This article is written by Preeti Pallavi Jena, pursuing BSc.LLB (IPR Honors) from the school of law, KIIT University, Odisha. This article talks about how to become a competitive lawyer and what you need to do to train yourself.
Competition is beneficial for the economy, businesses taking place, and also the consumers. The practice of competition law is different for different countries but many countries have enforced competition law in their countries. A commission known as the Competition Commission of India has been established under the Competition Act, 2002.
Though competition law is complex and difficult as compared to rest still it is one of the most reputed and well-known laws in today’s world. Students must train themselves perfectly for getting a job in this field. As we know, it’s not going to be easy but the outcomes and profit-making are huge once you get a job.
Objectives of competition law
The Competition Act, 2002 helps to:
- Prevent all the adverse effects happening in the competition;
- For developing and sustaining competition law in the Indian markets;
- It tries to protect the consumer’s interest;
- It also ensures the freedom of trade which are carried by the rest of the participants in the marketplace;
- It also creates awareness among people, resolves the issues which are faced while training the competition law;
- This Act also provides impartial and fair competition welfare.
History of competition law
In India, the first Act which was made for prohibiting the abuse of market power is the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (MRTP Act). This Act was responsible for our economic system and it prohibited the monopolistic and restrictive trade practices taking place in India. This act came for promoting competition for the very first time in the marketplace. The higher-level committee recommended the replacement of this MRTP Act with the competition act for the growth of the modern competition law. This new act also eliminates the anti-competitive practices taking place in the market area.
Benefits of choosing competition law as a career
The growing demand for the law
Competition law is continuing its growth over the years and this growth creates more and better quality opportunities for the competition lawyers. There is a requirement for more legal advice on competition issues and it makes you more expert by helping your clients.
Allows you to know about client’s business
Competition law generates efficiency, creates a major opportunity to grow. Before giving advice to your client you must know each and every aspect of the business conducted by you. This makes you a trusted advisor since you know most of the business strategies and methods of your clients.
Public policy interactions
Public policy issues are the main concerns and you need to keep up to date regarding these issues with respect to your client’s business matters. The antitrust authorities are highly influenced to try to achieve those.
Competition law as specification
There are many lawyers or students who have studied economics and have an interest in competition law. A competition lawyer can charge a huge amount for a single work. For earning money, this is one of the best professions which you can choose. A competition lawyer can charge approximately 15,000 to 50,000 rupees for a single work. Since works rebutted to competition law are very complex in nature, the clients also prefer to give the amount for the work without any relevance. These lawyers are highly qualified and specialized in their area. These lawyers are hugely appreciated and are in need in a competitive society.
Things to be done for getting an internship in this field
For building essential knowledge regarding competition law, students can participate in moot court competitions, at state & national levels, attend different conferences with regard to competition laws and also write articles on it and try to publish them. By doing all of these, they can gain some basic knowledge regarding competition law, and then there is a scope and chance of getting an internship in the competition law firms.
Law firms, companies, will not take you or hire you if you are not experienced enough. Hence, an internship is a must to be an associate or lawyer in the law firms of competition lawyers. Even for getting an internship in the law firms of competition law, students must have a basic understanding regarding it, or else no one will take you as an intern also. Hence, it is tough to get an internship in this field and from this, you can know how difficult it is to get a job or become a competition lawyer. But once you become one, your earning income will be very high.
You can charge money as per your work and clients will definitely give you because nowadays the demand for competition lawyers is very high.
Recruitment in the competition law is increasing
There are many reasons for increasing demand in the competition law. Few reasons are as follows:
- Now due to the COVID pandemic, there was a huge loss in every sector and hence many workers, lawyers lost their jobs and hence, once the period gets over, the work is going to increase and more recruits will be taken.
- Two parties who are competitors of each other in the same field cannot work together in any means of a term like a supply of goods, price values, etc. But in today’s scenario, there is a shortage of supply, and that’s why the government finds it relevant that companies or competitors may collaborate within themselves for better results and growth in the field. The CCI had come with a notice which provides rights to the competitors for working together but only for some essential parts of matters like healthcare products, like medicines, sanitizes, etc. CCI doesn’t provide or give a specific time limit for this, it only gives permission to the competitors to collaborate for better growth in the economy of our country.
