NLSIU Bangalore (National Law School of India University)

The National Law School of India University was established with a view to make it a trail-blazer in legal education in India. In its short life span from 1987 until the present day it has managed to do this and more. It·s various activities and courses offered and the various laurels it has won across the globe are amply dealt with in the prospectus and other official literature. What we·d like to give you now is a picture of what life in law school is like from a student·s perspective. The nitty-gritties of being  a student at India·s premier legal institution  have been put under the microscope and examined in detail for the benefit of aspiring law-schoolites --- Law School Tutorials

NLS Bangalore tops India Today's law school rankings once more!

Law Education in India


Admission Eligibility: 10+2 School Examination or equivalent with not less than 50% marks (Students taking qualifying examination in March/April 2004 are also eligible to apply)

Age Limit: Below 20 years as on 1st July,2004 (22 years in case of SC/ST candidates)

Course Structure
The BA, LLB (Hons) course, though available presently in various other universities around India, saw its inception at NLSIU. Such an integrated course was conceived of with an objective to bring legal education on par with other professional courses like medicine and engineering, where a student fresh out of high-school can make an immediate career choice. The course is of 5 years duration. The curriculum for the course is a mix of social science subjects and legal subjects. In the first two years, a student at NLS Bangalore will be taught History, Political Science, Sociology and Economics along with the standard legal subjects. After that it is mainly legal subjects that constitute the curriculum. There are subjects taught at NLS which are not to be found in other institutions of its kind like ·International Commercial Transactions· & ·Law, Poverty & Development·.In the final year the students get to special in whichever areas they like and to do seminar courses in them. There is a plethora of seminar courses offered right from Air & Space law and medical law to cyber laws.The faculty teaching at NLS is selected from among the best available in their respective fields and the reputation of the university itself attracts the best faculty from all over India. Visiting faculty includes eminent names from all over India and the world. Ram Jethmalani, JS Verma, Kaushik Basu, Michael Kirby; these are just a few of the eminent personalities who have graced the NLS visiting faculty list. Apart from the regular courses that constitute the compulsory curriculum, there are also offered from time to time, optional single credit courses. These courses are generally taken by experts from outside law-school over a short period of time, a fortnight at the most. Some of the titles of these single credit courses have included, 'Politics in India', 'Admiralty Law', 'Law and Cinema'. These courses are completely optional and can be taken up by a student according to his interest and convenience.

Placements (Work Experience): Every student is required to do at least three placements during his course at NLS. A placement is a 36 day internship that the student does with a lawyer or law firm of his choice, subject to the applicable regulations. A student is required to do at least one trial and one appellate court placement. Other options for doing placements include NGOs (Non-governmental Organisations), International Organisations like Oxfam, Amnesty International, newspapers or corporate houses. These placements give the NLS graduate a distinct advantage over his peers from other institutions as s/he would have had the hands-on experience of working as a lawyer in addition to the classroom knowledge that he acquires as part of the course.

College Infrastructure
Recreational Facilities :-
For those who favour physical exercise, NLSIU offers fairly decent sporting facilities. A football field, a basketball court, two volleyball/throwball courts, a clay tennis court are some of the sporting facilities available on campus. In addition to this the men's and women's hostels have badminton courts and table tennis tables. There is also a well-equipped gym open from 6 am to 8 pm. There is a common room in the academic block, which has a television with cable connection, as well as magazines and board games and a carom board. The men's and women's hostels have common rooms as well with television sets and Table tennis tables. The men's hostel has its own library, which in addition to academic books has a limited selection of light reading. Though not officially classified as a recreational activity, the computer room with internet access, is a form of recreation available to the students. Though its mandate wouldn't stretch beyond communication and education, the internet is undeniably a method of recreation for those interested in reading about anything.

The Computer Lab:-
The computer room used to be referred to as the A/C room because of the fact that the only thing that functioned properly in it were the air-conditioners, but all that has changed with the full revamp of the computer lab carried out in November 2001. The computer lab now has 30 state-of-art computers connected to the internet and equipped with MS Office XP. The internet connection is provided by a 256 kbps high-speed dedicated leased line and it is faster than anything one would get to use otherwise (unless you were rich enough to have your own personal DSL line). It is going to be open 24 hours so those not privileged to have a computer of their own will not be handicapped in any way as far as access to computers is concerned. A scanner, dot-matrix printer and CD-writer are also available in the computer lab for the use of students.

