It is admission season and law schools around the country have begun inviting applications for their respective entrance exams. While the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) may be the most obvious choice, potential candidates also generally apply for admission to other law schools, in order to avoid the risk of putting all of one’s eggs in a single basket. However, many a time, the cost of application fees can lead to a reduction of options. In 2015, we ran a piece in an attempt to gauge the average cost of a five-year legal education at a national law university. Back then, we […]

It is hard to deny the fact that it has been a turbulent 2016, and the same can be said of the world of law schools as well. Over the past twelve months, we have seen administrative malfunctions, misreportage, and the perfunctory student protest at some of the top law schools in the country. But as you will find in the rest of this article, it has not been all doom and gloom. Here, we look at twelve law school-related stories that garnered the most attention in 2016. 1. Being the Change We start on a positive note, with instances of […]

Armed with my faulty in-built GPS, I embark on the journey of finding the Institute of Law from amidst a multitude of monotonously grey buildings that make up Nirma University. A series of bad directions from students (I don’t think they can tell the difference either), and I find myself unwittingly taking a tour of the sprawling campus. A Dandi March and a half later, I have finally found my way, thanks to a helpful gardener who pointed me in the right direction. Lady Justitia welcomes me to the law school with open arms. I catch up with Dr. Purvi […]

Gaurav Bhawnani When I arrived in Kashmir, every person had a story about the last three months of conflict. Regardless of whom I spoke to, they had either been directly affected by the violence or knew someone who had. There is a general state of inevitability among the people, of helplessness. Human rights organizations, including bigger ones like the APDP that have received global attention, have largely suspended their work. The first external fact-finding mission only landed towards the end of my trip. I turned to the only group of people I expected would be working over-time to alleviate a […]

The National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam has seen its fair share of tumult over the past couple of years. The University’s students have, on more than one occasion, highlighted the administration’s failure to provide them with adequate facilities. This, despite the fact that the annual fees at the University is one of the highest among the CLAT law schools. Last week, Prof JS Patil, founding Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Law University (KSLU), took charge as the new Vice Chancellor of NLUJAA. The question is, will the appointment of Prof Patil prove to be a turning point in the history […]

“You can send me your questions via e-mail and I will get back to you”, a student replies when I ask him what he thinks about his university. He looks at me as if he has said the most normal thing in the world, waiting for me to jot down his e-mail ID. “I don’t want to be misquoted”, he explains, much like a Senior Advocate who is reluctant to speak to the press. I have just been lawyered. The first thing I notice is that the campus of the National Law University in Jodhpur has become a lot greener, […]

If a recent proposal of the West Bengal government goes through, the annual intake of NUJS Kolkata might just increase almost twofold. As reported by Legally India, the suggestion was put forth in a meeting of the University’s Executive Council held on Saturday. The report states that the West Bengal government has proposed the opening of two more law schools under the NUJS aegis in Siliguri and Asansol, thereby increasing the intake from 127 at present, to 250 students a year. The proposal has now been tabled for the next Executive Council meeting on November 12. Though Vice-Chancellor Prof Ishwara Bhat, whose […]

Misha Talwar & Sachin Sukumar Amidst the recent controversy surrounding the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) and with the Bar Council of India (BCI) constantly locking horns with the Supreme Court of India, there is a pressing need to redefine the entire existing system. The AIBE Rules lay down a prohibition on law graduates who have graduated post 2010 to practice law, even after enrolment with the respective State Bar Councils, until they successfully pass the AIBE. The AIBE was started with an intent to set a minimum standard for the profession in the country. With law colleges spewing out […]

The First Indicative List of the Common Law Admission Test 2016 has been released on the CLAT website. Although far from being what the final allotment list may look like, it does offer some interesting insights into the preferences of those who wrote the exam, and the gender profile of the 1974 students who have been allotted seats in one of the 17 National Law Universities. Given below is an analysis of the numbers. Gender Comparison 810, or 41% of the 1974 candidates who were allotted a seat in the first list are female. Only 3 of the top ten […]

By Rajneesh Singh The Common Law Admission Test of 2016 has been conducted very well by RGNUL Patiala, so far. After last year’s fiasco, this has been a big relief. The 2016 paper was good overall, but a more difficult section of legal and logic would have been even better. As a pleasant surprise, the CLAT Committee announced the provision of raising objections by the students and acceptance of errors if any. And RGNUL deserves much more than thanks. This year, RGNUL also ensured that there are no glitches by taking demos themselves before the exam. I am sure the result and […]

