Niranjan: Rhodes footstepsNiranjan: Rhodes footstepsExclusive: NLSIU Bangalore graduate and 2010 Rhodes scholar V Niranjan has bagged the prestigious Vinerian Scholarship after topping 140 students in Oxford University’s Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) – a “simply outstanding” course, in his words.

Niranjan, who told Legally India he would now go on to pursue a career in litigation at the Madras High Court, scored a distinction in all four subjects (70 in restitution, 71 in personal taxation, 72 in conflict of laws and 73 in evidence). He was awarded the John Morris Prize for Best Performance in the Conflict of Laws, Rupert Cross Prize for Best Performance in Evidence and the Gray's Inn Tax Chambers Prize for Best Performance in Personal Taxation.

The Vinerian Scholarship is valued at £2,400 and is awarded at the discretion of the examiner.

The scholarship was named and instituted after legal writer and benefactor Charles Viner in 1755 and recipients include Oxford dons such as John Gardner, as well as legal luminaries such as appeals judge Lord Hoffmann and South African Supreme Court judge Edwin Cameron.

Niranjan along with Aditya Swarup of Nalsar Hyderabad had won the Rhodes scholarship in 2010 and Legally India caught up with him to quiz him on his experiences.

Legally India: What was the Rhodes experience like?

V Niranjan: It was fantastic. It adds a new dimension to studying at Oxford. I am extremely grateful to the Rhodes Trust.

Tell us more about your course selection?

Many students who intend to be barristers take all or some of these courses, although I don't know of too many Indian students with that combination. I took these courses for three reasons. The first is that I very much enjoy hard law and technical subjects in general (especially in English law) and private law in particular. These were natural picks from that point of view.

Secondly, these are widely regarded as among the very best courses in the BCL - and now I can see why. The faculty members teaching these are simply brilliant, and the subjects themselves very demanding - it is therefore a great experience. For example, I can't imagine a better place in the world to study Conflict of Laws and Restitution.

Thirdly, I always intended to litigate, and I plan to focus on commercial law and taxation, which again meant that these very useful subjects to study. What is remarkable about these courses is the depth expected of a student, and the very advanced level at which the Faculty teaches. 

What was the level of difficulty compared to NLSIU?

The level expected of a candidate is naturally considerably higher. [see link] In short, good papers, especially in technical subjects like the ones I took, must demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the case law and literature on the subject, and also develop arguments of one's own. But the courses are taught so exceptionally well by the Law Faculty that it is possible for a candidate to reach that level, and more importantly, to understand the law very well.

How about the quality of teaching compared to Indian undergrad courses?

Simply outstanding. I can't find words to describe how good the teaching is - most often, the faculty members are among the world's leading authorities on the subject, and know it like the back of their hand. The teaching consists principally of seminars, lectures and tutorials. The tutorial system not only makes it impossible for a student to hide, but provides an invaluable opportunity to submit and get feedback on written work, and explore particular issues in greater depth.

The seminars are exhilarating because of the cutting-edge legal issues one ends up discussing, as are the lectures. What is most rewarding is that at the end of the year, one has improved considerably as a lawyer, in important ways - reading cases more carefully and comprehensively, becoming more comfortable with technical private law, learning how to write better, speak better, etc.

And there is also a strong academic tradition beyond the formal seminars - for example, listening to Lord Hoffmann and Laurence Rabinowitz QC speak was an exciting and unforgettable experience (organised by the Oxford Obligations Discussion Group).

Any other Indian students on the BCL?

Quite a few. I can't remember exactly how many, but there must have been around 10.

You were quite the avid mooter in college - any opportunities for mooting at Oxford?

Quite a few. There was so much coursework to do that I had no time - all I could do was judge one moot.

