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THE CHANGING DIMENSIONS OF LEGAL PROFESSION IN

INDIA
-Siri N Yale
4th Semester
BA.LLB.
University Law
College
Bangalore
University

One of the primary causes for the changes that we see before us in the legal profession is that of
globalization. Globalization has been described by Dutch academic Ruud Lubbers, as a process
in which geographic distance becomes a factor of diminishing importance in the establishment
and maintenance of cross border economic, political and socio-cultural relations. This process of
globalization can be of three kinds: (i) technological globalization; (ii) political globalization,
and (ii) economic globalization. The notion of globalization has been something akin to an action
whose reaction can still be felt decades on from its advent. These three kinds of globalization can
also be considered as the movers of globalization where they not only push the geographical
boundaries of any country, but simultaneously push its political and economic frontiers in a bid
to reduce the vast distances that would have separated these nations from each other in a fight to
up the other.
Though technological and political globalization have no doubt made a mark in the histories of
any nation state, it has been observed time and again that economic globalization has been one of
the foremost participants in a bid to push forth the country from a path different to what was
once set out for it. Economic globalisation of India not only opened her markets to the outside
world but also brought about changes in her development where a new focus was placed on
providing a myriad of opportunities for many more individuals to prove their worth in a field of
their choice. This was principally accomplished upon the economic principle of Demand and
Supply. The theory of Demand and Supply talks about how any market in the world
predominantly depends on two major aspects Demand for a certain good or commodity and the
Supply for the same good or commodity. This principle of Demand and Supply after the
globalisation of the Indian markets to face the economic crisis of the 1980s and the subsequent
liberalisation in the year 1991 slowly led to a demand for more specialisation in the production
of various types of goods and commodities, and the availability of dedicated services. This
demand for services of a more expertised nature in turn resulted in the need to supply this
growing demand for the same.
The advent of globalization of Indias economic upon the implementation of a new liberal policy
resulted in the steady, and yet growing need for more involvement from individuals in multiple
disciplines where a generalised form of practice was no longer necessary or required and was in
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turn replaced with a growing need for more profound knowledge in the individuals respective
fields. The yearning for knowledge was only further fuelled by a demand for this expertise
where it was deemed necessary by the ever growing laws and acts where the primary objective
was to provide the protection of the Indian legal system to all those that came under it.
The Indian legal system has had a past which ranges from the writings of the Vedas, to the Hindu
and Muslim justice systems, which were some of the principal influences of the future legal and
justice systems of the country. The Hindu and Muslim systems soon found a successor in the
British legal system where there was an introduction of different tiered court system to grapple
with the ever growing need for a more concrete judicial system in the Indian sub-continent. This
was furthered by the codification of various acts and laws and their introduction; the British also
introduced the Privy Council and the established High Courts and a Supreme Court which in turn
brought about recognition, wealth and prestige to the legal profession. Certain aspects of the
British legal system were adopted into the Indian legal system upon the attainment of
Independence and the subsequent implementation of the Constitution of India in the year of
1950.
The Indian legal profession at the advent of Independence only reflected the then nature of
Indias economic policies which bordered a form of protectionism. This then structure of Indias
legal profession was close knit where legal practice was concentrated to being a family unit and
not many dared to venture into the avenue of being considered a legal practitioner. Legal practice
prior to the liberalisation of Indias economy was primarily taken up by most the then
practitioners as a last resort to support and uplift themselves and their families. This was a lack
of regard for the legal profession by a majority of the populace who had failed to either
understand the true gravity for the necessity for a legal practitioner or the true nature of the legal
structure of a country and the need to understand it and learn it. The aversion to the study of the
legal profession lifted over time with the coming of economic globalisation. The economic
globalisation of Indias economy resulted in a growing need for more legal practitioners who
could comprehend the complexities of the niceties of the then new treaties and laws that were
being implemented to further the growth of the Indian economy through trade and other practices
with other countries and their establishments. This requirement further lead to the need for
specialisation in specific avenues of the legal system where they would be possess the ability and
capacity to direct and guide all those persons and entities that would require their guidance.
