Legal education, in fact, begins when you start practice: Justice AK Sikri at 2019 GNLU Convocation

Bar & Bench January 29 2019

The ninth convocation of the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) Gandhinagar was held on Sunday.

Dr Justice DY Chandrachud, judge of the Supreme Court of India and Visitor, GNLU, presided over the convocation. As Chief Guest, Justice AK Sikri of the Supreme Court delivered the Convocation Address.

A total of 462 students of five-year integrated UG programmes in Law (333), PG programme in Law (117), MBA programme (09) and doctoral programme (03), who completed academic requirements during the academic year 2016-17 and 2017-18, were conferred degrees at the convocation.

51 Gold Medals were awarded to 32 students for their performance in various subjects, with Akarshita Dhawan (UG Programme in Law) receiving as many as nine medals in different subjects.

In his convocation address, Justice Sikri advised the graduating students to not forget that the law deals with humans and their behaviour so it’s important they keep the humane aspect at the heart of their professional practice stating that “while the Human in Law is important, the Humane in Law is indispensable.”

He added,

"One way to resolve a doubt in case there is a conflict between the humane and human is to keep the collective in front of an individual or holistic in front of the partial, or harmonious over the divisive, or the efficient over the deficient, or long-term over the short-term.”

He advised the students to always be prepared, always be willing to take initiative, and to grab opportunities, saying that “you are the reflection of the opportunities you seize and the chances you miss.”

He further told the students,

“Your life as a lawyer will not always be easy. You will not always win. You will at times be frustrated, and even heartbroken.

He urged them not to lose heart at such times, referring to the success stories of Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela who faced defeats early in their career. The first one lost one of his first criminal defence cases and saw his client executed, the second lost a large civil case and nearly saw his client forced into bankruptcy, and the third one was himself tried and convicted of treason, but all of them went on to achieve greatness and became legends, Sikri J said.

He further advised the students to always be students for life stating,

“Legal education isn’t over after you leave university. In fact, it begins when you start practising.

Referring to a quote of Jeff Bezos, Justice Chandrachud asked the graduating students to

“Be kind to others but also be kind to yourself. Self-love is as much a part of self-improvement. Do not rob yourself of the kindness you deserve.”

Justice Chandrachud called upon the students to show compassion and empathy for those around, stating,

“In addition to working towards fulfilling our own dreams, it is important to keep working towards creating a world where each individual has an opportunity to chase their dreams.”

In his welcome address, GNLU Director Dr Bimal Patel announced that, from the academic year 2019-20, GNLU will offer two more LL.M. programmes in the field of Maritime Law and Sports Law. With this, the LL.M. students will have eight specializations to choose from.

GNLU currently offers six specializations in the LL.M. programme – Corporate & Business Law, Constitutional & Administrative Law, Intellectual Property Rights, Comparative International Law, Criminal & Security Law, and Public Policy, Law & Governance.

Acting Chief Justice Anant S Dave, of the Gujarat High Court and Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Minister of Education, Government of Gujarat, were Guests of Honour at the convocation.

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