You see this fancy tag of an LLB degree along with CS in many lawyers’ credentials on Linkedin. But is it right for everyone? What exactly does it entail?
The Company Secretary (CS) course is said to give you an edge over others who don’t pursue it because it gives you an in-depth knowledge of compliances and the business field, which you don’t get in law school.
1. It is useful wherein companies specifically want a lawyer with a CS degree
During placements, a few companies search for candidates with a CS degree for compliance work in Merger & Acquisition transactions or any private placement investments, commercial transactions etc. While the dual degree increases your chances of placement, that still means the chances of placement is increased only in companies that prefer a CS degree over just an LLB degree.
2. It is perfectly legal to do LLB along with CS
Section 2 (xxiii) of the Rules of Legal Education, 2008 defines ‘Regular Course of Study:’ “It means and includes a course which runs for at least five hours a day continuously with an additional half an hour recess every day and running not less than thirty hours of working schedule per week.” This section allows for you to pursue both at once, so do not worry.
Section 6 of the Rules states that: “No student shall be allowed to simultaneously register for a law degree program with any other graduate or postgraduate or certificate course run by the same or any other University or an Institute for academic or professional learning excepting in the integrated degree program of the same institution. Provided that any short period part-time certificate course on language, computer science or computer application of an Institute or any course run by a Centre for Distance Learning of a University, however, shall be exempted.”
Thus, even though the first part of Section 6 seems contradictory to the definition above, the proviso for Section 6 does apply here as CS is an online professional course wherein all the learning material is provided by the Institute of Company Secretaries and an individual is only expected to give the scheduled exams by studying those materials online. Thus, it comes well within the ambit of “ any course run by a Centre for Distance Learning of a University, however, shall be exempted.”
3. Do not take it just because your friends are taking it
Many students have this concern that they are being left behind while their classmates or other law students are going to coaching centres, etc. Will you jump off a cliff if your friend does? As cliche as this quote may sound, it’s true. Remember that CS is a professional course that requires a lot of hard work and commitment, so choose it solely based on your interest and not because your friends are doing it or because it fetches you a lot of money.
4. Do not choose it if you want to go into litigation
This course is for those who are inclined towards corporate law. This does not mean a corporate lawyer must have a CS degree also. You also need to give up your CS certificate of practice if you want to pursue litigation. Firms usually have corporate lawyers and litigation lawyers on standby, so you can pick which career you prefer more.
5. Do not clear a few levels and then leave it
If you are doing CS, my advice would be to go all the way. Section 205 of the Companies Act, 2013 lays down the duties a CS should perform. The 3 stages are Foundation, Executive, Professional. CS Executive have similar subjects to what you study in law school, which is an advantage of doing both CS and LLB. This does not mean you do not need to study things in CS apart from the 5-6 subjects you have in your law school syllabus each year. While many people who stop at the Executive level are still able to get hired, many companies these days prefer 1 CS professional in their legal team, so make sure you stand out.
6. You CAN do your CS articleship while doing law
A CS articleship (also called training) is done after clearing the executive level of CS. It means that you will need to work under a CS firm for a certain amount of time. If you have passed the foundation level (entrance level), you should do an internship of 3 years. Incase you passed 1 out of 2 executive-level modules, the duration is for 1 year and 3 months. If you have passed the final/professional level, you only need to do an internship for a year. However, along with CS Articleship, a student has to attend 24 hours of Professional Development Program sessions (PDPs) (3 sessions, 8 hours each) and go through an Executive Development Program which lasts for 8 days. These are conducted by ICSI regional chapters.
Refer to bare acts to help you with those. Once you complete your CS professional along with articleship, you’ll be an associate Company Secretary. You shall also be registered as a member of ICSI.
7. Don’t choose it if you want a lot of time on your hands
Remember: You are studying this course parallelly with LLB and not after it. Many say: “There is no time for anything, you have to make time for it”. While this is true, do not choose it if you feel it will hamper your mental health, academics or any other co-curricular activities you want to do. Time isn’t endless.
Pro Tip: If you want to do mooting as well as pursue CS, choose corporate moots as those will be somewhat related to your CS degree and you don’t have to work as hard for the research. Mooting competitions help you increase your speaking skills (not to mention confidence) and help you learn more in-depth about the scope of laws in India and around the world. On the other hand, CS helps you with compliance skills and accounting related work.
Now, you can go ahead and decide as to whether to want to go for CS + LLB or not. It is preferable to start CS Foundation right from the 1st or 2nd year so you can finish by the time you graduate with an LLB degree.
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About the Author: Anjali Baskar is from the School of Law, Christ University. Her interests in law include Public Policy, ADR/ODR, Criminal Law, IPR/Entertainment Law, etc.
About the Editor: Palak Aggarwal is from National Law University, Odisha. She is interested in Arbitration Law, Intellectual Property Law, Competition Law and Corporate Law.