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Mint: The NLS experiment has not failed but what about the rest?

Mint: NLS
Mint: NLS
Madhava Menon’s national law school experiment of 1986 may have failed to pull hundreds of Indian law schools out of mediocrity but it has brought newfound respect to legal education, reports Mint today. Critics complain that the national law schools have mostly benefited corporate law but this may not be their fault. While no NLS grads have so far made it to senior counsel rank, some are making their mark in litigation.

The blueprint of Harvard-emulated teaching introduced by Menon has been followed by 14 national law schools to churn out multi-disciplinary graduates and the number of aspirants to the top Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) schools has grown by almost 20 per cent this year.

But why have the 20 best law schools of the country failed to pull the rest of the 880 up by their bootstraps and at the same time managed to vamp up the popularity of the profession in a shorter time than the IITs and IIMs did.

And why have the national law schools changed the face of Indian corporate law but not the bench or the bar? The generally contemplated career path of big-city law graduates reeling under education loans is still not lower rung litigation.

Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Ashok Parija says that blaming the graduates would not be fair: “The bar should also find ways and means to look after them.”

Centre for Policy Research visiting fellow Nick Robinson tells Mint that alumni diversity is a good thing: “If you think of the NLS as more of a lead school like Harvard or Yale – most of the alumni of Harvard and Yale don’t go into litigation either – they go into firms, into government and academia.”

Click here to read the full Mint feature on national legal education.

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