Aspiring law students who intend to enroll for 5-year B.A.LL.B. or 3-year LL.B. course in this admission session face a difficult predicament because of the coronavirus health crisis, which has caused law schools to close their campuses. Unlike in years past, someone looking for various law schools cannot visit those campuses to determine where he or she feels most comfortable.
The spread of the disease caused by the new coronavirus – namely, COVID-19 – prevents person-to-person meetings of law aspirants with faculty memebrs, alumni and others who might be able to share insights about a particular law program. Social distancing guidelines issued by public health officials and government authorities discourage in-person interactions.
That means aspiring law students must seek information about the law schools that accept them in ways other than on-campus experience or in-person interaction. Law admissions experts note many methods for researching law schools remotely.
Prof. (Dr.) Priya A Sondhi, Associate Dean (Academics) at Asian Law College (ALC), Noida suggests asking to observe virtual classes at potential law schools before the semester is over. Law school applicants should also participate in whatever virtual admitted student events their potential schools offer, including virtual campus tours, Prof. Sondhi says.
Aspiring law students should also check the quality of a law school’s remote learning options to ensure that, if the coronavirus crisis continues for an extended time, they can still receive a good legal education, Prof. Sondhi adds.
Some law school admissions experts advise aspiring law students to schedule video conference calls with current law students and recent law graduates. A few others also suggest that it is ideal for prospective law students to identify alumni of their undergraduate institutions who attended a law school they are considering. According to them, when prospective law students reach out to people with whom they have a college connection, those people are likely to reply and be open and honest about their law school experience.
Ms Ritu Sehajpal, Head-Marketing & Admissions, Asian Law College suggests searching on LinkedIn and other social media sites for alumni of the law schools they are considering as an option for admission will help. It is a good time for all law aspirants to ask the alumni of their interested colleges shortlisted for admission if they would be willing to discuss their law school experience, Ms Sehajpal says.
Experts also suggest that it is also prudent to speak with individuals currently affiliated with the school, and the admissions office can help arrange these conversations.
Mr. Ashish, HOD at Asian Law College, notes that the most important aspects of a law school are the people and the culture. So it is really worthwhile to have conversations with the people associated with a particular school even if those conversations cannot happen in person, Mr. Ashish emphasizes.
Mr. Ashish further stated that “Connecting with students and faculty by way of phone, email, or virtual events can give aspiring students a window into the community they will be joining, the type of classes being conducted, and the kind of resources, experiences, and support that will be available to them.”
It has been observed that employment statistics and other data can also clarify which law school is the best fit. Experts suggest that future law students should look at the disclosure forms that their potential law schools submit to the Bar Councils, since these forms include valuable information such as where law graduates typically work and what kind of salary they usually earn.
However, Mr. Ravee Sharma, Assistant Dean-Corporate Resource Cell (CRC) in ALC cautions against making a choice about a law school solely on the basis of minuscule differences between employment numbers.
Assuming that the placement statistics at law schools may look similar, aspiring students should focus on assessing which law school provides the best preparation for the kind of legal career they are hoping for, whether it is a career as an intellectual property lawyer or as another type of lawyer, Mr. Sharma suggests. Future law students who have an interest in a specific area of law should find out whether a particular law school has an updated academic curriculum within that field, he says.
Industry interface should also be a significant consideration, Mr. Sharma says, because it is feasible to get a legal education at a much lower price at one academic institution vs. another, then it is advised that earning a law degree with having industry exposure and interaction at a little high fees should not be overlooked.
Dr. Saleem Akhtar (Director Academic Advisory Board), Asian Law College says prospective law students should not be shy about reaching out to law college admissions offices if they have questions that are not readily answered via online research, since admission offices are typically willing to answer such questions.
Prospective law students should think hard about what kind of learning community would suit them best and look for a law school that aligns with their personal goals, Dr. Akhtar says. “Students should ultimately be thinking about schools holistically,” he says, adding that a law program requires a big investment of time, effort and money.
Dr. Akhtar recommends that it is not easy to get hold of a good law school campus and is highly competitive .
Dr. Akhtar, therefore, urges aspiring law students to carefully assess which law school offers the best academic benefits and then make a wise selection of law school. Prof (Dr.) Akhtar also urges the law aspirants that there are many good private law collges as well which can be taken into consideration by law aspirants after a through research in them.