Published on November 9, 2019 | Uncategorized
Different Types of Lawyers in India
Different types of lawyers in India
India has one of the largest legal profession system in the world, that has stood the test of time and facilitated the existence of one of the largest democracy of the world. The legal profession as we know it today, is only a recent phenomenon that was shaped in form by the earlier British legal system.
Overview of the legal profession in India
India is one of those rare countries which can boast a crude form of recorded legal history starting from the Vedic age and the Indus Valley Civilization. But the modern legal system in India dates back to 1672, when the first British Court was established by Governor Aungier in erstwhile Bombay. This was followed by the establishment of the courts in Madras and Calcutta presidency towns. But at that point of time, there was no particular provisions for qualifications of persons who would be eligible to practice in these courts. These matters were regulated by these courts by matter of practice.
The first major regulation that enabled the professionalisation of the legal system was the Indian Bar Council Act of 1926. This Act provided for the incorporation, constitution and regulation of Bar Councils in British India.
The modern day legal system and profession that we know, is unified in character, thanks to the unified bar as laid down by the Constitution of India. With one of the largest legal systems in the world, India has an estimated legal market size of USD 1.3 billion as of 2018.
Different Classes of Law
Under this, the advocates are mainly classified into Advocates & Senior Advocates, who can be designated by the Supreme Court or any of the 21 High Courts by virtue of their exemplary standing at the Bar or knowledge and special experience. Only 1% of the lawyers constitute the Senior Advocate group of senior lawyers who wield a wide influence in this profession. A senior advocate designated by one court is a senior in other courts also, and have a seniority register roll maintained by the Bar Council of India. As per the rules, a Senior Advocate is not allowed to accept any brief directly from a client in order to allow exposure to the younger advocates. It also gives the senior advocates enough time for research and academic pursuits.
- Corporate Law Firms
There are law firms in every city of India but at the time of independence, these were mainly restricted to metropolitan areas like Bombay and Madras. The law firms have been highly impacted by globalization and the opening of the economy and has seen tremendous growth, contributing highly to transactional and litigation work. These corporate law firms also attract the best talent from law schools in India.
- Litigation Lawyers
India’s fast burgeoning population has ensured that India does not have enough litigation lawyers to fulfill the demands, despite a number of law schools that have come up in various parts of the country. In this class of lawyers, mostly individual practice is seen and concentrated towards the cases in the home court. Nowadays, litigation lawyers practice is expanding in Tier-1 and Tier-2 towns, unlike the earlier era when litigation lawyers practised primarily in the metropolitans. This class of lawyers have another challenge to deal with – the remuneration is not as attractive when compared to corporate lawyers but the demand is huge, which gives an attractive opportunity to young India to tap into this demand.
Different Types of Lawyers in India
Law as a profession is very diverse in essence as well as practice – it impacts almost everyone out there right from individuals, corporates, governments and the list goes on. So, it is only natural that the profession will be diverse in all practicality. Here are the main types of lawyers in India, depending upon the nature of their practice or role:
Private lawyers – These are the lawyers who work for private firms and do not work for any government or nonprofit organisations. They have have a higher remuneration compared to the public or government lawyers. The remuneration can range between 12 lakhs to 20 lakhs per annum depending upon your profile.
Public Interest Lawyers – They are involved in drafting legal processes, legislation and also in the representation of individual clients who cannot afford private lawyers. Generally, public interest lawyers work for the government or nonprofits and have a comparatively lower salary compared to others. They earn between 4 lakhs to 8 lakhs per year.
Trial Lawyers – They focus on a specific area like corporate law, medical malpractice, civil or criminal trial. Though the evidence framework and rules are similar, the procedures for civil and criminal trials are very different. The trial lawyers salary varies from 4 lakhs to 10 lakhs per year but the top notch lawyers like the famous Ram Jethmalani & Mr. Fali Nariman used to charge anywhere between 8 to 25 lakhs per hearing.
Immigration Lawyers – They help the individuals or companies with immigration processes, paperwork, visas, and deportation processes.
Estate Lawyers – These estate planning lawyers draft legal documents like powers of attorney, trusts, wills, deeds and tax implications.
Personal Injury Lawyers – Personal injury refers to both physical harm as well as mental harm. These lawyers help the injured individuals in recovering the damages, defending them in cases where they are sued for damages, filing medical malpractice cases as well as any product related lawsuits.
Civil Rights Lawyers – Civil rights lawyers or attorneys help people protect their civil rights or recover damages if their civil rights have been tampered with by the government or any other entity. Their salary varies from 4 to 6 lakhs per annum.
Criminal Lawyers – They are again of two types: prosecutors and defense attorneys. Defense attorneys represent individuals or group of individuals accused of committing a crime while prosecutors represent the government or the state. There is a wide variation in the salary of criminal lawyers and can range between 3 lakhs to 12 lakhs per annum depending upon your profile.
Government Lawyers – The Union, State or Local governments all have lawyers and attorneys on staff. These lawyers assist the government with all legal frameworks. Their salary varies from 3 to 5 lakhs per annum.
Intellectual Property Lawyers – These attorneys handle cases ranging from IP, patents, trademarks and copyrights. They operate in one of the newest and fastest growing segments with starting salaries from Rs 4 Lakh onwards.
Tax Lawyers – Tax is a very dynamic subject with 1000s of notifications and circulars issued by the tax and corporate departments every quarter. Tax laws get amended almost every year and the courts across India have different points of view on the same question of law. It is one of the attractive role of young lawyers to explore as apart from the diversity and opportunities, it also comes with a good remuneration package. The starting salaries average around Rs 5-7 lakhs per year at a good law firm.
Future Scope & Opportunities
The liberalisation and globalisation of 1991 changed the way how legal professionals operated in India. After the signing of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) by India in 1995, legal services sector also came under its scope. But the Bar Council has continued to oppose the advent of foreign firms in India and as per the 1961 Advocate Act in the Constitution, only advocates can practice law in India. One of the eligibility criteria for an advocate is that he should be an India citizen.
The honourable Supreme Court has, though allowed for foreign firms to come and advise clients on a casual basis, widely referred to as ”fly in fly out” basis. The protectionist measures as far as the legal profession is concerned, has come in for some criticism as well considering the virtual monopoly it creates and deprives the client of choices available to him. Irrespective of how this pans out in the longer term, there is a huge demand for attorneys and lawyers in India and the current base is unable to fulfill the needs. Even the positions of higher orders like the Judges of the High Court are still vacant and India needs more legal professionals over the next couple of decades to be able to fulfill the wide demand for legal services.