Loans push law students to take up corporate jobs

Most of the students opt for lucrative jobs every year

Loans push law students  to take up corporate jobs

Corporate law jobs continue to have stranglehold on a majority of graduates passing out of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) every year.

 Of the 75 to 80 students who pass out each year, more than 50 choose a corporate career to handle the high financial cost of getting a law degree and to repay loans, while rest prefer litigation, entrepreneurship, clerkship and higher research.

Prajnal Singh, a fourth-year law student who is on a committee to organise the silver jubilee of NLSIU, told Deccan Herald that cost of the bachelor of law degree had gone up sharply.

“It is no one’s fault, and it may have to do with inflationary conditions. But over the last few years, the fee increased by an average of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, each year.

Currently it costs Rs 1.6 lakh per year to get a bachelors degree honours from NLSIU and  other national law institutes. But, in total, over a period of five years, the money spent would actually be around Rs 11 to13 lakh, which includes day to day expenses.

“The first thing students who have taken loan need to do after completing the course is to repay it. They need a cushy job which will pay them high, enabling them to repay loans, and still be left with some cash for sustenance. This is the reason high number of students opting corporate jobs,” he said.

Long gestation period

According to Singh, getting into litigation soon after the course would mean that students have to wait for sometime before they can generate earning. The gestation period is long. With loans to be repaid quickly, students cannot afford a lag in time to start earning. So, just eight to 10 students go in for litigation each year.

Two to four students take up entrepreneurship, set up their own firms every year, five to six go in for higher education and research, two students go to Teach for India project and the rest take up other NGO jobs.

In corporate law jobs, students have two options - one, to work in a corporate law firm, and two, to take up in-house litigation for companies.

In the former, students do work allotted to them by a firm and in the second, students become part of a legal team of a company or institution and undertake litigation work for the institution. According to law students, the first offers more variety as students can opt for diverse corporate firms — from financial, taxation, medical to technology-related legalities, while the latter focuses purely on litigation issues concerning the institution.

Law students point out that the fourth year has courses on corporate law, commercial law, Intellectual Property Rights, taxation laws, International Law, while the previous years have criminal law, jurisprudence and constitutionality.

Most tend to remember the fourth year course more than the second year course, a student said . “The fourth year course is clearly job and market oriented. The course has direct connection to career. So familiarity with corporate and commercial law just before passing out is a good reason for students to opt for corporate careers. Criminal law and constitutionality seem bit distant,” he said.

New trend

Law graduates setting up their own firms after working in corporate firms over two to three years is an interesting trend seen in the recent years. Students learn tricks of running a firm on their own and to give expression to their talent and expertise, set up new firms handling contracts from a variety of companies or institutions. These are corporate firms based on partnership.

Another trend is return of the law graduates from corporate jobs to litigation work in the courts. This wasn’t a priority earlier, but has now become one. Boredom with corporate jobs is prompting students to take up litigation.

Typically, the law graduates earn a good sum fromtheir corporate jobs and then make the shift to litigation so that they can sustain themselves financially for the years they have to wait for earnings to begin in that domain.

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