The notions of law, legal education, and development have become entwined in modern emerging societies that are seeking to become social welfare states and are attempting to better the socioeconomic situation of the public by peaceful means. The same is true in India.
Considering this need, some institutes in India have come forward to provide better legal education and enhance the legal literacy of the country in demanding times.
School of Law, Presidency University, is on a mission to create ideal legal professionals. The institute started its journey in the year 2015, and since then, it has grown into an institution catering to three Honours programs with seven specializations.
In the last few years, the university has been able to make its mark felt in various moot court competitions, and its students are employed in various corporate entities and start-ups and are contributing to the advocacy filed through litigation as well.
Keeping the Nobility Intact
Teaching is an art, an art to make students the most authentic versions of themselves. That is perhaps why it is known as the noblest of the professions. Presidency University’s School of Law is first and foremost focused on honing, enhancing, and elevating this very art to greater heights.
The phrase ‘Gain more knowledge, reach greater heights’ finds a place right below the logo of Presidency University as a constant reminder and acknowledgement of the never-ending endeavors to seek and expand one’s horizon. The School of Law is dedicated to the art of teaching and research; and creating a conducive environment where students, faculties, and researchers can thrive, brainstorm, create and make breakthroughs.
Innovation and inclusivity are two more significant pillars of law school. Moreover, today, it has become nonnegotiable for a law school to bridge the gap between theory and practice in the field of law. Whatever is taught in closed classrooms means little if they don’t translate into enhancing the skills of students and preparing them for the practical world.
An interdisciplinary approach towards law is another aspect the school focuses on because the law cannot be studied, understood, or practised in a vacuum. So, in short, the mission of the school is to help students constantly enhance themselves; and its vision is to contribute to the field of law substantially.
Here, it would be fit to quote Lt. Nani Palkhivala, one the greatest jurists to have walked this planet, “Education is at the heart of the matter. Literacy is not enough. It is good to have a population which is able to read, but infinitely better to have people able to distinguish what is worth reading.”
Instrumental Role of the Dean
In 1980, Jeffrey and Thomas O’Connell published an article, ‘The Five Roles of the Law School Dean: Leader, Manager, Energizer, Envoy, Intellectual,’ which has been widely cited. There are various subtler roles as well that a dean has to play. But the most underrated role from the above five is that of an ‘Energizer.’
The school consciously attempts to ensure a constant atmosphere of learning and ‘seeking’ is ever-present. For this, the administration, faculties, and students need to endeavour hand in hand. But a dean needs to ensure that all the stakeholders in a law school find the motivation to do so. To constantly grow, think and evolve as academicians and learners.
Emphasizing Multi-disciplinary Research
The quality of legal education has changed as a result of the integrated 5- year bachelor’s degree programme in law. It was designed with the intention of bringing legal education to the level of a complete professional degree and giving recently graduated 10+2 students the chance to choose a career right away.
The B.A., LL.B.[Hons.], BBA, LL.B.[Hons.], and B.Com, LL.B.[Hons.] Integrated Bachelor Degree, Honors Programs were specifically created by the School of Law to equip legal practitioners for various situations.
The pedagogy adopted for such Integrated Programs emphasises multidisciplinary research and inquiry, participative learning, and blended learning using online resources, case studies and discussion seminars in addition to classroom lectures. A very critical aspect of the learning process is to develop the skills and attitudes imperative for competence as a legal professional.
With this objective, the Integrated Honors Law Curriculum has courses on personal and professional skill development like Professional Communication (including courses in general and legal English), Researching and Reasoning Skills, Advocacy Skills, and Drafting Skills. All such skills are refined through Moot Courts, Legal Aid Clinics and Internships that are conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Bar Council of India.
Constant Pursuit of Innovation
The law school has a bigger mission to be achieved in the coming years. The missions include:
- Commit to being an innovative and inclusive institution by seeking excellence in teaching, research, and knowledge transfer.
- Pursue research and development and its dissemination to the community at large.
- Create, sustain, and apply learning in an interdisciplinary environment with consideration for ethical, ecological and economic aspects of nation building.
- Provide knowledge-based technological support and services to the industry in its growth and development.
- To impart globally applicable skill sets to students through flexible course offerings and support the industry’s requirements and inculcate a spirit of new venture creation.
The institute has a vision to be a value driven global University, excelling beyond peers and creating professionals of integrity and character having concern and care for society.
