•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences
An estimated 4-minute read
 Email  Facebook  Tweet  Linked-in

We are all aware of the recent controversies surrounding one of the countries premier legal institution. From sexual harassment to suspicion of corruption, the students of this institution have seen it all. There has also been questions on the efficiency of the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar of the University. All this have led people to believe that the standard of this law college has fallen and that we are no longer a good institute.

Well, while acceding to the some of the allegations and shortcoming, I think people have been particularly harsh on this University primarily cause it has been on the news a lot. To understand this, one has to understand what is the most important thing in judging the standard of a Law University. The answer to this varies for different people but Faculty is a main concern.

It is for this reason I feel that it will do us good to explore how faculty affects the students.

Faculty is an important aspect of any institution. However, more often than not, premier institutions in our country have inadequate faculty. However, the quality of faculty depend on a lot of factors to manifest itself much in the students achievements. Take for example IIT Kanpur. Arguably the best institution for engineering in our country, has students hardly attending classes. So, even if they have the most amazing faculty in the world, it doesn't really make much of a difference.

While this is true of engineering, Law being a practical profession is more limited by the role of faculty. Law basically consists of arguments and knowledge.

Developing your argumentative skills is never primarily taken up by the university. Most of this skills you develop on interacting with your peers, debating and mooting. In this area, only practical subjects like Legal Methods are dealt with by the faculty. NUJS has the best teacher in the country for Legal Method, even if that was not the case, one just needs to read books like "Thinking Like a Lawyer" by Vandevelde to develop them. Furthermore, writing papers and articles help a lot.

Next comes knowledge that includes the research, cases and other relevant articles. Learning how to find cases, learning how to research is again never a primary focus of law school. You learn all that by mooting and by writing papers. Hardly will you ever find a teacher who asks his students to find themselves the relevant cases while teaching a particular act.

In both of the above cases, you learn mainly from your peers and your seniors both of whom are the best in India. The faculty has limited role to play. All this can be better understood by understanding the nature of Law.

So, let's talk about Law. Law is both substantive and procedural. Procedural Law, such as drafting a contract, sending legal notices, and filing cases, are hardly ever taught in a law school. It is learned mostly through internships, mooting and in other informal manner.

So, then remains Substantive Law. Substantive Law are rules and underlying policies. Rules are primarily focused on in Law Schools. Studying rules involves understanding the interpretation of the statutory rules by the court and the underlying policies that it address. A good teacher takes one through the basic structure of the Act for example Indian Contracts Act ("ICA"). You are taught the practical interpretation of the words of the bare act in a coherent manner with the help of cases which ultimately gives you a general idea of the issues addressed. Practically speaking, most law students study just before the beginning of the examinations and just concern with the cases and the rules and seldom opt for an analysis of those rules based on the policies. For example: In any course, you will seldom be asked to give your comment on a judgement. Hence, even with a good faculty, they miss out on how to frame arguments, how to identify essential issue and how to decide the outcome. Unless, there is an amazing teacher who encourages students to analyse the rules which seldom happens. Essentially, the whole teaching process is rather mechanical and one can, on putting in a little additional effort, do so by using the popular books on the subject. Example: Pullock & Mulla for ICA. There is no doubt that it will require more effort but it will help one develop his own take on the policies underlying the rule which may differ completely from what he may have learned while under the teacher. Such an exercise will be abundantly helpful for he will learn to analyse the interpretations rather than just be aware of them.

While one may argue that weak students or students who are below average need a good faculty. For that I will put forward two arguments. First, NUJS is the country's premier legal institute, the quality of students here is very high. Secondly, most of these students seldom raise their issue in class on the fear of being judged and most of these issue are resolved by their peers or seniors anyway. And in this era of information, one is not really limited to the mercy of a faculty member and can explore other avenues which may require more effort but at the same time might lead to a more complete knowledge.

Therefore, while the faculty leaving is a cause of concern, it in no way suddenly shoots down the quality of NUJS as an institution.

Tagged in: NUJS NUJS placements
No comments yet: share your views