- Competition law recruits very few members of people. But now the crowd will increase and the competition law firms will consider more freshers. These competition problems are worked in terms but these teams are not that huge as of mergers and acquisitions. A single team can have 10 to 50 people at its maximum.
Place where competition law is preferred
Competition law practice is mostly restricted in Delhi and Mumbai because of financial transactions, court hearings, and filings in such places. Hence, even though online filings are done still you have to visit Delhi for the proceedings and hearing of the case. But due to the COVID situation, there is an increase in online filings.
Tier-I and Tier-2 law firms
There are very few Tier-I and Tier-II law firms that have proper competition law practice but they pay you more than expected. Now, most firms have only one competitive law partner but the work done in that firm is very much. Only reason for not significant growth in the field is because there are very few skilled people from this background and hence expanding competition law becomes tough because a layman can not work here. Knowledge is a must in these law firms.
- One of the biggest and best law teams is the Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. This team consists of 40 to 45 lawyers in the law firms. The practice is available both in Delhi and Mumbai. Tier-I law firms provide around 12 to 14 lakhs per annum to a fresher which is a good start and it keeps on increasing with your performance basis.
Some more tier-I firms are
The tier-II level law firms are
These tier-II law firms pay 10 to 12 lakhs per annum to a fresher which is also a significant amount.
The competition lawyers can charge money for each of the stages like for drafting, for filing information, etc. for becoming a good competition lawyer you need to qualify for your college degree and practice for years in the court. If you pursue a foreign LLM degree then it can help you more in this field.
Requirements for job in competition law
Students must participate in various moot court competitions and publish articles on competition law. Along with this, you must know drafting of information, reply to draft information, drafting of an appeal, etc. You must learn each and every aspect of drafting. This can also help you in getting internships at competition law firms and as we know, for getting a job in these law firms internships are considered main criteria, they always see that do you have the practical idea and experience regarding competition law or not.
A person can train himself by knowing or learning about mergers and acquisitions. This work consists of how to file a notice before the CCI to get approval. Also, learn about what form I and form II are. These are there under the tier I firms. If you know these all analytical and practical based things and if you mention this in your interview then the viewers can be impressed with your knowledge with respect to competition law and there is a huge possibility that you can crack your interview easily than rest and get the job.
Leniency under competition law
This is a relevant and upcoming topic in today’s trend in the competition law. The provision is available for a longer period of time but the filing of leniency petition is quite unique. To understand, the meaning of leniency help of one example will be needed. Suppose some competitors combine together and now they feel they are in danger because the public didn’t know about it but now it is coming into their knowledge. And the CCI can approach them also. Hence, the competition among them went to a known lawyer and referred to him about the penalties and how can the punishment imposed be reduced for this. After this, the lawyer to whom the competitor approached filed a leniency petition due to which the CCI reduced the punishment on the ground that the information was brought before him. These leniency matters are very strict and secretive in nature as the parties here go against their cartel members which can cause issues. The competition lawyers in their training learned how to react to being raided by the CCI.
Competition Commission of India and its evolution
This commission was established in India in October 2003 but it came into force in the year 2007. This commission consists of the chairperson and six members. The function of everybody is to regulate the marketplace and prevent anti-competitive practices in the country. The concept of competition commission was introduced through the Competition Act, 2002. CCI took part in both administrative and quasi-judicial roles for removing the adverse effects from the competition, promoting competition law, and also protecting the needs of the consumers in the marketplace.
Competition law promotes competition all over and is not limited to a particular jurisdiction. Competition laws are adopted mostly in developing countries. Mexico and Argentina adopted competition laws in 1923 and 1917 as they were one of the developing countries. After that Brazil, Colombia also adopted competition law in the 1960s. India adopted in 1969 the first competition law known as the MRTP Act, but now it has been replaced by the competition act of 2002 now.
As we know the concept of competition law is quite new in India when compared to the US and EU where Antitrust was there long back and the competition law in those places is in huge demand. Our competition needs to grow more with time and it is also developing and evolving day by day. We can take references from these countries and get ideas and try to make our growth more. Many industries and associations relating to trade practices have already adopted competition law measures with regard to the Competition Act which protects associations from adverse effects.
There is less scope in our country for pursuing LLM specialization on competition law and due to this reason, many have to go outside the territory for further study. Hence there is a need to the establishment of colleges with specialized LLM for those students who are having an interest in competition law. This limitation regarding the competition law in our country should be removed for the betterment of our society.