One of the biggest advantages of the 5-years that it will take you to complete your law degree is the number of internships that you get an opportunity to pursue in between. Chances are you will use each of your 2-month stints to get exposure to as many different domains as possible so that come placement time you can choose the type of firm that fits in best with your professional ambitions and your work-life balance.
Some of the popular domains that lawyers tend to opt for are:
Traditionally all lawyers used to get their degrees and would go into practice. More often than not a senior advocate would take you under their wing and you would get an opportunity to shadow him / her for a year or two developing your own skills in the process. You could work in areas like criminal, civil or constitutional law and be jumping from one courthouse to the other twice or thrice a day submitting papers, injunctions, appeals and getting a true taste of the legal profession.
Top Indian law firms like Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co, AZB & Partners, J Sagar & Associates, etc. race to law schools each year to battle it out for top talent. Most firms tend to specialize in a particular domain like Amarchand & Mangaldas is world renowned for its expertise in the banking domain, though it also operates in other areas. Anand & Anand is India’s top Intellectual Property Rights firm, while Bhasin & Co does great work in dispute resolution.
Top Law firms generally have a legal staff in excess of 100 lawyers and take mostly corporate assignments, though on the odd occasion you may handle individual cases too. The Name Partners (after whom the firm is named) run the firm and have a profit share. You would join such a firm as an Associate and would need to be both an exceptional performer and a very long term employee to work your way up to becoming a Partner. More often than not though, most Associates work for multiple firms before going into partnership with 2 or more like minded individuals in their area of specialization.
More and more lawyers today are opting for joining companies instead of law firms and being on their in-house staff instead. Traditionally this decision is made much more to do with the quality of life on offer rather than a professional decision. Corporate life certainly isn’t cushy by any stretch of the imagination, and often involves greater interaction with non-legal aspects of business like sales, marketing and finance. It also offers the individual a greater propensity to expand his / her skill set and requires the legal counsel to have considerably better social skills while dealing with people not from the same domain. However, it does usually involve more of a 9-5 corporate culture rather than staying up late every night as a litigator preparing for your next hearing.
Some popular recruiters from top law schools today are ITC, IBM, Infosys, Wipro, Dr. Reddy's, Biocon, PWC, KPMG,HLL, etc.
The dream for many a lawyer is actually to move to a position where he/she can have the maximum impact on society, that is, as a Judge. There are two routes to become a member of the Indian Judiciary – one is to become such an amazing litigator that you would be elevated to the Judge’s bench one day. The other route is to partake in a competitive selection process for Indian Judicial Services.