National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, Rank 1 Law
Established in 1987, the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru has aimed at excellence in legal education. “The institute scores over other law institutes in terms of its teaching style and methodology,” says Vice Chancellor R. Venkata Rao. “We have a trimester system wherein a year is divided into three units each. A student has to study four subjects in a trimester and thus ends up studying 12 subjects a year, and 60 in five years. For each subject, a student has to submit a project and has to appear for a viva. At the end of the five-year course, our students become perfectionists in terms of their communication and writing skills, which are a must to excel in the legal profession.”
The school, he says, strongly believes in dialogue among students and teachers, as that lays the foundation of their legal careers. “During a period, two or three teachers join together to teach the students as it helps initiate healthy dialogue and discussion,” says Rao.
After their afternoon classes, the students have interactive knowledge-sharing sessions with visiting professionals, IAS and IPS officers and experts from different fields. Rao says these discussions go on late into the night and really help the students. “Even if you are local students from Bengaluru, it is mandatory to stay in the hostel as we want our students to be fully involved in the activities of the school,” says Rao. “I myself stay on the campus and try to be part of different discussions till late night. Our library is also open till 3am.”
As it is an autonomous institute sponsored by the Bar Council of India, it has regular sessions by former justices and chief justices of different courts. For instance, former Chief Justice of India Justice Rajendra Babu is a chair professor at the school.
The students regularly participate and excel in international competitions such as Manfred Lachs Moot Court. They also intern at different courts and law firms, visit courts and work with judges. “Our focus has been on clinical legal education,” says Rao. “Just like doctors go to hospitals and clinics as part of their internship, our students go to courts and legal firms to get a first-hand feel of legal proceedings. They learn many things such as how to write an affidavit and how to initiate dialogue in court.”
Rao says the legal profession has evolved significantly. “Law is a lucrative career option and a socially responsible profession,” he says. “Many of our students have gone on to become environmental activists, human rights activists, and have also become pro bono lawyers working for public causes. Some of them have joined corporate firms as legal officers and some have even become bright academicians and have taken to teaching law in national and international universities. Some of our graduates have also worked with many members of Parliament.”