Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Is an LLB enough for an LPO ..The GLPC Test

One of the concerns expressed by foreign law firms offshsoring to India, is whether Indian attorneys have the capacity to deliver work on par with their US counterparts. The basis of this concern seems to be the fact that the US attorney has to clear a Bar exam apart from the law exams, which is not the case with the Indian attorney. I think this is a very reasonable concern.

As a teacher of law it has become apparent to me, that the law as taught in our law colleges is strictly examination oriented. In India, law degrees are conferred either after a 5-year law course following secondary school (BSL.LLB.), or as a post-graduate degree in law, (LLB.) Both courses chiefly teach the origin of law, which perforce is a study of British law, and the principal codes of law in India.

Are either of these degrees a sufficient qualification for working in an LPO? Yes, if the work is the sort of work that most LPOs are getting presently, which is mostly a filling of data for summonses, warrants, bankruptcy forms, that any clerk, given some basic training could do.

If however, you are looking at more complicated legal work, a BSL.LLB or an LLB. is not enough. Reviewing documents for assessing their relevancy in a court proceeding, judging patent infringements, or deciding whether a particular document is ‘hot’ needs a more in-depth knowledge of law. Furthermore, the work of drafting documents, or legal research work is impossible to be done competently, with just a Bachelor’s Degree. In fact, for the LLB course, drafting of documents is taught in just the final semester. Legal research is not taught at all.

A Masters degree in Law (LLM), however, makes up for that. The LLM course teaches a study of law from a totally different perspective. The reason, cause and effect of laws is studied which requires a disbanding all the various parts of law and putting them together again. The process necessarily involves use of all your commonsense, reasoning powers, and intelligence. Review and research tools, the process and methodology of legal research are also learned here.

Those few LPOs that are getting high-end legal research work, employ LLB holders to do it, after (perhaps), giving them a very, very brief training on the project. They however, do employ professionals with a Masters Degree in Law to do the actual, final, quality work on the project. If the work is medico-legal in nature, medical professionals too may be called in for a final dekko.

To conclude, while Indian professionals may not have a Bar exam to pass in order to qualify them to deliver work as good as the US attorney, a Masters degree in Law more than meets the demand.

Another test that has been developed by LPOs to enable them to access the best professionals available in India, is the Global Legal Professional Certification Test, available online. The test assesses a candidate’s professional, legal and technical knowledge, as well as his command over English. It also claims to test ethics. In my opinion, an in-depth interview of a prospective candidate would serve a similar purpose, but the test coulda serve to give professionals an edge, when it comes to cutting out the competition which is going to get cut-throat soon.

Nothing however, can beat the training provided by a handful of LPOs, in US and UK laws and procedures. Unfortunately, few LPOs do this. The reason could be the time consumed in such training , as also the fact that considering the rate of attrition, very often the benefits reaped could be by someone other than the trainer. But this sort of training coupled with a higher degre in law is invaluable, for LPOs seeking to develop a high-quality bank of employees to work on complicated legal projects.


manisha said...
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Devakishor Soraisam said...

Yesterday someone was telling me that about LPO, and that I don't even require even a LLB for that.

Guess he was talking of some clerical positions only.

Nice informative post, cleared a lot of doubts.

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