, child custody and visitation rights, child support payments, and spousal support/alimony, adoption, guardianship, state child protection, and domestic violence etc. are included under family law.
Specialisation in tax and banking law is becoming increasingly popularis as banking, finance and corporate companies are hiring specialists to deal with their finance and tax matters.
8. Corporate Law
Corporate Law is currently one of the most sought-after specialisations in India that offer opportunities to work or consult for corporate giants regarding the legality of various transactions, framing and evaluating contracts, ordinances, assessing corporate privileges and more
9. International Business Law
This specialisation also has a good career-scope in the private sector, corporate houses nationally and international opportunities as well. It deals with laws related to international business and trade, including international trade, tax, arbitration, competition law, contracts and more.
10. Labour Law
Labour laws mediate the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Lawyers specialising in this field might deal disputes arising out of protection scope of employees, employment contracts, wage regulation, pension, insurance, benefits, health and safety etc
11. Real Estate Law
With realty business in a boom, the demand for real estate lawyers is high. Dealings of such lawyers include, but are not limited to sale deeds, property mortgage and lease issues, property titles and property conveyance. You may set up your practice or work for a real estate company, either on their payroll or as a legal adviser.
12. Intellectual property /Patent Law
This area of specialisation is gaining popularity more so with globalisation winds making their way through this sector. Companies and brands are putting in their efforts to protect their products using the patent and intellectual property rights law. This law deals into trademarks, copyrights and more.
b. While these are the various specialisations one can opt for as a lawyer; law is a diverse profession with great options that are in no way limited to than just being a practising lawyer. Here are some of the other roles that a law graduate can hope to fulfil:
1. Corporate Legal Advisor: There many organisations, enterprises and multi-national companies that hire legal advisors. These legal advisors work as a legal arm in a company, where they cover – clearance, compliance, merger and acquisitions, IPR, contract, corporate and many other aspects of business laws.
2. LPO-Legal Process Outsourcing: It is relatively more comfortable for young talent with excellent communication and writing skills to enter the LPO industry in India. The salaries are high in the LPO sector, and one gets to work for law agencies in the US, UK and Europe.
3. Government and Judiciary: There are many government jobs in a legal stream at various departments. Meanwhile, in the judiciary, you could start your career from a magistrate and eventually reach up to a sub-divisional judge, high court judge or Supreme Court judge level. Also, the perks and powers are added advantage with it that no career offers.
4. Legal Analyst: Works for corporate firms or law firms and analyses laws pertaining to the sphere of the company and its operation.
5. Legal Journalist: Covers crime beats, legal proceedings in courts, arbitration courts, international courts and arbitration events.
6. Legal Advisor: Offers consultancy to corporate firms regarding their legal obligations, duties, legal relations with other firms.
7. Law Agency: You could also join a law agency or firm as a fresher. There you may get to work with senior advocates. Though salaries can be a bit low, the learning experience is unmatched. Also, working hours are not set and easily extends up to 9-10 hours. Nevertheless, it will be stepping stone for you as a legal practitioner or advisor.
8. Academics: If a lawyer does not feel comfortable in courts or dealing with conventional and typical legal work, one can also enter academics and teach in a law college. This is something that can be done part-time as well in addition to their practice.
9. Army: Lawyers are also recruited as commissioned officers in the legal branches in Indian Army, Navy and Air force to conduct court-martial proceedings.
10. Indian Legal Service: There is also an option of legal service in the Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Council in Legislative Department. Law officers and legal advisors are appointed in almost all the ministries/department/undertakings of the government of India and state Government. All these posts are generally filled up by law graduates who have to qualify the Union Public Service Commission or State Public Service Commission examination.
So, as stated before, law is one of the most diverse and fastest growing professions in India. It offers opportunities to fulfil different roles according to their aspirations and goals. The possibilities of growth are endless, and with the right mentorship, intelligent effort and a constant drive to learn, nothing can stop one short of making it in the legal profession.