The legal education system in India projects National Law Schools as premier centers for pursuing law programmes, which on the other hand are hiking their fees. As a result of the high fees, law aspirants are forced to depend on educational loans, following which they tend to take up jobs, just after completing their education, in order to service the loan which in a way or other may affect the career growth in long run.From the series of law expert insights, Careers360 brings you yet another piece, where Dr. AVN Rao, Dean–Coordination (ICFAI Law Programs), ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad discusses the challenges of India’s legal education.
Read the exclusive interview of ICFAI Law School, Dean to know what he speaks on importance of internship and legal academic research in India.
Careers360: Have the institutions imparting 5-year LLB courses failed in providing space for research? Do they just cater to demands of corporate firms?
Dr.A.V.N Rao: Yes. Most of the students coming from NLS and other corporate colleges look for good placements with hefty salaries. Only a few students opt for litigation. Though the curriculum of some of the NLUs and law schools provide resources for effective research, the students use them only for their placements, instead of learning the fundamentals. As the corporate law firms also look for flowery language, they look towards the students of NLUs and some of the corporate law schools. The success rate of students in legal profession is not encouraging. Students, from the day they join, try to plan their career.
Careers360: Is internship experience crucial for students?
Dr.A.V.N Rao: Internships provide practical exposure to students and thereby minimize the gap between theory and application of law. It also boosts confidence levels in the students while working in courts and with senior advocates. It provides an excellent platform for students to learn how trial court works, suit filing, and also research of case citations.
Careers360: Is the high fees charged at National Law Schools justified?
Dr.A.V.N Rao: It is unfortunate to note that the legal education system itself projects National Law Schools as the premier centers for pursuing law and also the NLS’ are charging high fee in different ways. Even some of the private and corporate law schools do that. Due to the burden of high fee students are forced to depend on educational loans and as a result they tend to take up jobs after completion of education, in order to service the loan. The fee charged by traditional law schools is minimal and good resources are also available. But because of improper maintenance of quality of education and lack of continuous monitoring of the academics students are discouraged from joining such schools.
Dr. AVN Rao, Dean–Coordination (ICFAI Law Programs), ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad
The governments and corporate should consider the option of providing fellowships and scholarships to the students instead of releasing grants to NLUs. Then the burden on the student is reduced and the student will also be willing to take up litigation work instead of employment, as there is no burden of educational loan repayments.
Careers360: What is your opinion on legal academic research in India?
Dr.A.V.N Rao: I feel the main reason for low research output and development activities in Indian law schools is lack of zeal; resources; commitment of faculty and management; lack of competition among the law schools; lack of comparative analysis; lack of cordial relations between the legal professionals, industry and the law schools and lack of budget allocation for legal research.
Careers360: Your opinion on academic knowledge exchange between law colleges?
Dr.A.V.N Rao: It is not an easy task to have academic knowledge exchange between law schools of the country or with foreign law schools. Law is crippled because of jurisdictional issues and sovereignty concept. The quality standards of law programme among the law schools differ and there is a possibility that students may not be able to cope with it. However, the exchange programmes among the well-known and established colleges of the country or the world benefit the students and law faculty by sharing of expertise and knowledge.
Careers360: Why is it that pro bono service rarely attracts students?
Dr.A.V.N Rao: Students look to be self-sufficient financially and look for a full-time job instead of going for law practice and wait for long to earn money. Very less percentage of students likes to go for pro-bono transactions. They require more attention and research, which the students do not wish to take up.
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