Related Articles
Click to show 40 comments
at your own risk
(alt+shift+c)

NB: By reading the comments you agree that they are the personal views and opinions of readers, for which Legally India has no liability whatsoever. Because anonymous comments may be biased or unreliable, you agree that you will not allow any comment(s) to affect your estimation of any person(s) or organisation(s). If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to administrator' below the comment with your objection and we will review it as soon as practicable.

reader comments:comments rss feedrefresh

Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments. Show latest comments only (beta)

1
 
Recommend! +8 Objection! -0 Legal Holmes 2011-08-02 20:05  interesting
How better can things be? I just bow to his spirits.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
2
 
Show?
Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 2nd Yr Kid 2011-08-02 20:08
What a gem!
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
3
 
Recommend! +7 Objection! -0 London Lawyer 2011-08-02 20:18  interesting
Simply brilliant. Well done Niranjan, you have done NLS and the Indian legal community very proud.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4
 
Recommend! +6 Objection! -0 JKF 2011-08-02 20:55  interesting
Its great that we have students from National Law Schools who want to excel in litigation and academics at the top level in the world and not just be greedy corporate lawyers.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 A 2011-08-03 11:37
its more of interest than greed ...
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4.2
 
Recommend! +7 Objection! -0 Lee Harvey Oswald 2011-08-03 23:14  interesting
Quoting JKF:
Its great that we have students from National Law Schools who want to excel in litigation and academics at the top level in the world and not just be greedy corporate lawyers.


Sorry for going off topic- but your insane comment about "greedy" corporate lawyers deserves a response

(i) Whats greedy about corporate law? Do senior counsels work for free? Do they not represent corporate clients? In fact senior counsels in India charge much higher than their "greedy corporate" counterparts- some of their rates even in dollar terms is astronomical. The only thing they lack is the professionalism of their law firm counterparts, not turning up for important hearings being a case in point.

(ii) Perhaps the "greedy" comment comes from the fact that corporate lawyers earn sizeable sums of money, whereas litigators have to work ("struggle") for a pittance... that is supposed to be glorious and unselfish for some reason- I dont know why choosing the dignity and the security a well paying job designates you as greedy- why would you spend your parent's money getting an education from a national law school and then let your intelligence and talent not be adequately compensated... I know another Rhodes Scholar- he works for one of India's most well known litigators in the Supreme Court and gets paid nothing- does he deserve it? I think not.

(iii) Niranjan writes regularly for the Indian "corporate law blog" (yes greedy corporate)- most of his articles are on commercial law, on contract, arbitration, FDI... even his Rhodes subjects include conflict of laws, restitution, personal taxation, all of them very "corporate" subjects... I am sure he will be glad to be called a corporate litigator

Stop this glorification of litigation as a career choice, we know how Indian courts works, we know how orders are obtained...

Niranjan is a supremely talented guy, he would do well wherever he goes... the Madras Bar should be proud to have him, as will corporate law in India
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4.2.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 JKF 2011-08-04 19:45
I said greedy corporate lawyers because the trend of N-school graduates has been to chose fat-paying corporate jobs in spite of not having any interest and inclination in this area. These same students say they wish to pursue litigation in their early days but the lust of fat pay checks and a secure job takes the better of them.

If the quality of litigation lawyers is bad in India, do you wish to wear bangles and sit down when this further deteriorates as MNCs are ready to pay a huge price for their legal work. Niranjan is at least not joining a so called 'desk job' but trying to improve the way the Bar works, even if it is commercial litigation. Senior Counsels may be paid a fortune, but at least they have the balls to go to the bar where they will know that they are likely to excel because of their intelligence.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4.2.1.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Lee Harvey Oswald 2011-08-05 23:38
Umm most senior counsels get their balls either from having godfathers or uncles or from bribing judges...

Between something that offers the security of a stable pay and spending years licking a senior's boots there is really no choice
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4.2.1.1...
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 JFK 2011-08-06 11:00
That may be your personal opinion and wrong perception of things my friend.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
4.2.1.1...
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Lee Harvey Oswald 2011-08-08 12:24
to quote someone i trust you wont disagree with "That may be your personal opinion and wrong perception of things my friend."
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
5
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Shivendra 2011-08-02 21:54
Outstanding.Amazing!
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6
 
Recommend! +5 Objection! -1 Noojie 2011-08-02 23:10
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.1
 
Recommend! +6 Objection! -0 Non Noojie 2011-08-02 23:56  interesting
Dude. He topped the BCL. Credit where it's due.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.2
 
Recommend! +9 Objection! -0 HM 2011-08-03 00:52  interesting
Quoting Noojie:
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.



