Law School Review: Campus Law Centre, Delhi: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a reader’s review. The opinions expressed are that of the person concerned and NOT of Lawctopus. Do send in your law school reviews by filling this form.

What do you have to say about an institute that has Arun Jaitley, Kapil Sibal, Rohintan F. Nariman, Gopal Subramaniam, Mukul Rohatgi, Kiran Bedi, Meira Kumar and the likes on its alumni list?

The list doesn’t end here. More than eighty percent of the sitting judges in the High Court of Delhi are said to be alumni of this institute.

Yes! We are talking about the Campus Law Centre (CLC), Faculty of Law, University of Delhi which has stuck to its 3-year LL.B. course with conviction although the focus of the Indian legal education system these days is perhaps on the relatively new 5-year law schools.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of this college and the admission process.

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The Good about Campus Law Centre, Delhi:

Located on Chhatra Marg in Delhi University’s lush North Campus area, next to St. Stephens College, Delhi School of Economics, Sri Ram College of Commerce and the Faculty of Arts Complex, CLC benefits from being an integral part of one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

With a 2300-strong undergraduate student body, CLC is one of the largest law colleges in the country. Pedigree and size are the twin selling points of this institute.

Moreover the alumni list bears the testament to the role CLC had to play in feeding the Delhi Bar and Judiciary as well as other avenues for legal professionals all over the country for decades past.

Campus Law Centre has long been known for the quality of its teaching faculty. Renowned academicians who have taught at CLC are Prof. Upendra Baxi, Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon, Prof. M.P. Singh, Prof. B.B. Pandey, Prof. A.K. Koul to name a few.

It should not be surprising that CLC has been ranked as the best law school in India teaching 3 year LL.B. by reputed magazines like Outlook and India Today. It also finds a place among top 5 law schools in India ranked overall (including 5 year and 3 year courses) ahead of many National Law Universities.

One may wonder how a 3-year LL.B. course at Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi is different from 5-year law course taught at National Law Universities and other law schools.

The answer lies in the fact that CLC caters to a student body very different from that found in 5-year law schools.

In contradiction to a 5-year course designed for students who have just left school, every student n CLC has obtained at least one undergraduate degree prior to joining LL.B. course, and many of them have multiple Masters level degrees and/or work experience in varied fields.

The Moot Court Society, which organizes the famous K.K. Luthra Memorial International Moot Court Competition, the Seminar and Discussion Society and the Legal Aid Society are have continuously contributed to the over-all skill development of the students at CLC.

The Placement Assistance Council (PAC) is yet another student body which, over the years, has helped getting students placed with independent litigators, NGOs top law firms and corporate houses like Amarchand Mangaldas, Wipro, PWC, Ernst & Young to name a few.

It is no wonders that CLC is joined by students who have Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees from top notch universities across the globe namely Yale, Ohio State, Florida, LSE, Bristol and the likes.

The Bad about Campus Law Centre, Delhi:

While Campus Law Centre may boast of a strong 2300-student base drawn from almost all branches of Undergraduate studies in India, the quality of students admitted in the Faculty is a serious concern.

It is estimated that only about 30 percent of the total strength has actually joined the law school to become a lawyer/legal consultant.

Most of the students join CLC to prepare for Civil Services exams, and law being their fall back option (in case they don’t get through Civil Services Exams).

This lack of interest in law (as a profession) makes these students abstain themselves from classroom discussions, seminars and extra-curricular activities (e.g. moot courts, legal aid, etc).

A Civil Services aspirant from the campus shares, “The course structure and classroom teaching at CLC acts as preparatory class for Civil Services exam. And then there is a relaxed class timing which gives ample time for self study.

An attendance requirement of 66 percent overall (not in specific subjects) is another boon for such students. A visit to seminars and discussion in the campus will give a clear picture of the ratio of students interested in the activities vis-à-vis the total strength.

All these factors and a few others heavily influence placement scenario at the campus in an adverse manner. While top firms prefer taking students who have already interned with them through PPOs, smaller firms recruit fewer students with salaries not worth the brand a CLC graduate carries.

It is seen that only around 100-150 students out of 500-600 final year students opt for placements and the placement council manages to place only 50-60 out of them.

The Ugly about Campus Law Centre, Delhi:

While it is argued that placement depends on the caliber of the student with a little role of his/her institution, there are few things which are of utmost importance to a law student.

Basic building infrastructure is one which CLC lacks in. Small, inadequate and dirty classrooms are where students learn the basics of the legal profession.

There is no Moot Court Hall, the classrooms are adjusted to make them look like a Moot Court Room of a 3rd tier law school.

A badly constructed auditorium (if you can call it one) and small and congested seminar hall, inadequate parking facility, improper drinking water facilities and insufficient number of toilets are other issues of serious concerns.

If you happen to walk into the air-conditioned library which has close to 1,00,000 book volumes, you might not be able to miss the volumes of Halsbury’s Laws of England, Columbia and Harvard Law Reviews stacked in shelves covered with dust with no one to look into their conditions.

Getting into CLC:

CLC is one of the three Law Centres teaching the LL.B. course under DU’s Faculty of Law (the other two are called Law Centre – I and Law Centre – II).

Every Law Centre is headed by a Professor-in-Charge and has a high degree of administrative autonomy.

Post graduate law courses are administered directly by the Faculty of Law, which is headed by the Dean, Faculty of Law.

The Faculty conducts a single entrance exam for admission into all its three centres in mid-June, forms for which are available from May every year.

It is the single largest law entrance exam which is conducted by any standalone Faculty of Law/Dept. of Law/Law College with more than 10,000 students appearing for 2300 odd seats.

The entrance test paper contains 175 objective type questions with multiple choice answers and has to be attempted within 2 hours.

Each question carries 4 marks and a wrong answer deducts one mark.

The students are tested on their knowledge of English language and grammar usage, legal awareness, analytical and logical reasoning and general knowledge on legal system, polity, economy and current affairs.

Anand Prakash Mishra, a well known law entrance trainer who has authored a book, S S Guide for LL B Entrance Exam, exclusively for 3-year law entrance exams says, “We can see clearly that the focus in 3-years LL.B. Entrance exams remains on three areas namely, GK, English and Legal Aptitude.

In some exams, logical and analytical reasoning are also important but Quantitative Aptitude or Maths is generally not asked.

So, students should have a balanced strategy for all the four subjects i.e. GK, English, Legal Aptitude and Reasoning.

If we analyze past 5 years’ papers of Delhi University (2008-2012), GK emerges as the most important area.

90-100 questions out of 175 total questions were from GK/Current Affairs. If we include questions from Legal GK or Legal Awareness to it, in 2010, over 125 questions were from this area.

Despite many inadequacies and problems the Campus Law Centre has an enviable reputation in India. It is till date the most popular destination for students who want to get admission in a 3-year LL.B. course.

It has been a crucible where a large number of students have honed their skills and joined the legal professions. Tradition finds its place on campus with a tea stall and two book stalls which have been selling tea and law books respectively to generations of students for over 40 years.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a reader’s review. The opinions expressed are that of the person concerned and NOT of Lawctopus. Do send in your law school reviews by filling this form.

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