Immortalised by legal drama series, films and literature like ‘Suits’, ‘The Practice’, ‘Boston Legal’ or ‘Ally McBeal’ to the all-time-favourite Julia Roberts-starrer ‘Erin Brockovich’, or attorney-turned-author, John Grisham’s bestselling legal thrillers like ‘The Firm’, legal professions have become glamorous in every way. If you’re an urban millennial, you’ve probably grown up watching Mike and Harvey’s thrilling escapades with law in Suits.
Be it in fact or fiction—law has definitely become popular. Especially with expanding economies, evolving international relations and trade, and changing social, political and environmental situations, the legal profession is high in demand across the world.
But it’s been a long road for legal education in India.
There was once a time when you had to look outside India if you aspired for a serious career in law. Coming from the pre-Independence era where quality legal education was neither taken seriously nor readily available, the post-Independence period saw some surge with more law colleges coming up.
Thanks to the pioneering effort of people like N.R. Madhava Menon, who’s considered the ‘father of modern legal education in India’ and spearheaded the launch of the five-year B.A. LL.B. programme at National Law School Bangalore in 1987, law has become a real, respectable and riveting career for young people today.
Now, you can find the best legal education right in the midst of the lush green fields of Sonipat, Haryana. In this otherwise rural backdrop, sits a truly world-class institution. Jindal Global Law School has been ranked as the number one law school in the country, followed by NLSIU Bangalore, by the QS World University Subject Rankings 2020. In a historic moment, JGLS now features among the top 150 law schools in the world. For the first time a private law school in India has achieved this feat.
What made this possible? A global curriculum, global faculty, multidisciplinary approach and teaching practices that are at par with the best global universities like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, or Stanford.
When it comes to legal professions, becoming a lawyer is not the only option.
The industry has opened up many legal and allied roles. Legal education has also evolved to keep pace with industry needs and growing opportunities.
The B.A. Legal Studies programme has been popularly offered by top American institutions like University of California, Berkeley or Northwestern University so that more people can enter the legal realm in a variety of capacities.
This is a unique opportunity for youngsters to foray into legal and allied fields without taking the long road—the five-year B.A. LL.B.—to become a lawyer. It’s attracted a lot of students across the world.
Back home in India, JGLS, O.P. Jindal Global University is bringing the immense scope of the BA (LS) programme to Indian students. As a first in the country, the three-year B.A. (Hons.) Legal Studies programme will start this year. Though graduates will not be eligible to practice law, it will prepare students for various careers in law, judiciary, academia and public service.
Jindal Global University’s decision to introduce the BA (LS) programme in India is not unusual for the young university, which has quickly carved out a niche for itself in the higher education space in India, especially when it comes to law.
Here’s a look at seven reasons why this multidisciplinary undergraduate programme could be the perfect choice:
- You’re interested in law, but not quite sure you want to become a lawyer
Many young people are enamoured by law. What’s not to love about a subject that’s challenging, intellectually stimulating and oh-so-interesting? Yet some who go through the competitive LSATs to secure a spot at a traditional B.A. LL.B., somewhere down the line feel they are not ready for it, and some others realise it’s not what they want.
2. It’s important to take the right call right off the bat.
If you have an interest and aptitude for law, but are not yet convinced about becoming a lawyer—the BA (LS) degree is the perfect choice. It will give you time to explore the depth and breadth of legal studies. You can then go on to pursue a three-year LL.B. programme, which is also offered at JGLS.
2. You can discover rewarding careers related to law
Remember Rachel Zane’s ambitious, hard-working personality from Suits? BA (LS) prepares young people to enter law-related fields, particularly as paralegals, legal assistants or policy professionals. Demand for these job profiles is exploding the world over.
In this fast-growing industry, you get to work alongside lawyers. From much of the work that happens behind-the-scenes like legal research, analysis and writing to gathering evidence, drafting and filing legal documents to preparing for the courtroom, these jobs can be very challenging and rewarding.
So you’re ready to meet the needs of the industry, the course will focus on critical skills like quantitative and qualitative analysis, professional communication, legal research and writing, logical thinking and problem solving. You’ll learn how to identify, analyse, assess and address legal issues and their social impact.
O.P. Jindal Global University has many collaborations to facilitate internships and placements at top Indian and international organisations. Graduates can be absorbed into law firms, corporates, governments, businesses, or other allied fields of law.
3. Keep your options open for studies & careers beyond law with a training that develops highly transferable skills
While the BA (LS) degree can be a gateway to a career in law, it also opens other doors. Different from the mainstream BA LL.B. that is deeply focussed on law, the BA (LS) programme balances law with liberal arts perspectives.
Such a multidisciplinary curriculum allows you to explore a variety of interests and future plans. You could easily pursue higher studies and careers in social sciences.
Multidisciplinary training equips you with skills that are transferable across the board. Having a sound knowledge of law, being conversant in the legal language and comfortable with legal landscapes, being able to form ideas, opinions and articulate effectively, be it legal or otherwise—can all be valuable in any line of work. Be it legal or non-legal, you can find roles in domains as far and wide as business to international affairs, public policy or journalism, think tanks, NGOs and start-ups
4. It’s a chance to explore the role of law in the world around you
If you’re really interested in the dynamics of the world around you, and are curious about how law works in the real world, you’ll enjoy the interdisciplinary subjects of the legal studies curriculum.
For instance, learning about ‘Gender and Society’ in a world that’s still fighting for equal pay may give you an edge to rally for women’s rights. Or if you’re committed to doing your part in saving the environment, the course on ‘Legal Protection of the Environment’ will give you the basic exposure you need.
Or if you find yourself engrossed in high school economics, you’ll get to look at economic theories through a legal perspective; for example, how demand and supply relates to the law—giving you a different idea from a purely social sciences approach.
Imagine studying cross-border trade and investment, financial market regulation and regulation of technology and cyber space—all incredibly important, emerging areas in today’s context. Then there are courses on criminal justice system, human rights, international law, international relations, commercial transactions, corporate governance and more that could inspire you to decide what you’re looking for from your career.
5. It’s perfect for those with an analytical bent of mind
Why do legal frameworks exist? How did laws come to be? What are the implications of law on human behaviour and society? These are the kind of questions you’ll be asked at JGU.
A quintessential pillar of multidisciplinarity is learning not what to think, but how to think.
Through an analysis of society, culture, human behaviour, and the many variables at play in the world, you’ll learn to inspect, explore and discover for yourselves, the reasons and implications of law.
6. Get the right blend of theory and hands-on learning experience
One part of the programme is all about creating a strong foundation for legal studies. This means understanding legal thought, logic, language, history, the Indian Constitution and world legal systems. You’ll also explore the social sciences. Once you’ve got a sound footing, you can branch out with discipline-focussed elective courses. This is the time to nurture your interests in specialised areas of study.
But the learning doesn’t stop at the classroom. You’ll get to put your knowledge to the test during every semester break. By the end of the course at Jindal Global Law School, you can boast of five mandated internships under your belt!
7. Get trained in legal research, analysis and writing, which is in high demand today
Courses on legal research and methodology and advanced legal writing skills will train you to go the extra mile. Carefully selected internship experiences will also help you develop strong communication, observation and organisational skills.
With some of the best faculty in the field of law, Jindal Global Law school can mentor students to understand Indian and international legal systems—and become not only well-versed with the legal context, but also major legal and political discourses across the globe.