Non-traditional players are helping India’s law graduates make the leap from law school to the legal profession. Is this the answer to academic institutions’ failure to equip law graduates with practical skills? Vandana Chatlani investigates
Each year, over 80,000 students armed with law degrees in India catapult into the cut-throat world of the legal profession. A lucky few join law firms or in-house legal teams while vast numbers struggle to pursue careers in litigation. Others find a place in legal process outsourcing or legal journalism, or pursue advanced degrees, while the rest abandon the law altogether.
What is common to most of these graduates is their lack of preparedness for the leap from university into employment.
“Indian law graduates are not trained to do even the most basic legal work like incorporation, registrations of various types, basic drafting or obtaining business licences for clients,” observes Abhyudaya Agarwal, a former restructuring lawyer turned entrepreneur and the co-founder of iPleaders, a legal education start-up. In Unlawyered, iPleaders blog, Agarwal says law graduates “need several months of hands-on training before they are at all employable”.
Managing partners, general counsel and recruiters all share this view. “I really believe freshers are unable to think from a business perspective,” says Priti Suri, the founder partner of PSA in New Delhi. “They can do the research, but then they need someone else, like a partner, to put that into shape. Law firms have an obligation to provide mentoring and training to fresh graduates, because where else will they get it from?”