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Going by the law book

education Updated: May 23, 2012 12:45 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
A criminal lawyer deals in criminal cases of various kinds. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) describes various offences that can be tried under law. These are offences against human body (murder, culpable homicide, kidnapping etc), property (theft, extortion, robbery etc) and so on. As a criminal lawyer, you might either prosecute or defend the accused involved in a criminal act. You get to argue cases, prepare evidence and evaluate the investigations by law enforcement personnel. At times, you might also feel the need to perform investigation yourself, by speaking to the witnesses or visiting the crime site. Being a criminal lawyer requires a lot of hard work and an indepth knowledge of the IPC. Some prominent names include Ram Jethmalani, Sushil Kumar and Sidharth Luthra

For a lawyer working in a law firm:
8am: Reach office
8.30am: Check mails; draft appeals, applications etc
10am: Proceed to the courts for various cases listed for that day
3pm: Leave court
3.30pm to 6pm: Counsel clients
6pm to 8:30pm: Prepare for the cases listed for the next day, also prepare case notes as required
9pm: Call it a day

The payoff
At the entry level (for lawyers with up to five years of experience), the salary of a criminal lawyer would usually be modest, starting at Rs. 5,000 per month approximately. However, it would increase with time depending on the ability and dedication of the individual

* Good communication skills
* Quick responsiveness
* Open, flexible mind
* Good authoritative leadership qualities
* Patience

Getting there
Pass Class 12 in any stream. Sit for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)/ other entrance tests conducted by individual institutions and take admission in BA LLB, which is a five-year course. Or, opt for graduation and then take admission in the three-year degree programme, LLB, conducted by Delhi University and other institutes of higher learning. Admission to the course will be on the basis of admission test

Institutes and URLs
* Delhi University, Delhi;
* NSLIU, Banglore;
* Government Law College, Mumbai;

Pros and cons
* Can be an exciting profession
* You can save an innocent person from a life in prison
* With enough experience, you can have handsome financial gains

There is a serious dearth of good criminal lawyers in the country. The country needs hard working and ethical lawyers Sunil Dalal, criminal lawyer, based in Delhi