By Ashish Patel:
“A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more money than hundred men with guns.” So great is the importance of a lawyer in the working of a country. A lawyer sets the rules as much as he makes sure they are followed.
I, as a law student, feel that while we have sufficient law schools which produce sufficient lawyers, however, the courses which are taught are not feeding the craving of today’s competent upcoming lawyers so that they can explore themselves to the fullest potential. India, as a democratic country always needs qualified, competent and eligible lawyers for the better functioning of the three branches- Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. And for fulfilling this objective, the foundation of a lawyer, meaning his/her education must be extraordinary, something which totally depends on the standard of legal courses and legal education system. So here I suggest 5 ways to improve the structure of legal education in India.
1.Â Giving more attention to practicality: The law is supreme, it needs to be met with courage and confidence and no hesitation. It requires great skills of reading, thinking and speaking. These things can be included in the course in the form of regular debates and discussions. Moot court (mock practise) brings the proficiency and it demonstrates the way of argumentation, which is an essential quality of a lawyer.
2. Bring in professional exposure: The focus of law courses should be more on reality rather than theoretical learning. Professionalism comes by becoming more and more familiar with the law and legal processes. How much law one knows after reading books does not carry as much weight as knowing the application of that law. An increased focus on professional exposure through internships and engaging in the law student’s learning in his/her internships is very important.
3. Collaboration with foreign law universities: Knowledge knows no limits. Law is a subject which requires more and more expansion of knowledge. This proficiency can be increased by collaborating with foreign law schools in order to access their law reports, case laws; research papers etc. Law colleges like NLSIU Bangalore, NALSAR Hyderabad and NLU Delhi etc. have done collaborations for teaching, researching and providing world class legal education, and have received positive response through these collaborations.
4.Â Faculty and guest lecturers: Teachers play a crucial role for on creating the best lawyers out of good students. Teaching the law is not an easy task, it requires a wide-ranging knowledge of the legal sphere in the country and the world, and employing well-qualified teachers is an infrastructural facility every law school must provide. There must be guest lectures in the course curriculum by eminent personalities in the legal and related fields, because it helps students in being aware of the hard realities of law, and also accelerates the motivation of students.
5.Â Scope for extracurricular activities: Extracurricular activities make a law student different from a normal student. Professional courses often make the mistake of isolating the student to only activities relating to the academic course. Law, as an academic course of study, must provide its students an exposure to activities beyond the usual curriculum. Further, institutions should include “call for papers” in the curriculum which promotes legal writing on various contemporary or discussed issues, in order to be able to evaluate a student’s understanding on how recent issues relate to the legal working and its processes.