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Hi, 

My name is Natasha Maheshwari and I am a third-year student of Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai. I’m writing this article on behalf of the entire MNLU Parivaar, and on an issue that my tightly knit family of 220 - odd students feels very strongly about. 

In the weeks leading up to the CLAT result announcement, CLAT pundits analyse the paper, predict the expected cut-offs and dissect the achievements and opportunities available at each college. And while some of their guesstimates turn out to be true, most of it is inaccurate.

My college is very new – it’s going to be 5 years old in October. Being an upcoming and nascent University, it has been the subject of much debate and the victim of a lot of speculation. Mumbai is the financial capital of the country and the biggest city but…and yes here comes the big BUT - Is the locational advantage enough? Why should a law aspirant choose MNLU Mumbai over the older and other more established NLUs and law colleges? What are the facilities provided by and opportunities available at MNLU? All these question marks. Now, what I’ve noticed is, most of these questions are often answered by unreliable sources who know little to nothing about us. Hence, fuelling baseless rumours and unnecessary speculation leading to apprehensions in the mind of a potential student. 

 Let me, in this article, try to dispel some of these notions about my college, banish your doubts and reaffirm your faith in us. 

Campus - The first question that most of us at MNLU Mumbai are asked, is about our campus So for the first two years of functioning we were based out of the TISS Campus in Chembur and our hostel was in CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai. However, after that, our college campus and hostel shifted to two MTNL buildings located in Powai. Our hostel is right opposite the college campus and both are placed squarely in the middle of Hiranandani Gardens. Now some of you might go on to ask - “Do you need a proper campus of your own or is this MTNL arrangement working out?” Obviously, there is nothing like your own campus - your own basketball court, your own gym, your own mess, your own space. However, Powai is not so bad, in fact, it is much more than “not so bad”. In Powai, we have the best shops and restaurants located at a walking distance; everything is open till late, food and medicines are delivered 24*7, the nearest railway station is 10 minutes away, in summatum everything we need is close by. 

However, this arrangement is only temporary. The MTNL buildings have been taken on lease by our college and the lease subsists for 5 years. A plot of land has been allocated to MNLU Mumbai in Goregaon and the construction of our permanent campus will begin shortly.  

Competitions -  On the eve of its 5th Foundation Day, MNLU Mumbai has achieved so much, both at the national and international stage. Several times overs our students have shown that they have what it takes to come out on top in the most competitive competitions in India and at the International stage. Our college has won the NLS Trilegal International Moot 2019, won the NLS Mediation Competition in 2018 and then qualified to the ICC Paris Mediation Competition, won the NLS Negotiation Competition in 2018 and qualified to the International Negotiation Competition Cardiff, been a semi-finalist at the NLS Client Counselling Competition 2019, won Best Speaker (Special Mention) at the Manfred Lachs Asia Pacific Moot Court Competition, come 2nd in the Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition 2018 and qualified to the South Asian rounds in  Iran and then the Asia Pacific rounds in Hong Kong, been one of the 6 teams to qualify to the international rounds of the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot 2018-19 and was ranked 5th best in the world, been shortlisted as one of the 11 mediators from across the world for the CDRC Vienna Mediation Competition 2018 and then was a semi-finalist at the world rounds, been one of the 22 teams to be shortlisted for the CDRC Vienna Negotiation Competition 2019, won Best Negotiation Team at the HSF - NLU Delhi Negotiation Competition 2018, won the VIPS Dispute Resolution and Client Counselling Competitions 2018.

Besides moot and ADR competitions, our students have won Best Speaker and won/reached the finals and semi-finals of various prestigious debating competitions. Additionally, we have also performed exceedingly well at intercollegiate sporting events winning two golds, two bronzes and one silver medal at Invicta’19 and also winning other accolades at Vaayu’19, Virudhaka’15 and ’16.

We have had also had coaches for moots and ADR competitions. For example, AZB & Partners was our coach for the team that was representing the University at the ICC Paris Mediation Competition. 

Additionally, our students have published in various journals and also presented at national and international conferences.

Internships and Placements - Internships are one of the most important things that our college mandates us to perform. We have an Internship Cell that helps us to procure internships.  Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, J Sagar & Associates and Khaitan are amongst the notable law firms that reserve slots for our students during the internship breaks. Our students are also provided with clerkships under the judges of the Bombay High Court.  

My peers have interned with some of the best law firms like AZB & Partners, Luthra and Luthra, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co., Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, ALMT Legal, Khaitan & Co., J Sagar & Associates, Trilegal S & R Associates, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan and many more. 

They have also worked under senior counsels at the Supreme Court and High Courts like Mr. Harish Salve, Indira Jaising, Prashant Bhushan, Janak Dwarkadas, Kapil Sibal, Siddharth Luthra and Salman Khurshid to name a few.

Besides lawyers and law firms, students have pursued clerkships; worked with in house counsels, government departments, NGOs, think tanks and journals.