Kian can we dislike this?

Dude, learn to give credit when its due instead of butting in.
No one cares.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.2.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 me next 2011-08-03 19:19
none cares how some [...] did in bcl okay? the point is he was on a rhodes scholar and he topped and he is joinig the bar !
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.3
 
Recommend! +16 Objection! -0 Another Noojie 2011-08-03 11:38  interesting  top rated
Please don't embarrass NUJS by saying such things on a public forum.
a) Niranjan went on a Rhodes Scholarship;
b) He topped BCL
c) Next time, don't identify yourself as a Noojie.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.4
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 London Lawyer 2011-08-03 15:34
Quoting Noojie:
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.


As far as I know he's the first Indian ever to get a Vinerian Scholarship. That certainly deserves plaudits. By dragging NUJS into it, you just come across as petty and insecure. Next time, show some grace and give credit where it is due.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.5
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -1 Brian 2011-08-03 16:45
Quoting Noojie:
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.

Dude! what is wrong with you...you lack the basic comprehension skill. Did you even read the article?if you are still wondering, it's not about making into BCL. Are noojies this dumb?
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.5.2
 
Recommend! +8 Objection! -0 Another Noojie 2011-08-03 19:26  interesting
Brian,

Please do not haul the entire nujs community for some snake like him. We are not at all jealous, in fact we are overwhelmed given the fact that he is an Indian first.

Abroad, it is never about nujs or nlsiu, it is always about Indians laying their mark in Oxford or any place whatsoever.

Thanks !
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.5.2.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -1 Brian 2011-08-04 13:40
Seriously! you guys are one insecure bunch. Some one does excellent from your country and you guys can't even handle that. I know it would be wrong to put you all under one blanket but time and again I come across people from Kolkata law school, who are always out to prove a point (often wrong). But then that's just my personal opinion, I hope you I am wrong.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.5.3
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 fraud noojie 2011-08-04 14:03
Quoting Brian:
Quoting Noojie:
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.

Dude! what is wrong with you...you lack the basic comprehension skill. Did you even read the article?if you are still wondering, it's not about making into BCL. Are noojies this dumb?

Noojies arent. This guy is just trying to pass off as a noojie and malign nujs with his comments. Congrats niranjan
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.6
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 shame 2011-08-04 14:02
Quoting Noojie:
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.


Please stop embarassing NUJS. I am sure you are from some other unheard of college and are trying to malign NUJS by passing yourself off as a Noojie. If you are to embarassed to use the name of your own college, just post anonymously, dont steal the name of my college
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.7
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 nalsarite 2011-08-04 22:48
Kian, if you have to mention the 'noojie' students, let's not forget the many nalsar students who have done exceedingly well at the harvards and the oxfords of the world. even they deserve to be mentioned on an equal footing as niranjan.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.7.4
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 NA 2011-08-05 11:18
hahaha.
this is soooo not a nalsarite.
nice try though.

when did kian mention anything about the the noojie students?
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
6.8
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 an actual noojie 2011-08-05 17:33
Quoting Noojie:
Making it into BCL at oxford isnt that big a deal at all. Funny how people forgot to mention about [...] from NUJS. She has done exceptionally well too. But we always tend to focus more on NLS students.



Oh dear lord. Could you make it any more obvious that you're NOT a noojie? Nice try though. Bored, were you?

To all those who actually reply to such troll comments - are you guys really this dumb?

