According to the Advocates Act, a license from the Bar Council is mandatory for anyone who wishes to practices as a lawyer in any Indian court. This license is given only to those who have obtained an LLB degree (Bachelor of Law) from any recognized law college in India.
However, this should not discourage the multitude of persons working in other sectors of the industry from taking up law in one way or the other. Training as a paralegal is a fine solution for anyone who wants to participate in India’s booming Legal Process Outsourcing Industry (LPO), or take advantage of the growing demand for in-house legal talent in the country’s leading corporate houses.
Legal Process Outsourcing is a sunrise sector in India. It involves off shoring of legal work, such as contract drafting, document reviewing, legal research and a plethora of work for foreign lawyers, law firms and companies. With the increasing popularity of law as a subject, the quantity of legal talent in the country is growing, presenting greater growth opportunities for India in this field. According to figures obtained from LPOs and consultants, Indian lawyers’ billings to US firms for in-house work ranged from US$5 million to US$15 million in 2004. In fact, according to The Management Accountant, it is estimated that by 2015, the global market for Legal Process Outsourcing will be around $3 billion, with India taking a huge 60% share of the business.
The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University (NALSAR) in Hyderabad, ranked 2nd Law University in India by India Today, provides paralegal training through the NALSAR Pro Program. The objective of this program is to provide legal knowledge to various professionals apart from Lawyers. The Post Graduate Diploma programs have been designed to meet the requirements of professionals in the field of science, technology, media and human rights.
In order to accommodate the time constraints and working needs of professionals, course content is provided in a CD and contact programs are conducted at regular intervals. Various other national law universities such as NLSIU Bangalore too offer similar courses aimed at introducing the non-legal minds to law.
Therefore, training as a paralegal is strongly recommended for any professional or employee who would wish to gain practical legal knowledge, and at the same time, avoid the rigors of the 3 or 5 year classroom programs of LLB courses. Though training as a paralegal won’t be adequate for a license to practice, it offers wide prospects in the Legal Process Outsourcing industry, as well as job prospects in in-house legal departments of corporate and as specialized consultants in law firms. In fact it is worth noting that barely 15% of LLB graduates from the premier National Law Schools join the bar and take up court practice. While IT and BPO sectors have topped career choices in the past, saturation in these sectors has ensured that LPO will be the way for the future. And training as a paralegal seems to be the apt way for professionals in IT, medicine, engineering, media and virtually every other industry sector to gain a secure footing in this flourishing area.
Knowledge Manager – Law,