Highlights of a Glorious Journey
- School of Law, Presidency University has been ranked Top 5 in Pan India under Top Eminent Law Schools, Ranked Top 6 under Top Schools in State (Karnataka) by Competition Sucess Review, Law School Survey 2023.
- Presidency University, Bengaluru, School of Law Ranked No -16 in India’s Best Private Law College. Rated AAA+ in India’s Best Law Colleges South India- By Career 360 Law School Survey 2023.
- Presidency University, Bengaluru is ranked 69 in Pan India under Multidisciplinary Universities by The Week-Hansa Research Survey 2023 by The Week Magazine May 2023.Presidency University, Bengaluru, has been listed as India’s Best Universities (Emerging Universities) by Careers 360 Magazine.
- Presidency University, Bengaluru, is awarded Institutional Grade A+ and Institutional Band/ Category: Diamond by R World Institutional Ranking under Green Ranking 2023
- School of Management, Presidency University has been Ranked 61 in Pan India under Best B-Schools Private (overall) and Ranked 34 in Pan India under Top Pvt. B-Schools under University Program by IIRF 2023 Best B-Schools 2023, released by Education Post Magazine.
Bridging Gaps between Theory and Practical
It hardly needs to be said how social sciences and law are interdependent. In order to ensure that graduates are qualified and skilled to meet the variety of opportunities in the legal profession, management sciences, economics, and commerce must be integrated with legal education, given the rapidly expanding Indian economy and worldwide commercial footprint.
It is important to reiterate the importance of bridging the gap between theory and practical aspects of the law. For this, the law school engages the students in negotiation mediation, client counselling, moot, and debate competitions in the classrooms as a part of the course curriculum. Making it a part of the curriculum ensures that students gradually develop the required skill sets to thrive in the field of law.
Multi-dimensional Study of Law
The school has also consciously adopted the interdisciplinary approach towards the study of law. For example, ‘Law and Literature’ is a course that is not given the due significance it requires in most law schools in India. The school ensures that such courses are enshrined into its programme structure meticulously in order to prevent the one-dimensional study of law.
Adherence to skill enhancement, focus on practical knowledge of the law along with theoretical and walking hand in hand with the inter-disciplinary nature of law to ensure all-round development of ‘to-be lawyers.’ Many law schools attempt to adhere to the above aspects, but the vigour with which it is done is different. This law school’s vigour to not compromise with this is what makes it stand apart from the crowd.
The school conducts various internal and inter-university events throughout the semester to ensure students get maximum exposure and a variety of experiences. Secondly, making certain competitions a part of the curriculum itself creates the required impact. For example, the school would rather have a Public Interest Litigation drafting competition in a Constitutional Law course rather than simple class presentations.
Socratic method, practical learning, flip class, and active research learning are some of the few pedagogies that the school focuses on. Practical learning includes various extra-curricular activities like moot court competitions, debates, alternative dispute resolution competitions, seminars, brainstorming sessions and more.
Student engagement, all-around development, conceptual clarity, and practical understanding form the epicentre of imparting knowledge at the School of Law. Its goal is to make the students’ ‘THINK.’ The goal of the art of teaching is to make the students’ think and not just understand or learn information thrown at them. Many fail to realise the importance of this nonnegotiable approach.
Giving Global Outlook
Internationalization of all courses in all programmes taught in the school is an important aspect of its approach. The school ensures that comparative studies or a global outlook approach towards any subject form a significant part of the course outcomes and the entire curriculum in general.
The most important job teachers or law school can do is to develop the ability to think and question. To engrave into their brains that the best way to live and develop a career is to be aware of your own ignorance. Career development happens consciously and not hypnotically if these values are imparted to the students.
Law School as Lifelong Companion
The law school also has a career development cell that works to ensure that students are given the guidance that they require at every step of their law school journey. Career development seminars, personalized sessions, and expert talks are regularly organized to aid students in enhancing their understanding of the dynamic field of career development in the law.
The three-pronged focus of the law school for now is:
- To enhance diversity and inclusivity among students and faculty members.
- To enhance the interdisciplinary nature of education imparted.
- To further develop an intense research atmosphere.
Just like Roscoe Pound said, “The law must be stable, but it must not stand still.” Similarly, the growth environment at a law school ought to be stable but should not be stagnant. The school needs to evolve constantly as per the requirements of time and the dynamism of the legal industry.