Law practitioners in India are called Advocates. An Advocate is one who has obtained a Bachelors of Law (LL.B.) degree and is admitted to the Bar in any state in India. State Bars, commonly referred as Bar Councils, do not conduct entrance examinations, and LL.B. degree holders can obtain admission to the Bar Council of the state in which they desire to practise law, immediately on obtaining the LL.B. degree.
On admission to a Bar Council, an Advocate can practice in all courts in India. However, to practise in the Supreme Court as an Advocate on Record, one has to take a separate admission examination.
In Mumbai (Bombay), the British solicitor-barrister system is in vogue. To become a solicitor, a candidate has to complete three years of clerkship with a senior solicitor and then pass the solicitor's examination conducted by the Bombay Incorporated Law Society. Clients in Mumbai (Bombay) prefer to deal with solicitors, and many firms do not allow non-solicitors to become partners.
Law firms in India are relatively small in size. Under India's Companies Act, 1956, a partnership in India cannot have more than twenty partners. Except for a handful of firms in India, most law firms are small-sized family firms having two to five partners and between ten to thirty attorneys. In the larger firms also, it is rare to find specialists. Thus, when dealing with Indian lawyers, the abilities and time constraints of the individual lawyer should be given higher importance than the size of the firm.
English is the official language in India, and all legal contracts are drafted in English. However, in smaller towns, contracts and court proceedings are drafted and conducted in the regional language.
Companies doing business in India should note that Indian lawyers are not required to carry malpractice insurance. Therefore, lawyers should be chosen carefully.