To become a lawyer in India one must hold a bachelor degree in Law i.e. LL.B. [Legum Baccalaureus] duly recognized by Bar Council of India. There are 2 types of degree courses for Law (LL.B.) offered. One can either go for a 5-year course or a 3-year course.
LL.B Courses Available in India
Five Year Course
The five-year course is available right after high school, at an undergraduate level. There are many Universities in India providing the 5-year course. One can enter into any of the University by clearing their respective entrance tests. The most important and famous test among them is the Common Law Admission Test(CLAT) which will get you into the 14 National Law Universities in the country.
To be eligible to appear in CLAT, a candidate should have secured a Senior Secondary School/Intermediate (10+2) or its equivalent certificate from a recognised Board with not less than 45% marks in aggregate (40% in case of SC and ST candidates) and should be under 20 years of age as on (22 years in case of SC and ST candidates)
CLAT test students on English, Legal Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, General Awareness, and Elementary Mathematics.
Apart from the above-mentioned Universities, there are some other Universities which provide the 5-year course, for example, National Law University, Delhi, Symbiosis Law School, Jindal Global Law School which conduct their separate admission tests.
Also, some Universities admit the LSAT score[LSAT India]for granting admissions. LSAT is a test conducted by Law School Admission Council. Refer to the link to know about the participating Universities.
Also, there are state level entrance tests which will get you into respective State Universities.
Three Year Course
One can additionally opt for a 3-year course after completing graduation. The candidate is supposed to have completed his bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks. The Universities that offer 3-year course include Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, Government Law College [Mumbai], ILS Law College etc.
A 3-year course comprises of core law subjects like Jurisprudence, Criminal Law, Business Laws, Intellectual Property Laws etc.
The subjects for a 5-year course will depend on the fact whether the course is B.A.LLB or BBA LLB. Apart from the core law subjects, these courses will also include art related [History, Sociology, Political science] and commerce related subjects [Accounts, Economics etc.].
Most Universities give a bit of practical legal training to the students to understand how the law works in the real world. Generally speaking, legal education in India is extremely theoretical. Students can seldom get some exposure to a real work environment with the help of internship programs with practicing Advocates, Law Firms, NGOs, PSUs, and Judges.
Once you have your LLB degree, you can call yourself a lawyer but you are still not an advocate. A person who wants to get enrolled as an advocate has to first enroll himself/ herself below any State Bar Council. After this, he must clear All India Bar Examination [AIBE] conducted by Bar Council Of India to secure a certificate of practice. This test claims to judge the basic analytical capabilities of the advocate and his/her knowledge of the law.
Under Section 24 of the Advocates Act, a person shall be able to be admitted as an advocate on a State roll, if he fulfills the following conditions:
- He is a citizen of India.
- He has completed the age of 21 years
- He has obtained a degree of law from any University in India which is recognized for the purposes of this Act by the Bar Council of India
- He fulfills such other conditions as may be specified in the rules made the State Bar Council
- He has paid, in respect of the enrolment, stamp duty, if any, chargeable under the Indian Stamp Act 1899, and an enrolment fee payable to the State Bar Council.
Eligible persons are allowed as advocates on the rolls of the State Bar Councils. The Advocates Act, 1961 empowers State Bar Councils to frame their own rules regarding enrolment of advocates. The Council’s Enrolment Committee may examine a candidate’s application. Those admitted as advocates by any State Bar Council are eligible for a Certificate of Enrolment.
According to the Bar Council of India [BCI] rules, one can transfer his name from one State roll to another State roll but cannot have his name on more than one roll.
Before arriving for the All India Bar Examination [AIBE], one also requires to enroll with the State Bar Council. The State Bar Council’s do not have a consistent process of registration. Each of them has a process of their own. For example:
- The Bar Council Of Rajasthan and Karnataka offers online registration. The registration form can be filled online.
- the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, wants you to go to their office and collect the registration form and fill it up and then submit it.
You can contact your state’s Bar Council through phone or internet and inquire about the procedures to be followed.
Correspondence/ Distance Learning Courses
A lot of Universities provide distance learning courses and correspondence courses for the law. These include National Law School Of India University [NLSIU], Delhi University, Osmania University [Hyderabad], Pune University etc.
One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that the Bar Council of India does not recognize any correspondence or distance education degree for the law. So, even if you managed to obtain any degree through a distance learning course, you will not be able to practice in a Court.
Section 24 of the Advocates Act states that Advocates are the only class of persons entitled to practice the profession of law and any person who practises in any court or before any authority or person, in or before whom he is not entitled to practice under the provisions of this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months.
Note that if you want to become an advocate in India, you need an LLB degree [5 years / 3 years]and ANY other course will not give you the license to practice as a lawyer in India.