Law School Interview: Legal education needs to be free of mediocrity, says Dr. C. Raj Kumar, JGLS Dean

Careers360 interviews Dr C Raj Kumar, Dean of Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat. Dr C. Raj Kumar speaks on the need of changing the reforms to improve the quality of legal education in the country. The JGLS Dean also shares his insights on the role of BCI to change the legal education system.

Read the interview of Dr. C. Raj Kumar to know his views on Legal Education in India.

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Interview-

DrCRajKumarCareers360: What are your views on legal education in India?

Dr. C Raj Kumar: Legal education in India has come a long way, particularly in the last two decades. Studying law has become one of the most preferred career choices among the youth. Law schools in India are competing internationally for the first time. Our law students are making a mark in most competitive international moots. Our faculty is publishing in almost every top international journal. So we are doing better than before. However, there is a large scope for improvement all around.

 

Careers360: What should be the role of BCI to improve the quality of law colleges in India?

Dr. C Raj Kumar: Bar Council of India (BCI) has a great role to play in improving the situation and particularly in eliminating mediocrity in law schools. Apart from stopping the proliferation of mediocre law schools and closing down the dubious and sub-standard law schools, BCI must contribute to bringing excellence in legal education. There is no room for tolerating any form of mediocrity. We need to focus on faculty recruitment and faculty development initiatives through training and capacity building programmes. The core faculty members in law schools ought to be academicians who are willing to devote their life’s learning and experiences for legal education. There cannot be any shortcuts for this as law schools, just as universities have a larger role to play in shaping the future of a society.

 

Careers360: Is Indian legal education system in dire need of reforms and where do you think the focus needs to be?

Dr. C Raj Kumar: Yes, there is an urgent need for reforms in legal education from all the stakeholders. First and foremost, we need to immediately stop the proliferation of law schools without due regard to the quality and excellence. We have unfortunately promoted a mediocre form of legal education in most of our law schools. Secondly, we need strengthening of the three-year LLB programme. While I support the rationale for launching the 5-year integrated LLB programme that has resulted in attracting some of the brightest students into law, there is a need to revisit the future of the three-year LLB programme. Law is a discipline, which seeks a higher level of understanding of the complex nature of the problems in society.

 

Careers360: What can Indian law schools learn from their western counterparts?

Dr. C Raj Kumar: The most important aspect we can learn from the leading foreign law schools is promoting research and knowledge creation. The larger effort to promote research has to depend upon our ability to attract the best minds to take up faculty positions at our law schools. Academia ought to become a preferred alternative not among the law graduates who couldn’t do well in the legal profession but be an aspirational objective of the most outstanding law graduates. This is the only way by which we can reform legal education in India. 

 

Careers360: Fresh law graduates are not getting jobs easily. What is the way out?

Dr. C Raj Kumar: The legal professional has expanded exponentially and the jobs in this sector have also diversified tremendously in the last two decades. Today, law graduates can pursue various careers in the legal profession – working in a law firm; working as an in-house counsel at an Indian or multinational corporation; working for think tanks, research institutions, NGO, inter-governmental organisations including the UN; government agencies as well as pursuing a career in litigation. There are also opportunities to become a part of the judiciary besides aspiring to become an academic. All this means that there are many more opportunities for law graduates now, than ever before.

As a discipline, law seeks a better understanding of the complex nature of the problems in society. The study of law in an isolated manner does not help in addressing the challenges of the Indian legal system.

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