Legal Education Reform in India: Dialogue Among Indian Law Teachers
Jane E. Schukoske
S M Sehgal Foundation
September 1, 2009
Jindal Global Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 251-279, September 2009
Reprinted in Legal Education in India, 2014, L.Malik and M. Arora, eds., Universal Law Publishing: New Delhi
University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-27
This article outlines legal education reform debate occurring around the world and the developments in India and is designed to be useful to legal educators in India to respond to the NKC's recommendations. These intersecting reform trends in other parts of the world include: (1) reframing of curricular content to integrate cross-border and international dimensions of practice; (2) greater emphasis on problem-solving, negotiation, and transactional practice to balance the traditional law school curricular focus on litigation; (3) connection of theory and practice through clinical legal education; and (4) use of new technologies for learning. A pervasive theme found within the last three trends is the need to place greater emphasis on values and ethics. The article then turns to the legal education context in India, with over 900 institutions offering law courses, and highlights reforms efforts in Indian legal education. Government bodies, including the Bar Council of India, Law Commission of India, and University Grants Commission, have convened expert panels that have recommended legal education reforms, some of which have been implemented and some of which are pending. Eminent professors have admirably guided such efforts. However, it appears that greater dialogue among the vast numbers of Indian law teachers is needed: – to envision the role that lawyers can play in bringing about a more just society within India and in strengthening India as a country globally; – to identify and implement improvements needed in pedagogy and curriculum; and – to improve the infrastructure supporting legal education itself, in particular, teacher training, professional development and teaching materials, and community service materials. Sharing ideas through legal research and scholarship is important to initiate the dialogue. Specific treatment of strengthening support for law teachers for conducting legal and socio-legal research will be the subject of a subsequent article. This article poses broad questions for law teachers to consider and seeks to inspire the Indian law teachers to collaborate more closely, using new readily available technologies, to contribute more interactively to legal education reform.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: NKC, National Knowledge Commission, internationalization, global readiness, access to justice, dispute resolution, legal education reform, new technologies, clinical legal education, Bar Council of India, Law Commission of India, University Grants Commission, Indian law teachers
JEL Classification: I21, I28, I29, K19, K39
Date posted: August 23, 2009 ; Last revised: December 19, 2013
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