When we think Cricket we think of Sachin Tendulkar. When we think Biryani, we think of Hyderabadi Biryani. Similarly, when we think of law schools we think of National Law School of India University.
Why? Have we taken a moment to stop and think why is that? Why is the gap so huge? A little bit here and a little bit there is understandable but to lead and keep leading while nobody ever comes close. Don’t take me wrong, there are some fantastic law schools in the country like Nalsar, NLU Delhi and a few more.
There are other good law schools in the country and many up and coming but in the past three decades, nobody has ever come close to NLSIU. It does not matter which field you want to compare, be it placements or research, moots or debates, academics or higher studies.
NLS has made it’s mark everywhere and leads by a huge margin on all fronts. Let’s see some basic and most popular aspects and think why no other law school has come close.
If you’re an aware law student/aspirant, you already know about Jessup. For those who have no idea what Jessup is, it is the biggest moot court competition in the world comprising of 700 law schools from 100 countries. It is for this reason that Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is also known as the World Cup of moot courts.
In the mooting history of our country, the National Law School of India University is the ONLY University to have ever WON this competition.
NOT ONCE BUT TWICE
The only other University which came close is NALSAR by being the runner up once. Why is this the case that on the world stage of the biggest festival of mooting, only NLS has proved itself and nobody else? Why does this happen? While other Universities like Nalsar, Nujs and a few more have performed well at other international moots, NLS is still ahead.
Are the law schools of the country prepared to answer this question? Why is there a HUGE gap between NLS and every other University in the country? If there is something that NLS does differently, why aren’t other Universities willing to implement that on themselves?
There are a few Universities in the country which show extraordinary placements every year. Even though NLS has great placements, Universities like NALSAR and NLUD can easily go toe to toe in this arena.
However, when it comes to the number of alumni on the higher posts of foreign law firms, no other University comes close to NLS. NLS grads don’t stop there, they have even gone ahead and taken silk by becoming the Queen’s Counsel. These are not your average associate jobs ( for which students from xyz University will do ANYTHING).
As far as a job in the big law firms in the country goes, it seems like a cakewalk for those who attend NLS.
It is not surprising at all that now we are watching NLS grads on the bench as well, several High Court Judges were appointed from NLS. A few graduates who took up litigation have now become brand names in the profession. It seems whatever field that these grads choose, they ultimately make it their own.
The news of three NLS grads being Professors at Oxford at the same time came last week and India takes pride in this achievement.
It is not just that, Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy is most likely to become the Vice-Chancellor of NLS. This will be the first time in an NLU that an alumni member will take charge as the VC.
Will the other law schools ever take such a move? Are they willing to bet on a student they taught? Denying would seem like the chef refusing to eat the dish he prepared.
We all agree that the best of the very best gets to take admission at NLS. Yes, the toppers of CLAT are given the honour of entering this University. However, we need to understand that they spend 5 years working and learning inside that campus. While it can be understood that they were ahead of their competition in their exam, it cannot be the basis of these huge gaps between the grads of NLS and other colleges.
What needs to be done?
Law schools need to be held more accountable and they should take more responsibility. If they expect fresh law graduates (in litigation) to work for a salary lower than that of a food delivery boy, they cannot use students as cartridges for printing money. They being the legal fraternity, need to have a closer look on the functioning of law colleges because these are the same people who go on public forums and complain about the quality of law grads going down.
The model of the National Law School of India Unversity should be made applicable to all law schools as an attempt to bridge the gap. I am not suggesting to make every law school a carbon copy of NLS. This might not be possible even if we wanted to. The idea is to see what sets NLS grads apart and what part of it is because of NLS itself. Take those elements and introduce them to the rest of the law schools in the country.
The Bar Council and University Grants Commission have made several rules which, if implemented properly, will reform legal education but are flouted by the law schools. They get an advance notice in the event of an inspection from these institutions and take temporary measures to cover up.
The truth is, there is need of a government body dedicated to law schools and which would act as a moderator for all law schools ONLY. Law graduates do not simply take up law as a career, most of the politicians, government officials, foreign correspondents, journalists and policymakers are lawyers. If we make the law schools robust, we will not only be helping the Indian Judicial system but also the country’s other wings.
The question we need to ask is if NLS can do it, why can’t other law schools?