Our first batch will be sitting for placements this year. Our Placement Cell has been formed and is in the process of securing placements for our students. 

Faculty - Like most NLUs, it is compulsory for our faculty members to be/be pursuing a PhD. Since our college offers a B.A. LL.B program we have 6 teachers who are qualified to teach arts subjects and 14 for the law subjects (to estimate the teacher to student ratio: our batch size is 60 and will now be increased to 100). Guest lectures are regularly given by several distinguished personalities in the legal field, both nationally and internationally. 

Additionally, I must add, our founding Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof (Dr) Bhavani Prasad Panda stepped down, in August 2018, after three years of dedicated device. However, he continues to be a member of the Executive Board and is part of all crucial decisions. Our new VC’s name is Prof (Dr) Dilip Ukey. He was the former head of the law department at Pune University. He joined our college in January 2019. 

Facilities - Our college campus is on 3 floors of the MTNL Training Centre. The classrooms have air conditioners and projectors. The library is well equipped and you can request the library committee to buy a book for your use if its not available (provided you are able to justify its use, importance and purpose).  In addition to this, there is a music room, moot court hall, cafeteria, meditation room, common room and a hall for the events and assemblies to take place. 

MNLU Mumbai has leased four floors (2 for girls and 2 for boys) in the MTNL hostel, located opposite the college campus. Each room in the hostel has a balcony and a bathroom and is shared by two students. There is an air-conditioned common room which is open till 3 am and, in case, a student has a competition that requires her to work, till late at night, with her companions she can use one of the study rooms that are open all night. 

Additional Activities  - MNLU has signed MOUs with the Berlin School of Economics and Law (BSEL) and the Paris Nanterre University and it currently has an exchange programme with BSEL. 

We have 5 Centres of Research that are functioning within our college and they have each organised various activities and short courses - the Centre for Research in Criminal Justice, Centre for Goods and Services Tax, Mediation Centre, Centre for Research in Maritime Law and the Centre for Information and Communications Technology. 

We also have an elected Student Body Council and various societies viz., the Gender Society, Moot Court Society, Alternative Dispute Resolution Society, Academic and Debating Society and the Sports Committee under its aegis.

Organisational Experience: We organise our Annual Cultural Fest (intra college) each year called Abhikrama. Additionally, till date, we have organised 3 national conferences and numerous certificate courses, round table discussions and training programs and an Inter College Moot Court Competition on behalf of the Network for International Law Students (NILS). 

Now that I’ve answered sufficient questions about MNLU Mumbai, let me tell you why you should choose us over older and more established law colleges. First of all we’re located in the  most prosperous city in the country and everything that you will ever need is at your doorstep. Additionally, Hiranandani Gardens is one of the most affluent and posh neighbourhoods in Mumbai. Therefore, unlike most NLUs which are in remote and inaccessible locales, we’re right in the middle of everything. 

Second, our college timings are from 8 to 1:30 and as I mentioned earlier, our campus is 10 minutes away from the nearest railway station (train takes 45 minutes to reach Churchgate), so one can easily do a running internship with a lawyer or a law firm. Running internships are unfeasible in most other law colleges. 

Third, most law colleges are located in remote areas that are far from the city. Therefore, going out at night, travelling and girls safety becomes a concern. However, I can vouch for the high level of safety that exists in and around my campus. 

Fourth, most of you must have watched or read the protests that have ensued in most National Law Universities. Unlike the administration and faculty in those colleges, our teachers and administrative staff are very compliant and have often bent backwards to accommodate our requests. 

Fifth, our University sponsors our participation in co-curricular activities and supports them. It provides complete reimbursements for national moots and ADR competitions and debates and graded reimbursements for international competitions (25% if the team has qualified to the quarterfinals, 50% if the team has qualified to the semi-finals and so on and so forth). The teachers readily give project extensions to students who have competitions coming up and the team gets a preparatory leave before the competition for 2 to 5 days. 

Sixth, our college has a very strict anti-ragging policy; the students are extremely friendly and approachable and will always be willing to help. As I mentioned above MNLU Mumbai is a tightly knit family of 220 students. 

Lastly, I would like to add that our college isn’t perfect - there are no sports facilities and the students have to make do with a makeshift basketball, football court and cricket pitch, the mess food isn’t very tasty and can get extremely repetitive, our faculty is less experienced than those of other older law colleges, the library is less well equipped and most importantly, unlike more established colleges we don’t have an alumni to support and guide us. We are our own torchbearers.

But all said and done, I would like to say that the race to the position of the “Best NLU” began decades before an NLU in Bombay was even contemplated, and it is no denying that our university has a long way to go before it can claim that throne as its own. This race, however, is not a sprint but a marathon and we will show all those watching that MNLU Mumbai and its students are not merely one-trick ponies, but seasoned thoroughbreds who are in it for the long haul.

If you have any other queries about MNLU Mumbai, please feel free out to contact me. My email ID is

 

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