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Masters of Law (LL.M) Course Admissions 2017 - 2018 Academic Year
Course Description - The form and concept of legal education in India has undergone tremendous change in the last two decades most prominently because of the advent of the concept of the premier NLUs or what are known as the National Law Universities. People have now begun to take the profession of law much more seriously than they did previously. And the number of students who are attempting the famous CLAT each year is on an exponential rise. CLAT is most famous for being the entrance exam that gets aspiring lawyers a seat in the premier National Law Universities. While the B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), the integrated course is the bachelor course, LLM is the master counterpart. Besides opting to sit for placements, LLM or legum magister in Latin is the most favourite choice of B.A. LL.B. graduates. And today, more number of bachelor graduates are going abroad for LLM than ever before. There are a number of scholarships available that facilitate and help candidates deal with finances better while they are abroad mastering in law. However, coming back to the Indian context, the very importance of LLM is realized in the fact that based on the score one achieves in CLAT for PG, many PSUs intake students for jobs usually as their in house counsels. Although students get to choose once while pursuing their bachelor degree in law their honours subject (which comes to them as some sort of specialization), LLMs too offer a great degree of specialization to the students. Some of the most opted specializations are Corporate and Financial Law and Policy, International Trade and Investment Law, IPR and Technology Laws and Taxation Laws. Also, there is a great deal of research work that LLM students do. At most universities, there is a research committee appointed for the purpose. Otherwise, there are faculty members to supervise the scholars. Although it sounds easy to get an LLM (when talking about the duration of the program), it is not so easy. Most LLM scholars need to write two research papers and secure at least 50% marks in each paper, failing to do which the scholar may be provided an opportunity to appear one more time within three months from the date of publication of the results.
Duration - In most law schools today, the duration of the LLM program is one year. However, there are still some traditional universities where they have a two year LLM program. In fact, duration is the very impetus that drives BALLB bachelors to opt for LLM because after having studied continuously for 5 years, studying another year doesn’t sound to be a tough nut to crack.
Eligibility - To be eligible for a seat in LLM program in a law school, the aspirant needs to have a bachelor degree in law. Luckily, there is no restriction or age limit for admission into most institutions in this master level program. These days, in fact there are a number of institutions that provide students the opportunity to learn without having to necessarily relocate to a new city. Through the mode of distance learning, a number of institutions such as Dr. Ambedkar Law College are providing LLM degrees to aspirin candidates. However, talking about the full time and usually residential LLM programs and especially when we are talking about admission into one of the premier NLUs, the entrance test that one needs to take is once again the CLAT. Each year around July is conducted the Common Law Entrance Test, better known now as CLAT which is an entrance test both for the UG as well as the PG level. The eligibility criteria for CLAT (PG) is that candidates need to have a minimum percentage of marks in their qualifying examination of their LLB (3 years) or B.A. LL.B. (integrated 5 year program) or any other equivalent exam. The marks required in case of a candidate belonging to the General, OBC or Differently Abled Persons is 55% while that required for candidates belonging to the SC or ST category is 50% only. Additionally the candidate must have passed or appeared in the final year exams on the date of his or her admission. For candidates who have just appeared in the qualifying exams in the university where they are doing their bachelors from, they need to submit their final results within a given time frame until which time the candidate may only have a provisional admission. CLAT also has a tie-breaking mechanisms in case scores of two candidates are equal.
Cost of Study - LLM is a pretty affordable program. In fact there are a number of universities where the per annum fee payable for both UG and PG programs are the same. For instance, the total fee payable by both UG (annually) and PG students at National Law University, Jodhpur is Rs. 1,24,500 only. At National Law Institute University, Bhopal, LLM students need to shell out an amount close to Rs. 2 lakhs. Now this was about the premier NLUs. Let us talk about some traditional universities and some reputed private ones as well. For instance, Symbiosis Law School, Pune charges a moderate Rs. 1.20 lakhs while at Faculty of Law, Jamia Milia Islamia, the fee is only Rs. 17,200. Thus clearly, there is a huge variation going on here. As aforementioned these days we have a lot of institutions offering correspondence LLMs, the cost of the program through distance course at Bhuvaneshwari Correspondence College, Bangalore is just about Rs. 13,000 and at National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India’s most sought after NLU it is only Rs. 64,300.
Admission Procedure - Based on the institution where one wants to get an LLM from, the procedure of admission may differ. For instance, the procedure to get enrolled into an LLM program into any of the reputed NLUs is qualifying the entrance test called CLAT. However, most other colleges take students into LLM program based on their merit while others may conduct their own entrance tests.
Career Prospects - As professions such as medical and law are somewhat different from professional courses like engineering, it does reflect in their master level program. With law, it is entirely different. What one needs to understand is that people do not opt for master in law for better job prospect always but to gain more knowledge in a field of law. As aforementioned, there are several areas in which one can specialize. So, it is only a better idea to specialize and enhance one’s knowledge base in Corporate or Taxation laws if one is sure that he or she is going to practice law in that area. Nonetheless, the fact remains that if after completing his bachelor degree, one has a shining LLM from a reputed university, it only enhances the chances of one landing better placements at reputed law firms. And there are segments such as the Intellectual Property Laws where firms mostly prefer candidates with an LLM over those who have freshly passed out of law school with a bachelor degree. Having an LLM degree can often translate into better pay packages.
Higher Study Opportunities - After completing LLM, if one’s love for academics hasn’t waned, one can choose to earn a Doctorate in Law, that is, a Ph.D. However, the number of people who go for a Ph.D. program is very less because law is a professional course. Students who decide to join this profession do this usually with the intention of practising law as soon as they are out of law school and earning a Ph.D. significantly delays that prospect. Now, one must understand that law is one such profession in which learning never stops. With fresh judgments and new legislations coming out every now and then, any lawyer cannot afford to not remain updated. Ask this from a corporate lawyer and he is going to tell you about what difference do RBI notifications make in the life of a lawyer specializing in banking laws. For the uninitiated, RBI notifications can roll out daily and that translates into a somewhat new law every day.