National Law School of India University
The National Law School of India University (NLSIU) is an institution of legal education focusing on undergraduate and graduate legal and policy education in India. It was the first National Law University to be established in India as well as one of the first in the country to offer the five-year integrated undergraduate law degree.
Dharmo Rakshati Rakshita
|Chancellor||Chief Justice of India|
|Vice-Chancellor||R. Venkata Rao|
Located in Bangalore, the National Law School of India University (or the Law School, as it is generally known) was established by a statute passed by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Karnataka. The statute states that Chief Justice of India serves as the school's chancellor. The university's administration is managed by the Vice-Chancellor, currently being served by Prof. Dr. R. Venkata Rao. The school has an intake of around 80 students in its undergraduate law programme, 40 in Masters of Law and 50 in its, recently introduced, Master of Public Policy.
The founding of the NLSIU was a culmination of over 2 decades of effort on the part of legal luminaries such a Chief Justice M. Hidayatullah, Ram Jethmalani and Prof. Upendra Baxi. Efforts were being made especially through the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India to establish a university on the lines of the Harvard Law School. These efforts culminated when the Bar Council of India Trust and the Government of Karnataka reached an agreement to found the first National Law University in Bangalore. This agreement was in large part thanks to the leadership of Ram Jethmalani who was then the President of the Bar Council of Indian and the enthusiastic support of Ramkrishna Hegde, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka. As such, in 1986, NLSIU was established under the stewardship of its founder, then Vice-Chancellor N.R. Madhava Menon.
Prof. Menon was keen on ensuring that the teaching at the university was not conducted in the traditional lecture format, which was then popular across Indian law colleges. As such, he introduced the case method, which originated at the Harvard Law School in the early 1900s. He also introduced the concept of group teaching, where more than one professor would conduct classes, with the professors taking contradictory positions and arguing the various points of law.
The University has since had four more Vice-Chancellors, namely N. L. Mitra, A. Jayagovind, G. Mohan Gopal, and incumbent R. Venkata Rao, who took over in 2009.
The first batch of law students joined the school's undergraduate programme on 1 July 1988. Classes commenced before the school's buildings had been fully constructed; thus, NLSIU actually began instruction at the premises of the Central College of Bangalore University and continued therein until November 1991. The school then formally moved to its present-day location in Nagarbhavi, a suburb of Bangalore.
NLSIU offers undergraduates a five-year integrated B.A./LL.B. programme which, upon completion, qualifies the student to sit for the bar to practice law in India. The LL.B. is the standard undergraduate degree in law offered in all common law countries except the United States where the professional doctorate J.D. is conferred.
The undergraduate B.A./LL.B. curriculum at NLSIU consists of a mix of social science and legal subjects. In the first two years, the law student attends courses on history, political science, sociology and economics alongside standard legal subjects, such as torts, contracts and constitutional law. In the latter three years, legal subjects dominate the curriculum. In 2017, NLSIU radically overhauled its academic curriculum, allowing students to choose a greater number of their upper-year courses. The aim of the change was to bring NLSIU in line with international best-practices allowing students to explore areas of their interest to a greater degree. This overhaul was also aimed at increasing the number of courses offered by industry practitioners by allowing for flexible evaluation patterns.
NLSIU also offers a two-year residential Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme, organised in six trimesters. Candidates are admitted on the basis of a Policy Aptitude Test, followed by interview. Seats are for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, physically disabled candidates and foreign nationals. In 2016 the UGC has asked NLSIU to change the name of MPP to Master of Arts (MA) in Public Policy.
In addition to the above full-time programmes, NLSIU also offers several part-time distance learning programmes, including a Masters Degree in Business Law (MBL) and Postgraduate Diploma programmes in various fields.
Admissions to both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are based on Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). In 2015, for the Undergraduate CLAT, a total of 40,000 students contested for a mere 55 seats, making the examination one of the most competitive in India.
|Law – India|
|India Today (2017)||1|
|Outlook India (2017)||1|
|The Week (2017)||1|
NLSIU was ranked first by India Today's "India's Best Colleges 2017", Outlook India's "Top 25 Law Colleges In 2017" and The Week's "Top Law Colleges In 2017". NLSIU was also ranked first in the National Institutional Ranking Framework Rankings conducted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India for Law Institutions in 2018.
Melgiri Memorial National Law LibraryEdit
The Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library at NLSIU is the largest law library in the country, housing a collection of over 40,000 bound volumes in addition to periodical holdings. The Melgiri Library was inaugurated by Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti on 27 August 2005. The library was built through generous contributions from the University Grants Commission (India), New Delhi and Chairwoman Sudha Murthy of the Infosys Foundation.
Endowment Chairs at the NLSIUEdit
UNHCR Chair on Refugee LawsEdit
In 1995, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at NLSIU. N. Subramanya worked on issues pertaining to refugees during his tenure as researcher under the UNHCR Chair and in 2004 two of his books about refugees were published.
The Student Bar AssociationEdit
The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the umbrella body that coordinates all student activities; all students are de facto members of the SBA. The SBA has created various Activity-Based Committees (ABCs) which are in charge of specific student activities.
NLSIU has a total of twelve ABCs which coordinate the activities of the Student Bar Association (SBA). These committees are re-constituted every year. The Co-ordination Council consists of the Convenors/Joint Convenors of the ABCs. This Council is responsible for ensuring that the various ABCs function coherently. A wide range of internal as well as inter-institutional activities throughout the academic year are organised by the ABCs and the Co-ordination Council. These include Spiritus (Sports Festival), Strawberry Fields (Music Festival), the NLS-Trilegal International Arbitration Moot, the NLS Negotiation and Mediation Competition and Admit One (Theater Festival). Students are also responsible for the publication of Quirk, an online magazine at NLSIU, which seeks to provide space to engage in a meaningful and mature dialogue.
