India™s top-ranked law colleges

EducationWorld May 14 | EducationWorld

Despite the legal profession being hugely overcrowded, the black-coats and tie-bands fraternity continues to attract youth from middle class households into this universally hated but indispensable profession
A PARADOX OF CONTEMPORARY India™s sclerotic legal system characterised by too-few courts and judges, court fees, garrulous judges and lawyers alien to written pleadings, and unsurprisingly the biggest judicial backlog of pending cases (30 million) worldwide, is that even if the system is on the point of collapse, top-of-the-heap counsel in the Supreme and high courts reportedly rake in annual incomes running into crores. This is because although the wheels of justice grind ponderously, they grind surely, and the prospect of languishing in the country™s cramped and notoriously unsanitary jails, and/or losing large fortunes to predatory tax officials and business rivals prompts lay citizens to pay any price for liberty and justice.
This perhaps explains why despite the legal profession being hugely overcrowded ” the number of practicing lawyers countrywide is estimated at 1.27 million ” the black-coats and tie-bands fraternity continues to attract youth from aspiring middle class households into this universally hated but indispensable profession. Moreover, following liberalisation and deregulation of the economy, the structure of the legal profession has undergone a metamorphosis with the emergence of a large number of American-style legal firms which have merged the traditional roles of counsel and solicitor even in the apex and high courts. Contemporary law firms pay mint-fresh graduates substantial salaries ab initio, reducing the long three-five year ˜waiting period™ of young law graduates of yesteryear.
This structural change in its character has made the legal profession more attractive to youth of both sexes in recent years. In addition, the emergence of professional law schools and academies which dispense indisputably better quality legal education than the law faculties of traditional universities, has also enhanced the appeal of this career option.
To facilitate the large number of young hopefuls in evaluating the relative merits of the country™s best law schools, for the second year in succession the editors of EducationWorld commissioned C fore, the Delhi-based market research and opinion polls company, to constitute a sample respondents database of 307 advocates, 157 law school faculty and 134 final year law students countrywide, and elicit their opinions of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the country™s Top 20 sufficiently high-profile law schools.
œTo eliminate bias, only one faculty member from each law school or law faculty of a university was interviewed and ratings given by faculty and/or students to their own institutions or alma maters were disregarded. The rating scores given to law colleges/institutes by respondents were totaled to arrive at the rankings, says Premchand Palety, founder-CEO of C fore.
Unsurprisingly, the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore promoted by the Bar Council of India and the Karnataka state government in 1987, which routinely heads the league tables of media publications, is top-ranked for the second year in succession followed by NALSAR, Hyderabad maintaining the status quo from last year. However the National Law University, Delhi and the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata have exchanged places to be ranked #3 and #4 in 2014.  Ditto NLIU, Bhopal and NLU, Jodhpur which have traded places this year.
Further down the table, Amity Law School, Noida has improved its ranking to #9 and the previously unranked Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow and the Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat have risen in the public esteem to be included in the Top 20.
œwe are very encouraged that an informed public has rated NLSIU India™s best law institute across all parameters. The high reputation NLSIU enjoys, like the institution has been built brick by brick over the past 25 years, says Dr. R. Venkata Rao, vice chancellor of NLSIU. An alumnus of Dharmapur (Odisha) and Andhra universities, Rao taught at the latter for 35 years prior to being appointed director of NLSIU (student strength: 500) in 2009.
According to Rao, there is continuous activity and innovation in NLSIU™s 23-acre wholly residential campus in suburban Bangalore. œDuring the past two years, we have introduced two new programmes in consumer law and practice, and cyber law and forensics. And from this year, we will offer a two-year Masters programme in public policy and a one-year programme in teaching and research. The NLSIU model which is being replicated countrywide, is changing the culture of litigation in India and strengthening the legal system, says Rao.
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