I know that NLUs as a rule are situated in areas far flung from the city, but this is pushing it. Having travelled more than 25 km from the city of Raipur, there are precious little signs of civilization. Judging by the arid, treeless surroundings, I might as well be on Mars. This area, I’m told, is being prepared as part of the state government’s pet project to transform the new capital, Naya Raipur, to a smart city. Activists in the state will tell you that the land acquired to this end has been done illegally, much to the detriment […]

By Aditya AK & Anuj A In September last year, the Ministry of Human Resource Development announced its plans to develop and publish an objective ranking of the top educational institutions in the country.  It was a significant decision, more so for the country’s law schools. After all, the National Institutional Ranking Framework marked the government’s first foray into ranking the country’s legal institutions. Private media outlets have attempted to initiate an effective ranking exercise, with varying levels of success. The India Today and Outlook rankings, for instance, do command significant readership but also have their fair share of detractors. Early […]

Recently, a group of third-year students from NLSIU Bangalore protested against a Professor for allegedly making uncalled for comments on the attire of a female classmate. But this is not the first time law students, who are trained to be imbued with a sense of right and wrong during the course of their legal education, have gone up in arms. Be it against the administration or against the media, law students have never been shy to vent their ire against violators of their rights. Here are ten such examples of law students fighting for their rights. 1. No shortage of […]

It is law school admission season once again, a time when some may have questions regarding the plunge they are about to take. And those who are more acquainted with the scenario tend to have questions of their own, as the years spent pursuing a law degree go by. In this interview, we get Tanuj Kalia, Founder of Lawctopus and author of the book Law as a Career to answer some of these queries, and to discuss an array of law school-related topics. Aditya AK: Who is a career in law most suited to? Tanuj Kalia: If you have these four qualities, you […]

The year 2015 has been a mixed bag in terms of developments at India’s law schools. While things are looking up for budding corporate lawyers, aspiring law students witnessed a new low with the manner in which the Common Law Admission Test was conducted. So what have been the discernible trends this past year? What have law schools done to improve legal education and enhance their worth as institutions of research? What were the major controversies seen this year? As we look back on 2015, here are our top ten stories from law school campuses across the country. 1. Mo’ money, […]

A swimming pool, a football ground, fancy hostels, state-of-the-art architecture, acres and acres of wide open spaces to (ahem) frolic about in. These are just some of facilities the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJAA) does not have. Well, not yet, at least. Located in a busy part of central Gauhati, NLUJAA at best resembles your run-of-the-mill local law college, as opposed to one of the 17 CLAT “national” universities. However, nit-picking over the infrastructure (or lack thereof) is just the tip of the iceberg. Until recently, the university was in an utter shambles. Barely twelve months ago, […]

By Jayshree Satpute* To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.  – Nelson Mandela Introduction The Constitution of India recognizes the right of all citizens to secure justice. However, too many disadvantaged and poor citizens in India are denied access to justice. Simultaneously, law graduates lack analytical, research and drafting skills to compete in the job market and become highly skilled professionals. Clinical Legal Education would not only build a pro bono culture and increase access to justice, but also significantly enhance students’ skills. While the attempt to develop a structured clinical education in India is not […]

In the quaint town of Srirangam, located in Tiruchirappalli district, stands the Ranganathaswamy Temple, the largest functioning temple in the world. This magnificent edifice was built by kings of the Chola dynasty as a tribute to Lord Vishnu. A few kilometres away, past the village of Navalurkuttappattu, stands another cluster of buildings dedicated to another godlike being. I am wondering why anyone would build an NLU so far away from the state’s high court, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. The answer is not that difficult to fathom though. Srirangam happens to be the constituency of the state’s Chief […]

Of course, it could all just be a matter of perspective. Roughly six weeks ago, more than forty-thousand students wrote the common law admission test. In the days and weeks that followed, a large number of these students have expressed varying levels of displeasure over the exam. Some have been quite vocal, others not so much. There have been allegations of incorrect questions, incorrect answers, and even incorrect allotment lists. At last count, there were around seven different litigations on the exam, each at different stages of proceedings. Yet. Dig beneath this masterful facade, for a facade is what it really is, […]

After putting prospective law students through a rollercoaster ride for the past few weeks, the CLAT authorities finally released the full merit list last Friday. Now that the first allotment lists has also been published on the CLAT website, the students have some idea of where they stand. Setting aside the twists and turns associated with this year’s exam, this  piece analyses some of the numbers associated with CLAT 2015, and also looks at how students from different states have fared. Towards the end of the list, we have also provided a list of tentative cut-offs for each national law university. Gender Comparison […]

