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Two weeks ago, we launched another six question survey, one that was open to both law graduates and students. The survey sought to understand why one chooses to study law, how one goes about it, and what do law graduates eventually think about their legal education.
A total of 1,055 people participated in the survey, out of which 62% (655 participants) were law graduates and 38% (400 participants) were law students. A total of six questions (wonder wonder) were asked including:
1. Why law?
So why do Indian students choose to pursue the study of law? In consonance with our previous findings, 55% of the law graduates, and 75% of the law students were pursuing law because of a genuine interest.
However, there still continues to be a fraction which underwent the course due to family/peer pressure. Slowly and steadily, this percentage is going down.
The number of those attracted by the money is also rising, with 10% of the graduates and 12% of the students choosing it for money. Others ended up in law schools by a process of elimination. There were some altruistic ones out there as well, pursuing law with a view to helping society.
And just when is the decision to take up a legal education made?
While a little over 20% of the law graduates developed an interest before their pre-graduation years, this figure increases to 24% for current law students. The prime period continues to be the pre-graduation phase, with 40% of the law graduates and 55% of the law students choosing this option.
A little more than 30% of the law graduates developed an interest in law during law school; this number has dropped for existing law students. It can be inferred that preferences are developing earlier.
And the optional comments section provided another angle as well. Some law grads said that they only became interested in the law after they graduated; there were some who said that law held no interest at all.
The majority of participants, law graduates and law students alike, continue to be first-generation lawyers. These statistics validate, to some degree, the findings of a previous survey. The percentage of first generation lawyers is nearly identical across the two categories, 75% for law graduates and 77% for law students. Hopefully, these numbers will continue to grow, and we will watch bright young minds challenge the status quo.
2. The pursuit of legal education
Common entrance examinations, even mismanaged ones, are the way forward. Only 26% of graduates did not write an entrance exam; the figure drops further to only 15% for current law students. Thus far though, entrance examinations have produced a startling amount of litigation, from the BCI-CET tussle, to CLAT-induced petitions.
The bulk of law graduates (37%) and students (58%), prepared for less than a year for the law entrance examination. The number of students who studied for over two years, however, is steadily rising. While only 2.5% of the law graduates fall in this category, this figure rises to 9% amongst current law students.
The proportion of those with zero preparation drops from 34% (law graduates) to 18% (law students). This indicates the increasing amounts of time (and money) being invested into the law entrance examination process.
3. How was your legal education?
The final question was different for lawyers, and law students. The graduates were asked whether they were practicing in the area of law in which they had wanted to. The majority (61%) answered in the affirmative. The reasons why the remaining 39% sticking to another practice area, are not known.
Law students were asked whether they were receiving the education that they had expected. Once again, the majority (60%) answered in the affirmative.