Long Arms of the Law

The countdown has begun for the country’s toughest law admission test, CLAT. It’s time to take stock of emerging legal careers

By Tairah Firdous

ENGINEERING, medicine and management may still be the most soughtafter career streams, but the law is the new flavour of the season — actually, it’s not that new: it emerged as a career of choice for young people who are not from legal families in the last ten years.

And the credit for this resurgence of interest must go to the corporate sector after the emergence of international corporations and foreign institutional investors as an important economic force in the country, and to the increasingly visible civil society. They have created an expanding market for law aspirants in fields as divergent intellectual property law, mergers and acquisitions, and human rights.

The legal sector has seen a paradigm shift in the last decade,” explains Raian Karanjawala of Karanjawala & Company, a renowned litigation law firm in the Capital.

More people are taking up law as a career, and right now, there are more people applying for legal jobs than we have vacancies to offer.” A law degree provides career options in different areas of expertise such as litigation, contracts and arbitration.

Within each category of law, there are sub- specialisations that offer a wide number of career choices.

Within the major areas such as corporate law, there are specialisations like corporate finance law, mergers and acquisitions, and insurance law. Students who are looking at law as a career option must also account for these specialisations,” says Karanjawala, whose firm was most recently engaged by Ratan Tata to argue his right to privacy case arising out the leaked Niira Radia tapes.

Though litigation still remains a time- tested career avenue, corporate law has emerged as one of the top choices because it offers both excitement and good remuneration.

Intellectual property law, investment law and real estate law are the other emerging fields.

Corporate law is a popular choice because of the opportunities it opens up,” says Rajiv Luthra of Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, a top- tier law firm that earned its spurs in the area power sector agreements.

“ The country has experienced a corporate boom and it has created many new career opportunities for young lawyers.” Another emerging area that is feeding legal practice is the regulation of services. “ Regulation of services such as telecom and electricity is a huge challenge and the area of regulatory practice is one of the most soughtafter careers openings among young lawyers,” says Karanjawala.

Globalisation might have come under strong criticism, but the country’s legal fraternity isn’t complaining.

Thanks to the process of globalisation, the services of lawyers specialising in international commercial arbitration, air, sea and surface transportation, and securities regulation are much sought after. The globalisation of the law has affected both international and country- specific regulations and the course of litigation across the world. Whether they serve multinational enterprises or seek to regulate their activities, law firms require minds that can grapple with the complexities of the globalisation of law.

“ Globalisation has opened up areas such as international regulation and global litigation, and the mushrooming of foreign law firms in the country has created a decent job market for lawyers,” explains Karanjawala. The world, literally, is opening up for young lawyers.

(This article was first published in Mail Today)


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