In 2013, we ran a column on the costs associated with a legal education at one of the country’s National Law Universities. At an average annual cost of 1.6 lakh (excluding personal expenses), the five-year course would have meant spending around ten lakhs in total. This was, and is, no small sum especially if you add the 11% interest rate that most educational loans attract. Two years later, the situation only seems to have become worse. The increasing popularity of the five-year course has meant the establishment of more National Law Universities, as well as private institutions. Perhaps the only […]

by Prabhash Ranjan The alumni of the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) recently petitioned the Chief Justice of India, the Chancellor of NUJS, to urgently intervene ‘against the rapid decline in educational standards at NUJS’. This petition is significant because it comes in wake of several media reports demonstrating unrest at NUJS. The current state of affairs at this premier law school, according to its alumni, is ‘sordid’. The alumni ‘doubt the efficacy of the current leadership in retaining the academic edge that NUJS had built over the last several years’. At the heart of the petition is the […]

The increasing importance of legal education and growth of national law schools in India has, besides widening other career options, made legal academia a viable career choice for many law graduates. Emphasis on research and writing, engagement with theoretical questions on law and justice and the possibility of academic work contributing towards legal reforms are partly responsible for attracting young graduates to academia. Many law graduates now choose to go abroad for pursuing a master’s programme, and, impressed by academics and professors in foreign universities, consider pursuing academia back home. There does not seem to be much information out there […]

by Goutham Shivshankar I have little doubt that NLSIU’s extraordinary success at this year’s Jessup International Moot Court Competition has been the subject of much discussion in law schools across the country. To win at Jessup’s international rounds is something truly special and for any institution to do it twice over, is absolutely splendid. It is particularly heartening to note that other law schools have put aside traditional rivalries, even if only temporarily, and come together to celebrate NLSIU’s win. This second win, coming after a hiatus of 14 years, provides us with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the […]

The fourth Bar Exam question paper is an interesting specimen. I have been closely following the examination papers being set since the first All India Bar Exam (AIBE) held in 2010 as one of the founders and a strategist at BarHacker. The latest paper is certainly a few notches below the previous papers in several ways. Particularly in the light of the last AIBE paper, which was a major improvement over the first two papers in terms of academic quality, the latest paper looks like a serious lowering of standards. The fourth Bar Exam question paper is an interesting specimen. […]

Previous articles in this series have talked about legal education in law schools. In the third article in the “State of Legal Education” series, Badri Natarajan talks about legal education after law school. “Since (unlike in Suits) most lawyers do not have a photographic memory of every piece of legal knowledge that exists”, Badri Natarajan argues that there must be “some way to maintain and expand our legal knowledge over time.”  by Badri Natarajan   I became a lawyer because I loved lawyer TV shows like LA Law (I’m old enough that Ally McBeal only came out late in my […]

In the second column under the “State of Legal Education” series, John Thaliath, one of the founding members of the School of Law, Christ University at Bangalore and its first Principal, lays down the principles that go behind establishing a law school, the challenges therein and the various issues which need to be kept in mind while creating a law school.     I. Educational Philosophy   The starting point for any educational institution is identifying its educational philosophy. In India, we often do not give much thought to educational philosophy before setting up an educational institution. A thought provoking […]

Changing times have brought profound changes to the nature of expectations of lawyer today. What we will do in this column is to outline where the changes are coming from and how the legal education sector will need to interface with the professional organization of the practice of law in this country.   The Legal Profession Historically In India the legal profession first emerged as a distinct modern profession under colonial conditions. In some senses the story of its roots is analogous to the emergence of the Indian bureaucracy (ICS, later, IAS) under colonial conditions. While the eventual (contemporary) bureaucracy […]

Dear Anuj, Being involved in IDIA and Donnie’s case from the initial stages, may I take this opportunity to point out to you and the readers of Bar & Bench, facts, which have been overlooked or perhaps not considered when you wrote this critique on the entire episode relating to Donnie. By Diptoshree Basu   Dear Anuj,   Being involved in IDIA and Donnie’s case from the initial stages, may I take this opportunity to point out to you and the readers of Bar & Bench, facts, which have been overlooked or perhaps not considered when you wrote this critique […]

By now, one can well presume, the general jubilation regarding the admission of Donnie Ashok, (IDIA scholar and determined student) into the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhingar (GNLU) would have settled down. In fact, not only would the bonhomie and celebration have petered out but most would feel that the entire episode is a closed chapter, one which does not merit further discussion.  By now, one can well presume, the general jubilation regarding the admission of Donnie Ashok, (IDIA scholar and future law graduate) into the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhingar (GNLU) would have settled down. In fact, not only […]