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National Law Schools – the ‘IITs’ of Law

Traditionally, legal education in India meant a 3year bachelor’s degree in law(LLB) and a 2 year PG degree (LLM) after graduation. Regular universities would conduct these courses as per the curriculum prescribed by the Bar Council of India(BCI). Around 1985, BCI instituted the concept of National Law Schools(NLS) which are specialized law universities solely devoted to legal education.These autonomous schools are affiliated to BCI with legal luminaries like the CJI or the HC Chief Justice as Chancellors. This completely transformed legal education in India providing an inter-disciplinary and integrated approach to legal education. Now, students can opt for a five-year integrated course, BA. LLB or BBA. LLB after Class XII. Students keen to acquire international exposure can also avail exchange programs of NLS with foreign universities like University of Singapore, York University – Canada, Kings College – London, EBS University-Germany, etc. NLSIU is the first university nurtured by its vice-chancellor Prof N R Madhava Menon for 12 years, who later developed NUJS at Kolkata. Starting with only NLSIU in the first decade, today there are 19 NLS, as detailed in the table below.

Career Prospects for Lawyers

NLS have excellent campus placements and with top recruiters like Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Khaitan, Trilegal, Luthra & Luthra with salaries ranging from Rs. 8 to 18 lakhs pa. International offers could fetch mind-boggling 30 to 50 lakhs pa.

NLS students gain exposure to different facets of legal systems and how they interact with public policy, social institutions and markets. Apart from compulsory courses, NLS have a plethora of seminar& optional courses having distinguished legal professionals as visiting faculty. Students also participate in various moot court competitions to develop/hone their skills in practising law. They also participate in International moots winning accolades for themselves and their universities.

Just as engineering aspirants aim for IITs, management aspirants aim for IIMs, in the same manner, law aspirants aim for national law schools. What was once upon a time, commonly considered a last choice of career has now transformed into a highly sought-after career of choice for students. No longer do students with high percentages like 85%to 95% marks in school shy away from humanities and commerce. Those interested in high-profile challenging careers but not keen on science and maths choose to join the national law schools. They would need to write a national level examination called Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) conducted on the second Sunday of May. Keep watching this space for my next article regarding the CLAT exam.

S.NoNational UniversityLocationYear of EstablishmentNo. of seats offered
1National Law School of India University (NLSIU)Bangalore198680
2NALSAR University of Law (NALSAR)Hyderabad1998120
3National Law Institute University (NLIU)Bhopal1997128
4West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS)Kolkata1999127
5National Law University (NLU)Jodhpur1999115
6Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU)Raipur2003187
7Gujarat National Law University (GNLU)Gandhinagar2003187
8Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU)Lucknow2006178
9Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL)Patiala2006196
10Chanakya National Law University (CNLU)Patna2006140
11National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS)Kochi200568
12National Law University Odisha (NLUO)Cuttack2008180
13National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL)Ranchi2010140
14National Law University and Judicial Academy (NLUJA)Assam2009120
15DamodaramSanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU)Visakhapatnam2008120
16Tamil Nadu National Law School (TNNLS)Tiruchirappalli2012110
17Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU)Mumbai201462
18Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU)Nagpur2015120
19Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU)Aurangabad201760

Padma Parupudi

Director LawPrep at Abhyaas Edu Corp

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