Career Questions Answered: Criminal Lawyer; Maritime Law; LLM from an NLU; LLM from Abroad

By Tanuj Kalia

1. Where can I find the details of case “Abdul Aziz vs Masum Ali”.

Details? As in you want the full text of the judgment?

Indiankanoon.org is generally a good source to look for cases.

Abdul Aziz v Masum Ali is here.

This is a very basic question and it’s surprising that a law student asked it in the first place.

BTW I hope you know about things like citations and case reporters like those three letter abbreviations: SCC, AIR etc?

2. I am a final year law student and desire to practice as a criminal lawyer in the future. I am going to be a first generation lawyer having no background or experience. Could you give me some advice on how to get started?

By the time you are in final year, you should have ideally (already) created the ‘background’ and the ‘experience’.

The developing a ‘background’ includes taking up subjects on Criminal Law, publishing papers and attending conferences on the subject and doing the related moots.

While attending conferences don’t focus only on your paper or your talk. Focus on other’s papers and talks too. And talk to them too. That’s how you make friends and build connections.

You should also be following leading criminal cases in the news and reading ( since that’s what your vocation is) up on the legalities part of these cases.

Even going through the interviews of leading criminal lawyers, which are published in dozens in media, should serve as good lessons.

Start young, though it's OK if you start old
Start young, though it’s OK if you start old

The developing an ‘experience’ comes from interning under criminal lawyers (if I were you I’d have done at least 3 criminal law internships till now: one at a district court, a second one at a High Court and a 3rd one at the Supreme Court).

You could also have had a ‘mentor’, a criminal law lawyer or even a good professor under whose tutelage you’d grow better and faster.

Anyway, there still is time. Do the internships. When you interact ‘personally’ with successful criminal law lawyers you’ll know exactly how to start; you’ll know about the pros and the cons.

You can also do a basic research of who the best criminal law lawyers are (in the district court nearest to you), visit the best 3-4 lawyers (call them up or just land up in their office) and interview them!

You’ll be surprised to know how most of the lawyers will be happy to help a young law student.

This is hard work, but then everything is.

3. Wish to know the scope of a career in Maritime Law in India? To be specific, job vacancies, salaries offered, sufficient work, etc.

So, when I was in second year, IP and Sports Law were my fascinations.

I interned at Fidus Law Chambers, under Mr. Anish Dayal, who has Rajasthan Royals as one of his clients.

I asked him a similar question, “Sir, how’s Sports Law as a Career?

He answered (something on the lines of), “Actually, there is nothing special about Sports Law. In the end you are dealing with Contracts and the Rights of people in the sports industry.”

“So first and foremost, your basics…the Law of Contracts and the Constitution should be sound. Then it’s all about understanding the industry and working with the players in it: sportsmen, sports bodies, etc.”

So, the answer for you too is: make sure your ‘basics’ are great. You should be able to read, research and draft like a pro. You should know your Torts, Contracts and Consti and the back of your hand and then think about these.

To the competent and the hard-working jobs will come, salaries will rise and work will exist till ships sail in the sea.

Knowledge on Maritime Law. See HERE.

Law firms where you can work/intern at (mostly in Mumbai) are HERE.

Comment: For Maritime Law, lawyers in Bombay and Calcutta would be great to intern with (eg. Mr. Ranjan Bachhawat in Calcutta).

Further, try and see if your college offers Maritime/ Admiralty law as an elective. Do take it up. Maritime Law is a great area to work in, however, these lawyers do a tonne of other work also, so they don’t really deal exclusively in these matters

This won't happen to your career
This won’t happen to your career. Erm hopefully. Fingers crossed.

4. Is there placement after doing LL.M. from national law colleges getting admission through CLAT.

And secondly, after B.A.LL.B. is there any job in which person can also do his own private practice?

There’s a joke which went around for a while.

The ‘ladder of power’ in NLUs:

1. 5th year students

2. Photocopier

3. Faculty

4. 4th year students

5. Other students

6. Other staff

7. Dogs and other animals

8. LLM students

It’s mean and it’s painful but does contain some reality.

However, with the 1 year LLM now in place things have changed for good, slightly.

NOTE: Sincere apologies to those whose feelings got hurt because of this loose comment (mea culpa).

For someone who wants to get placed at law firms or in companies and LLM from an Indian College holds little or no value.

If academics and research is your cuppa, an LLM will help.

And of course, you can set up your own practice after your graduation (what sort of a question is this), but for that you’ll have to be a super-star (what sort of an answer is this).

5. I am 3rd Sem Amity Law School, Noida student. I am doing very good in academics here, I wanted to study LLM from abroad on scholarship. So, what are the options which I have?

Please see THIS.

You can ask your career questions HERE.

In case you feel like answering any of the questions, please do leave a comment  and help the seekers! 

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