A five-year stint at a National Law University can be a life changing experience. Students enter a law school with several hopes and aspirations – most of them areexpectant and scared at the same time but for most of them, their excitement knows no bounds. At the end of the law school experience, the child, who had once come to law school with a totally different mind-set, is barely recognizable by himself/herself, let alone his/her parents and school peers.
At the center of your five years’ experience lies the academics, which tries to be inter–disciplinary in approach and adopts the Socratic Method for most parts. The drab black lines are often animated by lively, politically incorrect and emotionally charged discussions and debates in the classroom. However, some classes are indeed boring, either depending on your lack of interest or your teachers’ abilities. Each law school has some fantastic mentors, capable of making you fall in love with their subject. Additionally, the academic scene is not just all examination preparation. Presentations, Viva and projects are an all important part of the academic calendar that not only makes the academic experience holistic but also encourages you to share and debate what you have learnt.
The law schools were made as standalone universities which were supposed to be equipped with all that was necessary to report excellence in legal studies and research. Infrastructure is divided into two parts – Physical and Academic. Physical infrastructure means that the buildings are equipped with classrooms and state of the art technology devices like projectors and presentation devices. Most NLUs are compulsorily residential but this rule does have a few exceptions (NUJS, Kolkata). The hostels and mess cannot be generalized as they vary from university to university. Some hostels are very humble like that of NLSIU and some are very comfortable like that of RMNLU. Messes often carry a regional flavour to their cuisine, though each mess does have a cosmopolitan menu considering the NLU junta has a pan–India character. A large number of NLUs are investing in the creation of Seminar Halls and Auditoriums where events of international scale can be held. NALSAR, Hyderabad and NLU, Delhi lead in the hosting of such events.
The soft infrastructure and frankly, the one that truly matters is the Library and student facilities. NLSIU, NALSAR and RMNLU are known for their libraries, offering a wide variety of resources. This is supplemented by online and digital databases for searching cases, journals and articles from around the world.
Such an infrastructure requires an immense budget, which the traditional laws schools usually lack.
Mooting Debating and Conference
Mooting is one of the most exciting activities in the NLUs. It involves a fictitious case where teams are allocated sides to argue a problem. This is an activity which requires a lot of hard work but for the ones who enjoy it, it is great fun. Successful mooters enjoy legendary status not only in their own law schools but in the law student community at large.
Debating – well, that is what we are trained to do, right? Right. Debating tails mooting as perhaps the most vied for activity in law schools. Debating is usually organized and encouraged by the Debating Societies and Committees. There are a large number of national and international competitions where law school studentsare known to do well. Mukherjee Memorial at Stephens, Premchand at Hindu, the NLSIU Parliamentary Debate and the NALSAR Intervarsity Debating Championshipare good examples. Students have also gone to the Oxford-Cambridge Debates and left a prominent mark in the world debating circles.
Sports and Extra-Curricular Activities
Sports are looked up to at Law Schools, with cricket, football and basketball being the most popular, but that does not mean that there are no facilities for others. There is, but these are the ones in strongest currency. Some law schools have invested in good sports infrastructure, like NALSAR which has an open field for a stadium and well-constructed courts for various sports. The sporting culture is so huge in the top three NLUs (NLSIU, NALSAR and NUJS) that they come together every year and host the Trilateral Series. INVICTA hosted by NUJS is the biggest sports law school festival. Often in the common room of various NLUs, you shall find people hooked on to racing, swimming, tennis and even chess matches, following their heroes in sight and practice.
Another extracurricular that is pursued with fervour is music. A large number of amateur bands are present in law schools. NLSIU hosts Strawberry Fields, the largest Amateur Rock festival in the country. Theatre, dancing and other activities are also crowd-pullers but of course, not comparable to the Delhi University scene.
A yet another crucial and compulsory part of the law school curriculum. Since the NLU course is a professional one, students are required to intern every semester which usually average to two per annum. Students apply what they have learnt and are able to see real-time action. Internships are diverse and can be taken up at Libraries, NGOs, Governmental Departments and organizations, lawyer chambers, Corporates, Banks, Publishing Houses and Law firms.
Publications and Conferences
A lot of law students write and publish articles and papers on complex questions of law and society. These publications carry a lot of weightage, especially if you are considering pursuing an LLM in universities like Yale, Harvard and Oxford. Parallel to these are conferences where students submit proposals for papers and research and present their findings before a body of academic scholars. Both of these activities have very high profile building values.
Students travel over the world for their official assignments, internships, moot courts and when their placements come about. Besides these, you often also take day and weekend trips that are no less than fun with your fellow law school companions. Travel and explorations are very strong character building exercises.
Quality of Life
The best part about law school is that it lets you be you. There is a place for every personality and the chance to develop your strong points. If you’re social or even a loner, you still are a part of the community. You make friends (and enemies) and have fun in the process. It is not a bed of roses all through and you do have some dull moments, but these become limited once you have a set of loyal friends. Happiness at the end of the day is choice, and if you choose to partake the law school experience with an eager and enthusiastic approach, the journey can be one awesome life changing experience.