In India, legal education refers to the education to a legal professional before they enrol as advocate or before they commence their legal practice. In India, legal education is offered at various levels by specialised national law schools (national law universities) or through traditional universities or through private universities.
In traditional universities legal education is offered at two different courses. These courses are generally called 3 year LL.B or 5 year integrated LL.B. Anyone who has completed the 12th standard with minimum 50% marks and who has not completed the age of 20 can join for 5 year integrated LL.B courses.
Some of the traditional universities offer this as a twin degree course where the student gets a basic degree after the third year (which is equivalent to that of any other graduation) and LL.B degree after the fifth year. However, there are other universities which offer a honours degree at the end of fifth year. For example; B.A, LL.B (Hons.), BBA, LL.B (Hons.), B.Com, LL.B (Hons.) etc. Simultaneously, those who have completed any graduation with a minimum of 50% marks can enrol for 3 year LL.B course.
In the late 1980’s the concept of specialised universities for imparting legal education was evolved and national law schools are established exclusively for imparting legal education in India. India’s first national law school was established in Bangalore under the provisions of National Law School of India Act, 1986 and the first batch was admitted to five year integrated LL.B course.
At present there are 18 national law schools in India. Till 2008, admissions to these national law schools are through separate entrance examination conducted by each national law schools. However, since 2008 all the national law schools (except National Law University, Delhi) jointly conducting a common entrance examination called Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for admitting students to LL.B as well as LL.M courses.
Now the admissions to national law schools (except National Law University, Delhi) are through CLAT and a centralised allotment system is adopted for seat allotment. However, except National Law University, Delhi conducts a separate entrance test through which they screen the candidates before admitting to the LL.B or LL.M course.
At present, in India, there are around 900 law colleges in India for imparting legal education. However, it is necessary to note that, in order to consider a law degree as a valid degree and to get enrolled as an advocate, the course has to be approved by the Bar Council of India (BCI) and University Grants Commission (UGC). Further, even the college or the institute which offering the law degree shall have the Bar Council accreditation and UGC approval.
All those who have completed LL.B on or after 2010 shall now undergo an all India examination called All India Bar Examination (AIBE) in order to get enrolled as advocate in the roll of Bar Council. Only then he can practice as an advocate and file vakalatnama in his name.