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UGC-NET: An Advocate’s Exploration of Beyond the Run-of-the-Mill

The sight of a swarm of Advocates walking out of the courts can at times be pretty intimidating for a first generation Lawyers, with little to no connections in the field. For these first generation Lawyers and many others, who have found their calling in legal research and writing, and are willing to explore the world of academics, the UGC NET or the NTA-UGC-NET seems like a tailor-made career option. NET is the gateway for law graduates who aspire to enter the field of academics and impart their knowledge to the students who aspire to be the future Advocates of the country. Essentially a test to determine the ability of one for the post of assistant professors NET also offers lucrative posts of Junior Research Fellowship to aspirants interested in entering the field of legal research, legal writing and analysis. PSUs have also started considering NET scores, thereby making this exam a substitute to CLAT Post-graduate for entry into PSUs.

In addition to the opportunity to become Associate Professor or a Professor, there are monetary perks of clearing NET, too. An official notification issued by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, dated 2nd November 2017, the current 7th Central Pay Commission puts assistant professors of Government Universities in the Pay bracket of Rs. 57,700/- per month and along with this basic salary, come the Housing Allowances, Dearness Allowances and other allowances, too. An annual three percent increment in the basic salary is the cherry on the top. This makes the post of Assistant Professor one of the most lucrative government service in the market. Other than being Assistant Professor, a selected candidate can also apply for Junior Research Fellowship, depending upon the merit and be promoted to Senior Research Fellow, subsequently. A Junior Research Fellow is paid a stipend of Rs. 25,000/- per month. If registered for PhD, after the completion of two years, the candidate is selected for Senior Research Fellowship and the stipend also increases from 25,000 per month to 28,000 per month.

With the number of Universities and Institutions offering 5 years integrated LLB program increasing by the day, the demand for assistant professors and Research Fellows is also increasing. For candidates who want to explore the field of law beyond the traditional practise of individual litigation practise or joining a law firm, NET provides ample amount of opportunities, ranging from academics to higher studies, to corporate world to going abroad for further research and academic opportunities. It is also important to note here that a candidate appearing in the final year of LL. B. or an LL. B. graduate cannot apply for UGC-NET. To apply for UGC-NET, a candidate must have to complete masters in Law, as a pre-requisite condition. Amidst all the discussions, one thing can be said with certainty that with the expanding horizons of law, law graduates cannot simply stick to drafting legal documents in a black coat and run from one courtroom to another. There is an imminent need for legal research, new legal publications, to cater to the different aspects of businesses and the segments of the society. UGC-NET is the way to go about it.

-Yash Shah