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How to Become Supreme Court Lawyer in India? Step by Step Guide

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27th Sep, 2023
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How to Become Supreme Court Lawyer in India? Step by Step Guide

The judiciary is one of the four pillars of democracy. And in India, the Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the country. Thus, it automatically makes the Supreme Court lawyers one of the country’s pivotal professionals. But is it that easy to attain this prestigious position? Certainly not. However, with utmost dedication and sincerity, the chances of being an advocate in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India rise exponentially. 

Undoubtedly, students are perplexed about their careers after passing class 12th. But we have it sorted out for those who wish to pursue litigation. This blog will explain in detail how to become a Supreme Court lawyer

Step-by-Step Guide to Become a Supreme Court Lawyer in India

To see oneself as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India requires enduring many hardships. Along with a solid academic foundation, the candidates should learn how to deal with real-world problems. As in this strenuous journey, the aspirants must dedicate time to practising what they have learned to solve real cases. 

Now, let us see the steps required to achieve the prestigious position of Supreme Court advocate. 

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Step 1: Completing the Undergraduate degree in Law 

The very first step towards the goal of becoming a Supreme Court lawyer is to enrol in an LLB programme. Those candidates who have recently cleared the higher secondary will go for a 5 year integrated course through CLAT or other private colleges. Although, those who have graduated in other disciplines would need to do a 3-year LLB programme. 

Step 2: Gaining Experience

One of the most crucial elements in becoming a lawyer is to gain practical experience. To do so, a student can wait for the completion of their LLB programme. However, it is advisable to engage in internships with advocates or law firms during the tenure of the course. 

Absorbing practical knowledge and building the legal skills required to solve real-world problems is essential. It will make you industry-ready with added professionalism. 

Step 3: Enrol with State Bar Council

The profession of a lawyer in India is not only highly respected but is of utmost importance as well. Thus, to ensure sanity in the realm, it is mandatory for any lawyer first to get registered with the State Bar Council to be eligible to practise law as an advocate in the court.

Only after BCI approves them can they use their theoretical knowledge in the courts of India. 

Step 4: Clear All India Bar Examination (AIBE) 

Like other professions that hold a qualifying examination for their candidates, the field of law does the same. Here, aspiring lawyers must clear the All India Bar Exam to practise in the courts of law. This 100 marks exam is held annually by the Bar Council of India. The entire paper is based on objective questions for which the candidates get 3 hours and 30 minutes. And upon passing the examination and obtaining the certificate, the advocates can practise in court.

Step 5: Acquire Required Experience

Being a Supreme Court lawyer in India is a complex process. It takes a minimum of 6 years after completing the LLB programme. Now, how is that so? The answer is experience. 

One can practise as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India after completing 5 years of experience at subordinate courts, i.e., district and high courts. And then can go on to serve as a trainee under a Supreme Court advocate before independently practising the law. 

Step 6: Pass the Advocate on Record Exam

Another mandatory step before practising in the Supreme Court of India is to clear their examination. The Advocate on Record Exam (AOR) is conducted to evaluate the calibre of the lawyer practising in the apex court of India. Therefore, when the lawyer passes the exam, they are qualified to practise law in the Supreme Court of India. They must register as an Advocate on Record Member in the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Step 7: Own an Office 

After completing each required step, the lawyer must register for an office space. One thing that must be taken care of is that the registered office is within 10 miles of the premises of the Supreme Court. Also, the presence of a registered office clerk is mandatory.

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Detailed Structure of AOR Examination

One examination unique to those who aspire to be Supreme Court lawyers is the Advocate on Record exam. It ensures that those practising law there are well-versed with the required knowledge and legal skill. And after passing this exam, the lawyers are given a prestigious title and a huge responsibility. Thus, it is evident that the AOR exam isn’t an easy nut to crack. 

Let us see the complete structure of the Advocate on Record Exam. 

  1. The AOR examination is conducted once every year to determine which lawyers can practise law and represent their clients in the Supreme Court of India.
  2. The entire exam is split into 4 sets of papers conducted on 4 different days. 

