The debate about whether National Law Schools truly offer a better experience than traditional law colleges is not a new one. Indeed, the debate that we see playing out in India is but a manifestation of the contestations that have been underway between elite and non-elite institutions in countries across the globe for multiple decades.
A lot has been written and deliberated upon by thinkers on both sides of the spectrum to establish the superiority of their claim — by those in favour of elite institutions to argue that educational institutions which follow a very rigorous admission process deserve a higher degree of reverence and respect on account of the way in which they have been able to shape the thoughts and worldview of some of the world’s finest professionals and by those who believe that traditional colleges offer an equally enriching experience to argue that education cannot be a preserve of a handful of institutions in the information age and that it is the students’ intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge that play a far more fundamental and formative role in their career than the name of the institution from where they acquire their professional qualifications.
However, the truth remains that barring the exception of some well-established and most reputed traditional colleges and universities like AMU, BHU, DU, ILS etc. which have been producing the best result ever since they were functional and have some of the country’s best law library and their alumni are successful legal professionals – most of the other traditional law colleges have woefully inadequate infrastructure, unprepared and uninformed faculty and limited access to legal databases and books. And, sadness and anger towards such traditional law colleges stems principally from the remarkably poor quality of students who study in these institutions – students who do not know what a non obstante clause or proviso or prima facie mean even after successfully completing their law course; students who strive to glorify ignorance and seek solace in each other’s’ lack of understanding of the law; students who haven’t read a single judgment, citation or legal article in their 5 years of law school; students who believe that objectifying people of the opposite gender is more interesting and cool than questioning the legal arguments that they would be well served to study; students who believe that education is just about copying your neighbour’s answers and passing exams; students who believe that internships, moots and extracurricular activities are a waste of time and are not going to be of any help to them in the real world. The standard of legal education in the country possessing the world’s second largest population of lawyers is best epitomized by the fact that many of these students studying at such not-up-to-mark traditional colleges eventually end up bagging medals and securing excellent marks in their exams, never realizing the extent of their ignorance.
Indeed, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court has rightly noted, we cannot blame the students for their failure to excel in a race which many of them don’t even know is being run.
The causes for the events sketched above are many, but its immediate effect is only one which manifests itself in different forms: When students go to college, far too often they are ruefully informed that classes have been cancelled; far too many students spend the most formative period of their lives in canteens and cafes; far too many of them only study a handful of important questions which they are told will help them pass the exam with flying colours; far too many of them enter the legal profession woefully underprepared.
And just as it is said that India cannot grow in an inclusive and sustainable manner until her villages show signs of growth, we cannot honestly say that we have a robust legal education system until the colleges that produce a large chunk of the roughly 70,000 law students that graduate each year undergo the paradigmatic shift needed to convert them from breeding grounds of indolence and incompetence to bastions of personal and professional growth.
Seen in this perspective, it is here that top private colleges in India like Asian Law College (ALC), Noida presents itself as one of the best options to pursue a degree in law in the country today. The reasons for this proposition are many. If we just take the example of Asian Law College-Noida, there are so many things that can be said about it:
Affiliated to Ch. Charan Singh (CCS) University, Meerut and approved by Bar Council of India (BCI), Asian Law College (ALC), Noida follows an approach to legal education wherein learning experience is not only enlightening but also enriching and inspiring. The college is committed to exploring multidisciplinary approaches through its unique curriculum and revolutionizing legal education through modern pedagogies, thereby adapting to the changing world in which law professionals operate. ALC aims at developing knowledge, skill and value amongst the students and they are nourished by the critical learning pedagogy and mentored and supported by faculty and staff so that they have the best experience possible to be successful in life.
Asian Law College boasts of faculty whose expertise spans across various areas of law and who have a wide range of teaching and research experience. It attracts students from diverse cultural backgrounds and perspectives. This leads to a vibrant multicultural classroom wherein established theory and new critical questions are put into a dialogue.
Asian Law College has an unmatched array of courses and academic offerings. Students have an opportunity to pursue a broad curriculum using rich educational resources in a dynamic and creative learning environment.
The course curriculum at Asian Law College is constantly adapted according to changing legal and other environmental developments. All its initiatives are a living proof of its commitment to every student’s success in his/her career.
Asian Law College aligns itself with Asian Education Group (AEG) which has a distinguished record of achievements. The academic environment generated here by the interaction between professionals of various disciplines has a stimulating influence, especially in the formative years of young students that will help them to develop an integrated personality and a greater competitive spirit.
In many ways, ALC is looking at bringing about a paradigm shift in delivery of legal education in the country. It aims to add new dimensions in legal education that would incorporate International Standards, thereby providing an environment which would enhance freedom and innovation in the dynamic pursuit of thoughts and civil society engagement to advance the law of the land. The college also looks forward to enhancing research inputs in the education modules, thereby connecting students and faculty to the larger platform involving other national and international agencies and playing a pivotal role in framing socially relevant policies in the legal sector.
In conclusion, it can only be said that law aspirants, in the first place, need to be extra-cautious in their selection of the right law college to pursue their legal ambitions so that they do not have to suffer the frustrations of studying at a traditional law college and thereby make a mess of their career.