Congratulations Niranjan! You've made all of us, lawyers / law students alike, a proud lot!
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
7
 
Show?
Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 Anonymous 2011-08-03 00:32
Absolutely inspirational. The humility shines through from this interview alone.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
8
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -1 Dhin Tara 2011-08-03 01:13
At No. 6 we have another Noojie crying..
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
9
 
Recommend! +15 Objection! -0 TheQuestion 2011-08-03 11:08  interesting  top rated
Take a bow Niranjan! I met him recently at the AIBE exam centre in Chennai. The exam was of course abandoned for the 2nd time, as rowdy elements vandalized the venue and staged ‘protests’ questioning the legitimacy of the exam. Poor Niranjan, like the rest of us was stranded. That too after having flown in from England to appear for the exam. Welcome to the Tamil Nadu bar!! This is how we treat our rhodes scholars
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
9.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -1 Malhi, Mumbai 2011-08-03 15:04
Very good comment :-)
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
10
 
Show?
Recommend! +3 Objection! -0 ICFAI alumnus 2011-08-03 11:44
Many congratulations to V. Niranjan !!

Long time back I met another NLS guy who was the winner of Henry Dunant Moot in 2005 ...later on, he too went to Oxford as Rhodes Scholar. His name was Arghya Sengupta. Can anybody tell me where is he now ?
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
10.1
 
Show?
Recommend! +3 Objection! -0 NLS 2011-08-03 14:14
Still at Oxford, starting the final year of his DPhil.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
11
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 mithunda 2011-08-03 14:28
For me the most impressive news is that he is coming back. Most Indians chase money and work abroad after their LLM. That is a short term view. Look at all the Rhodes scholars and Harvard grads who came back: Montek, Kapil Sibal etc. Would they have risen to such positions had they stayed abroad? For this reason Niranjan is a really clever guy a bigger hero than some of the other Rhodes scholars from NLS whose names have been mentioned here.

Kian I really think you should emphasise he is coming back home instead of his marks. Also, can you please ban NUJS students from this site? At least have a "dislike" button
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
11.1
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 TPTG 2011-08-03 14:48
Quoting mithunda:
For me the most impressive news is that he is coming back. Most Indians chase money and work abroad after their LLM. That is a short term view. Look at all the Rhodes scholars and Harvard grads who came back: Montek, Kapil Sibal etc. Would they have risen to such positions had they stayed abroad? For this reason Niranjan is a really clever guy a bigger hero than some of the other Rhodes scholars from NLS whose names have been mentioned here.

Kian I really think you should emphasise he is coming back home instead of his marks. Also, can you please ban NUJS students from this site? At least have a "dislike" button


Mithunda, actually Montek *did* work abroad with the World Bank. If you are going to make sweeping generalisations of the kind above, please could you at least ensure that both of the two random examples which you use make sense in the context in which you use them?
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
11.2
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Another Noojie 2011-08-04 12:54
Please don't kill all the fun by banning nujs students Mithuda.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
12
 
Recommend! +11 Objection! -0 Anonymous 2011-08-03 15:28  interesting
Kian, I understand that a law school alumni has become Miss India universe or some such title and will be participating in a global beauty event. Maybe consider doing a feature on her as well?

thanks..
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
13
 
Recommend! +7 Objection! -0 Annnnnon 2011-08-03 17:55  interesting
Incidentally, the rumour is that with the subject combination he chose, which is amongst the toughest subjects to score in, the only people who have recd. a Vinerian with similar subjects are Lord Hoffman and Laurence Rabinowitz QC!
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
14
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Bombay 2011-08-04 18:51
Proud of you V Niranjan!
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
15
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Khushi 2011-08-05 11:42
WOW!!! Congratulations Niranjan! Totally made my day to read this! We're totally proud of you.. all the best for your career in litigation. Hope to read about your achievements in that field in the near future as well.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
16
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 ashwin 2011-08-07 16:20
simply wow! thanks for doung india proud. good luck.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
17
 

Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments.

Add comment (Alt+Shift+A)

We and fellow readers love when you share your thoughts in a comment but please:
  • be nice to other readers and humans who likely have feelings,
  • use full English sentences and words, and
  • abide by Legally India's full terms and conditions in using the site.