NLSIU plays an active role in promoting parliamentary debate in India. The school regularly participates in many international competitions and is currently the highest-ranking Indian team in the World rankings. NLSIU reached the ESL Finals in 2002 and in 2007 at the World Universities Debating Championship. It also recently won the 15th All Asian Debating Championships held in Dhaka in 2008. Three out of the four semi-finalist teams, and six of the top ten speakers, were from NLSIU. Another boost for the Parliamentary Debate movement in NLSIU came in the form of the Cambridge University Debate Competition 2009, where the NLSIU team became the first South Asian team to "make the break" and reach the second round of the competition. NLSIU teams have also performed extremely well in the inaugural Asians BP Tournament held in Chulalongkorn University, with all three of its teams reaching the semi finals of the tournament, and two out of the top ten speakers (and four in the top 20). Since then, NLS has reached the Semi-finals of the United Asian Debating Championships held at Assumption University, Bangkok, in 2010. The NLSIU team of Anil Sebastian Pulickel and Aniruddha Basu have also been finalists at ABP. NLSIU speakers are consistently ranked at the top of parliamentary debates at the national and international level.
NLSIU also hosts South Asia's biggest Parliamentary Debate Competition. The inaugural edition of the NLS Debate was held in 2002. The competition brings together participants from across South Asia. In 2011, NLSIU's Literary and Debating Society launched two new initiatives – the NLS Union Debate and the NLS Debate Junior. Christ Junior College is also organising a parliamentary debate, in a tie-up with NLS.
Moot court competitionsEdit
NLSIU is the only law school in South Asia to have won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition twice, in 1999 and 2013. NLSIU won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition in 2009, 2012 and most recently in 2017. NLSIU also participates regularly in the annual Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Oxford.
Student Exchange ProgramsEdit
Students from the 5th year of the undergraduate course can take the opportunity to spend a semester abroad as part of the student exchange program run by the NLSIU. The University has MoUs for the same with over 30 universities all across the world, including the Georgetown University Law Center, National University of Singapore and the Sciences Po. Students from a number of these universities also visit NLSIU on short-term and long-term exchange programs.
Students graduating from NLSIU typically pursue a diverse range of careers. A number of students opt to join corporate law firms. The average pay for these students fresh out of college is around Rs. 14-15 lakhs. Apart from working in established law firms such as Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co. or AZB & Partners, students also join smaller, boutique law firms and in-house roles. These may also include roles as business analysts in consultancy firms such as McKinsey and Co. Several students enter litigation careers, with a number of alumni having distinguished themselves in various courts across the country. Alumni also serve variously in the judiciary, whether as Judges of the High Courts or in the lower judiciary. A few students also get recruited to foreign firms such as Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills and Allen & Overy. Each year, several undergraduate students opt to pursue their graduate studies from esteemed universities across the world such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Yale Law School or Harvard University. Students from NLSIU have been regularly receiving a number of scholarships to pursue their graduate studies including the Rhodes Scholarship and the INLAKS Scholarship. It is worth noting that since its inception, NLSIU has produced an impressive 25 Rhodes Scholars. Students have also chosen to write the UPSC Civil Services Examination and a number of alumni are placed in various levels in the bureaucratic set-up of the country. NLSIU alumni are also active in NGOs and Public Policy Think Tanks in India as well as abroad.
Some of the notable alumni of the NLSIU are as follows:
- Vikramjit Banerjee, Additional Solicitor General of India 
- Justice Shekhar B. Saraf , Judge, High Court of Calcutta.
- Justice C. Saravanan , Judge, High Court of Madras.
- Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav , Judge, High Court of Karnataka.
- Dorj Odbayar, Chairman, Constitutional Court of Mongolia.
- Dipen Sabharwal , Partner, White & Case LLP.
There are numerous journals published by the students and faculty at NLSIU. It is worth noting that the National Law School of India Review has been cited by the Supreme Court of India in two notable judgments including the Right to Privacy judgment. It is the only student-run and one of the few Indian law journals to have been cited by the Supreme Court of India. A full list of the various journals published by the NLSIU is e is here-under:
- International Journal on Consumer Law And Practice
- NLS Business Law Review
- NLSIU eJournal On Environmental Law, Policy and Development
- Journal of Law and Public Policy [JLPP]
- Indian Journal of Environmental Law
- CEERA March of the Environmental Law
- National Law School LL.M. eJournal
- National Law School Journal
- The Intellectual Property Review (IPR)
- Socio-Legal Review
- Indian Journal of Law and Technology
- Indian Journal of International Economic Law
- National Law School of India Review
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- Association of American Universities Data Exchange. Glossary of Terms for Graduate Education Archived 2006-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 26 May 2008; National Science Foundation (2006). "Time to Degree of U.S. Research Doctorate Recipients Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machine," InfoBrief, Science Resource Statistics NSF 06-312, 2006, p. 7. (under "Data notes" mentions that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); San Diego County Bar Association (1969). Ethics Opinion 1969-5. Accessed 26 May 2008. (under "other references" discusses differences between academic and professional doctorate, and statement that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); University of Utah (2006). University of Utah – The Graduate School – Graduate Handbook Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 28 May 2008. (the J.D. degree is listed under doctorate degrees)
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- Justice Shekhar B. Saraf
- Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav
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- Dipen Sabharwal
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