The need for specialisation in specific avenues for instance, led to bringing about crucial changes
and innovations to revolutionise the legal education system as a whole. The most significant of
these transformations was the implementation of the five-year integrated LLB. Programme
attracted numerous students to the many institutions that hosted it. This new programme
brought about an imperative change in the nature of study of the Indian legal system and the
legal profession as a whole. The students of the same programme, though they initially only
made up of around 20% of the then total amount of law students and graduates at the
introduction of integrated programme were easily identified of being lawyers of a higher calibre.
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The implementation of this programme also resulted in affording law students the opportunity to
study the legal structure and framework of the country in a manner of their choosing, and
practice their trade in any area of their choosing.
The nature and dimensions of legal practice in India currently is such that each its primary aim
is to prove to everyone that legal aid and justice are neither delayed nor denied to any of the
individuals. The changing structure of the legal profession also brought about numerous
instances which reflected the difficulties faced by not only legal practitioners but also those who
sought legal aid. With the advent of globalisation, several foreign law firms also began to
establish a clientele in India who provided expensive but quality legal aid. This in turn prompted
Indian practitioners to establish law firms of the similar scale if not more to offer quality legal
aid and services to the local populace at more negotiable prices. Even though any growth and
change in structure may result in something which may be deemed good or a necessary or
required change, there have also been recorded drawbacks to any changes in the structure.
Previously, the dimensions of the legal profession were unilateral with its primary focus on
litigation and lacking any major scope for growth in areas such as the corporate sector and
others. The preceding form of the legal structure and frame work was such that most of the
practice of the law occurred in court rooms where the cases were tried by weary judges of a legal
system which did not appreciate any other alternative forms of dispute resolution to ease the
burden on the judiciary in matters which had the competence to be heard in private capacity and
save the court ample time. This in turn resulted in encumbering the extent of justice served by
the judiciary.
With the dawn of globalisation of Indias economy, there arrived a range of opportunities for the
market to harness and utilise numerous expertise in various avenues of the law. This in turn as
stated earlier led to an increase in demand for individuals who were specifically trained in certain
aspects of the Indian legal system. The demand for these individuals led to a growth of
competitive legal corporations, and numerous corporations deemed it imperative that they house
their own legal aids to ensure continuous and sprightly legal protection. This growth of
competitive legal entities resulted in creating an environment which was overly competitive and
harboured unhealthy lifestyles due to the excessive workload that was borne by legal
practitioners.
It can be seen that the ever changing dimensions of the legal profession can be seen as both a
boon and a curse for its practitioners. It is a boon as such where a myriad of opportunities are
being offered to the practitioner where they are afforded the choices their predecessors did not
have the privilege to claim, majorly due to the lack of demand for their services of such a nature.
These ever changing dimensions may be considered as a boon to lawyers because of the
availability of choice. No longer do students of the law and lawyers have to consider their choice
of taking up a course as such and becoming a lawyer as anything which would hinder their future
in any manner or restrict their available choices. No longer are the students to ponder over
whether there any avenues for them to take in the study of law due to the many alternatives that
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have been made available to them during the course of their study. But yet, these ever changing
dimensions of the legal profession in India where lawyers and students of the law are struggling
to ensure that they stay up to par with their contemporaries from the rest of the world for the
most part lead them to path of long and sleepless nights, where they strive to garner any and all
sleep that would come their way as they work long hours and there has been a collapse of the
social environment of the legal workplace. This collapse may be attributed to the primary
requirement of where work satisfaction has been replaced with ensuring that legal practice may
be strictly entrepreneurial and commercial in nature.
Hence it can be inferred that though there has been innumerable changes in the dimensions of the
legal profession in India, especially due to corporatization and specialisation these very
changes though they might have led to reactions which are not highly favourable, they have at
the same time led to key required transformations in Indias legal system and education.