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With another round of CLAT and AILET exams drawing nearer, thousands of students will now have to decide where they want to spend the next five years of their lives learning the law. Below is my own experience of making a choice that raised eyebrows, almost a year ago.

The week preceding the 9th of June, 2013, was perhaps the longest of my life. The past month had been a whirlwind of unexpected good fortune as the result of one exam after another was released, and much to my (and others’) surprise, I had done quite well in all of them. While until two months ago I had been in the throes of insecurity that every Indian who writes his or her board exams goes through, wondering whether I would ever enter the gates of a half decent institution of higher education, I now had all three of my top choices in front of me, their hallowed portals invitingly open. I had managed to crack both the CLAT and the AILET, getting into the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU) and the National Law University Delhi (NLUD) respectively. Furthermore, my board marks were sufficiently high for me to be eligible for a seat in St. Stephens College, to study History, my favourite subject. Now came the excruciatingly difficult choice: which of these great institutions to join, essentially giving up on two others that thousands of my peers had competed to get into. St. Stephens was disqualified first, following consultations with the parental units about the feasibility of a History degree, the scepticism over the efficacy of the Four Year Undergraduate Program (FYUP) to be implemented that year onwards at DU, and the many advantages of a professional degree. The contest remained between NLS and NLUD, the former the well-established, much revered Mecca of Indian legal education, the latter the young upstart with its star in the ascendant. After much consultation with elder and wiser individuals, immense and intense consideration and sleepless tossing and turning, I chose to let the deadline for reserving my spot at NLS pass me by on the 9th of June without doing so.  Here are the reasons why, in no particular order:

We Are Young

There is something undeniably exciting about becoming part of something new and fast-growing. Only five years old at the time when I joined it, NLUD had produced only one batch, but in its short existence, had created quite a name for itself. From academics to debating to the jewel in the crown of any law school, mooting, NLUD had done phenomenally well. As a new law school, it is brimming with energy and drive, and under the leadership of our charismatic Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ranbir Singh, we have, and continue to, move onwards at a very impressive speed, with the top spot not too far. The student body itself is very enthusiastic and driven, with new groups and clubs coming up and working towards a bevy of different goals. NLUD has none of the stagnation and self-assured complacency that inevitably creeps into one’s mind when they know they are established and considered the best. To be a part of the growth of such an institution and be able to build it yourself is immensely attractive.



Show Me The Money

The sprawling campus and the amazingly well stocked library at NLUD are indicative of the wealth of the University. From the world class moot court hall to the enviable conference and meeting rooms, no expense has been spared to create a world class infrastructure for students. The legal education field being one which involves considerable expenses, it helps to be part of a law school that does not need to undertake great deliberations before spending its money for the furtherance of its student’s education. The fact that the college pays the entire expenses of participants in moot court competitions is very closely related to how well we have done in the same. This sort of generosity and willingness to spend money on worthy projects sets NLUD apart from all its competitors.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Admittedly, this is a reason that might not apply to most, as it is personal, and to some people, stupid. However, the past year of law school has showed me how much of an advantage it is to be close to home. Having been a Delhite for the past eight years, I quite love this city. Being able to go to law school without having to catch a plane every time I want to come back home was a great draw. A legal degree is by no means an easy one, and can get very stressful and difficult. It helps immensely to be able to just catch a Metro and be back home, welcomed by home cooked food and the warmth of your parents. It allows one to unwind, relax and go back to work fighting fit. Moreover, the hundred tiny problems that accompany outstation students: laundry troubles, scrambling to go to the market, awkward forced interaction with some remote relatives who are your local guardians, are not something I have to worry about.

Location Location Location

New Delhi, being the capital of the country as well as the location of the Supreme Court, is the never centre of all things legal in India. Being able to study the law in a city so closely involved in its framing and interpretation is definitely an advantage. Internships are aplenty, with the most ambitious and talented amongst the students getting opportunities to work with Supreme Court lawyers. We also benefit from the close proximity of imminent persons of law and other fields of learning. In the past year itself, I have had the good fortune of listening to Mr. Shashi Tharoor, David Johnston, the Governor General of Canda, Prof. Timothy Endicott, the Dean at Oxford’s Law Faculty, and the venerable Ram Jethmalani, among others.  NLUD’s greatest advantage, perhaps, is its location, an advantage that no other college can ever appropriate.


Second to None

In my (yet unconcluded) first year in NLUD, I have learnt that there is not a single solitary aspect where NLUD lags behind any other law school in this country in terms of providing its students with opportunities and facilities to do very well for themselves. The infrastructure, teachers and the kind of opportunities provided are second to none, and indeed much better than those at the older law schools. A driven, dedicated student is all it takes to make the best of what we are given and achieve success. Ultimately, it is upon us, as the students, to make what we may of what we have been given, and at NLUD, what is given is never inadequate.

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