The defining aspect of legal education at JGLS is that it brings together amazing legal minds and scholars in various disciplines to engage with students in a global setting…
The very word ‘global’ immediately brings to one’s mind an assimilation of people from across the world. This image comes alive when you walk on the calm and serene pathways lined with multi-coloured hedges leading to Jindal Global Law School (JGLS). You will be greeted with students and teachers of various nationalities across the world.
Genesis of JGLS
Born in 2009 and popularly known as JGLS, India’s first global law school was inspired by higher education in the United States. The philanthropic initiative by Naveen Jindal, the Indian industrialist who is known for his active work in the areas of health and education, women’s empowerment and conservation of the environment, was backed by the academic brilliance of Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, a Rhodes scholar and founding Dean. It was also the first school to come up under the aegis of O P Jindal Global University.
Natural light seeps into each and every corner of the campus, making the students feel with nature in the green surroundings. The built space uses architectural innovation to make them user-friendly. This is true for each and every class and library. Receiving plenty of natural light, the common eating zone also has a healthy ambience to it. The lush green agricultural fields around the campus provide a visual delight. “With a lot of plants and trees, it was such a nice feeling sitting in the greenery spending time or even reading,” says Theresa Puthumana, an alumnus of JGLS.
JGLS offers 3-year LL.B. programme, a 5-year B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), a 5-year B.B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) programmes, a 1-year LL.M. programme and PhD programmess. “We actually have three preferences, the five-year programme, the three-year programme and also the one-year LL.M. programme. We see mostly students joining the five-year program. But there are also those who take the three-year and one-year program. In three-year program, we have seen people from interesting stream joining us like doctors, those working in policy matters,” said Indranath Gupta, Associate Professor and Controller Examinations.
Mostly students from abroad come to JGLS for specialised courses. “Most of the international students come here for the postgraduate courses. And the preferred programmes that we have are Intellectual Property Law, Corporate Law, Taxation and International Trade,” said Dr. S. G Sreejith, Vice Dean and Associate Professor.
Some of the students said they were attracted by the school’s reputation and the kind of academic atmosphere it provided. “The main reason for joining it was because of the kind of academic opportunities the university provided and the faculty which was there,” echoed Revanta Singh Solanki, a final year BA.LLB student. The feedback he got from peers also made him zero in on JGLS. “I knew some people who were in this college and their friends. I also did some research on which university to join and I found this the best,”Solanki added.
Keeping with trends at world-class institutions, the classrooms at JGLS are dialectical spaces wherein teachers and students interact freely, go beyond conversations with mutual respect for each other. “Most of my professors graduated from top law schools like Oxford, Harvard and Yale and they adopted teaching style that they learnt from these institutions which involved mainly pre-readings and in depth class discussions and debates,” said Theresa. “The professors were very friendly and always happy to assist the students even out of office hours. For instance, one professor read one of my class assignments and encouraged me to work more on it to get it published,” she added.
In line with its global outlook, at least 17 percent of the 164-strong full-time faculty members are non-Indian nationals spanning 27 countries. “We expect it to increase and our goal is to increase it to 30 percent in the years to come,” says Dr. Raj Kumar. Anand Prakash Mishra, Head of Admissions at JGLS, said the recruitment of foreign faculty happens through reputed agencies. “The international recruitment happens through advertisement in magazines like The Economist, Times Higher Education. They are also recruited from the campuses of Cambridge and Oxford Universities,” he said.
Yet to complete a decade of its existence, JGLS takes pride in as many as five of the students who graduated from the school and have come back to the school as faculty to stay associated with the school of law which can be compared to the best of the universities across the globe.
JGLS library is part of the huge Jindal Global University library, housed in a centrally located space, occupying 10000 sq.ft. The library has vast resources of international standards, both online and offline, on each and every topic. A fully wi-fi campus enables access to e-resources subscribed by the library. “Since the library has some unique books, students who have completed their study here keep asking materials from us as they are not available outside,” says Solanki.
JGLS graduates find it rather easy to get placements, thanks to the reputation the institution enjoys in industry circles. Almost all major law firms like Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB Partners, Nishith Desai Associates, Trilegal, Khaitan & Co., and many others recruit from the campus, including foreign law firms. “I completed internship in Abu Dhabi with White and Case LLP. I later joined their London office,” said Theresa.
Through semester exchange programmes, the students get opportunities to spend a semester abroad at one of the partner institutions. Through the Special Pathways Programs, the students are awarded dual degrees by pursuing a part of their studies in part in partner institutions abroad. JGLS has partnered with global leaders in legal education like Yale University, Harvard Law School, University of Cambridge, Australian National University College of Law and Cornell University, to name a few.
When classes are not on, the students and the faculty hit the well-equipped gym, tennis court, badminton court, football field or swimming pool. And if you want to tickle your salivary glands, branded eateries like KFC, McDonalds, Burger King et al are always there to lend a cosmopolitan flavour. So, if you think global when it comes to law, JGLS welcomes you with the best of global curriculum to pedagogy, and from a rich learning and living experience to globally networked placements.
Associate Professor and Controller of Examinations, Jindal Global Law School
We see mostly students joining the five-year program. But there are also those who take the three-year and one-year program. In three-year program, we have seen people from interesting stream joining us like doctors, those working in policy matters
Alumnus, Jindal Global Law School
The professors were very friendly and always happy to assist the students even out of office hours. For instance, one professor read one of my class assignments and encouraged me to work more on it to get it published
INTERVIEW: Focus- International students, faculty
Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar,
Founding Dean, Jindal Global Law School
Q. Could you share with us the growth of JGLS?
A. The JGLS came up in 2009. Since then we have grown quite significantly. We now have 8 different schools, about 350 full-time faculty members and nearly 4,500 students. This has been an extraordinary journey in which we have constantly ensured that we maintain the highest degree of quality and commit ourselves to promoting excellence in institution building.
Q. Why did you emphasize on being global?
A. Globalization as a phenomenon has not only affected the way we do business but also it created opportunities for people to be mobile. No longer are people restrained when it comes to mobility due to geographical restrictions. In some ways geography became history. And in that sense, that mobility was being captured in various forms largely by the corporate sector, by the governmental engagement in trade and investment also by people’s movement but not adequately captured by universities.
Q. Why did you start with School of Law?
A. The obvious answer is that I am a lawyer and a law professor and I had the privilege of studying law in Delhi University, Oxford University, Harvard Law School, practised law in New York and then taught law in Japan and for many years in Hong Kong. I was profoundly inspired by legal education in all these jurisdictions and countries.
We have evolved as a democracy, but we have not been able to institutionalise the rule of law effectively. And law schools and universities need to take up as a part of their responsibility to instil a sense of faith in the ability of democratic institutions to enforce the rule of law. And that is why the university started with the law school.
Q. What is your vision for the next 10 years?
A. We see ourselves as a multidisciplinary research-oriented university with a strong commitment to research and knowledge creation. Secondly, we see ourselves to be growing in the fields of law and humanities and social sciences. Third, we see ourselves to be a global university which means students from around the world should be able to come and study here. We also see ourselves as a university in India which is able to attract faculty from around the world.
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