Paper 1: Practice and procedure of Supreme Court

Paper 2: Drafting

Paper 3: Professional Ethics

Paper 4: Leading Cases

  1. Each paper has 100 marks and is filled with descriptive questions. There are 27 questions spread over four papers. 
  2. The time duration for each paper is 3 hours.  
  3. The lawyer must secure 50% in each paper and a total of 60% marks to pass the examination.
  4. Although, if the candidate couldn’t secure 60% marks in aggregate but successfully got 50% marks in each paper, or vice versa, they can reappear for the examination. However, the lawyer can only choose one of their preferred papers to repeat. 
  5. The candidates are only given five attempts to appear in the AOR examination. 
  6. The pattern of exam papers varies almost every year.
  7. The committee of three judges, chosen for this task by the Chief Justice of India, appoints special examiners for the AOR examination.

If you are wondering how to become a Supreme Court advocate, enrol in LL.M. in Corporate & Financial Law from JGU to learn from the cutting-edge curriculum about the legal aspect of corporate finance. The course will give you a thorough knowledge of the legal intricacies of corporate law firms, structuring commercial deals, and much more.

What Is Independent Law Practice?

In this journey of being a successful advocate, guidance from seniors is of great value. However, after getting the required training, several lawyers operate their legal firms rather than assist in a larger organisation. In this setup, with the freedom of choosing cases and clients comes an equal cut of unique challenges. 

With autonomy over work schedules come managing administrative tasks and limited resources. Here, one needs to build a reputation with a sound track of clients, which requires strong networking skills. Another element that lawyers in their independent journey must remember is to uphold ethical principles. This will help them gain high credibility and trust, two crucial components of the profession. 

Being an independent law practitioner, one also learns entrepreneurial skills. It also allows young lawyers to choose their niche and specialise in it. 

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Challenges of Young Lawyers Practising in SC/HC

The respect of being a lawyer can only be enjoyed after dealing with its fair share of challenges. Young law practitioners of the Supreme Court or high court especially go through some common issues. These affect them deeply in the initial days of their career. Some of these challenges are listed below:

  • Lack of experience
  • Dealing with higher expectations 
  • Extensive working hours
  • Difficulty in dealing with an environment of practise

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Skills To Be a Successful Advocate

Every profession demands a particular set of skills to ace it. Similarly, in the profession of an advocate, there are a particular set of skills that one must master to be a successful career in practising law. These skills are also the answer to how to become a lawyer of Supreme Court. So, let us dive into it. 

  • Public speaking skills

The first and foremost quality of a lawyer everyone notices is how they present their argument in a court of law. Therefore, it must be a lawyer’s most vital skill as it holds the power to turn things favourable on their part. 

Some elements that their speech must have are information, logic, clarity, terminologies, and expression. 

  • Investigating and applying logic

The various things that make a lawyer best at their job is how their mind works. Unlike the common people, they dive deep into a subject and investigate it using their analytical and logical skills.

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  • Teamwork

It might look like a lawyer works in isolation, but that’s not the reality. They work closely with secretaries, support staff, and some experts. Thus, the skill of working in a team is crucial for lawyers. 

  • Perseverance

In the journey of being a successful advocate, perseverance is one quality that the lawyer must have. During the initial days and even after attaining a good position, there will be days when the situation will be much more harsh than expected. And in those days, perseverance will help surpass it all.

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To be a Supreme Court lawyer in India demands a lot of dedication, perseverance and honest commitment towards the pursuit of justice. Challenges will come your way even after this, but the entire journey will be rewarding. 

A tip for all young lawyers would be to build strong networks and seek mentorship. Along with this, staying updated with legal developments is essential. All in all, there shouldn’t be any compromise in gaining advocacy skills, as this will only help you reach heights in this esteemed profession.

You can also sign up for LLM in Dispute Resolution to scale your career under the guidance of industry mentors and learn how to become an advocate in Supreme Court. The relevant case studies and dissertation will provide you with in-depth knowledge. 




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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How many years does it take to become a Supreme Court advocate?

Becoming a supreme court advocate in India is quite tough, considering its challenging journey. But on average, it can take 5-7 years or more for an aspirant to reach the stage where they can apply to practise as a Supreme Court advocate.

2How to become a Supreme Court advocate?

This prestigious career path demands sheer dedication from students throughout the entire process. Whether completing their LLB degree, passing the All India Bar examination, or clearing the AOR exam. This journey includes a post-qualification experience of 5 years divided into 3 years of practice in litigation courts and 2 years in the High Court. Also, training under a Supreme Court advocate is essential.

3How to become an advocate in the high court?

To become a high court advocate, first, one needs to complete their LLB degree and then move to gain experience as an advocate in lower courts. With the required practical experience, the aspirants should enrol for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE). Only after completing these steps can one practise as a lawyer in any high court.

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