The Libraries :-
NLSIU has three libraries. The textbook section (affectionately referred to as the 'downstairs library' for obvious reasons) and the journals and periodicals section as well as the Subroto Roy Choudhary library (affectionately referred to the upstairs library and SRC library). These libraries have different timings. The downstairs library opens at 8 am and is open till midnight, though books are not issued after 5.00 pm (officially, but unofficially a lot of 'please please' can work wonders). The books in the downstairs library are fully searchable on a computerized database and this is very useful indeed. A similar database of journal articles is also in the process of being compiled. Each student is issued a library card and is allowed to issue one book on it. The books have to be returned by the next working day failing which a strict fine is incurred. The first two days you pay a a fine of Rs 2/- per day and after that Rs 5/- per day. Fines are imposed strictly (no, 'please, please' does not work in this regard). The journals and periodicals section is open from 11 am till midnight. The SRC library is open from 2 pm till midnight. Books in these libraries cannot be issued. All libraries are provided with Photocopiers for the use of students. Copies can be made at 50p per copy (double-sided). But at times the backlog for photocopying (esp. journals section) can get so huge that your copy can take over a day! The upstairs library also has a laser printer which the students can use to print projects, seminar papers and other assignments at Rs. 3/- per page. Both SRC and the journals and periodicals section are open on Sunday till 4 pm.

Other Infrastructure :-
There is one main academic block (referred to as acad. block or ad. block) which houses all the classrooms, the libraries, the computer room and the faculty chambers, along with all the various centres that NLSIU runs like CCL(Centre for Child and the Law), TILEM (The Institute for Legal Ethics and Medicine), and NIHR(National Institute of Human Rights). There is one classroom for each year, classrooms being equipped with sound systems and Overhead projectors.

Extra-Curriculars and Co-Curriculars
Activity Based Committees:- NLS has various activity based committees, which allow students to pursue co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. These committees have a merit-based selection procedure and are active through the year.

Legal Services Clinic:- Probably the most high profile of the Activity Based Committees, the LSC, has a mediation centre at Ramnagaram, a village outside Bangalore, where the students attempt to provide a system for alternate dispute resolution. The LSC also hold legal literacy programmes and is in the process of setting up a mediation centre right on campus for the use of the public.

Law and Technology:- At one time the most redundant of the committees, el~Tek has of late become a very active flag-bearer for the concept of an e-lawschool. El~Tek is in charge of the maintenance of the computer lab as well as the co-ordination of the efforts to make NLS a fully digital law school.

Cultural Committee:- Committee in charge of conducting cultural events in college and in charge of selecting the university teams for cultural events.

Literary & Debating Society:- Committee in charge of conducting Literary& Debating events in college and in charge of selecting the university teams for literary and debating events. They lso conduct the famous NLS Debate, India's first and only international debate competition. Read more about this year's competition.

Moot Court Society:- Committee in charge of holding moot court competitions, both intra-college and inter-college, also responsible for the selection of the university teams for moot courts.

Sports Committee:- Committee in charge of conducting sporting events within the college as well as Spiritus, law school's annual sports inter-collegiate sports fest. Also in charge of selecting university teams for sporting events.

Law & Society:- The youngest of the ABCs, Law & Society is in charge of examining social issues in the light of India's legal framework.

Event Management Committee:- Committee in charge of organizing Le'Gala, law school's annual cultural fest.

Student Advocate Committee:- Committee in charge of publishing the Student Advocate, law school's law journal, as well as in charge of maintaining the notice boards.

Campus Development & Management Committee:- Environmental Concerns and the Campus

Events in Law School

Le-Gala & Strawberry Fields:-
Held over three days during the last weekend of November every year, Le-Gala is law school's prestigious Lit'n'Cul fest. Held concurrently is Strawberry Fields, the annual muzik fest, which is India's largest & best loved rock fest.In a short span of 5 years Le-Gala and Strawberry Fields have established a reputation that any other fest in the country would be hard pressed to match. Colleges from all over the country come for Le-Gala and there are over 40 different events happening over the three days. And to assure absolute fairness, NLS does not participate. Strawberry Fields is India's favourite rock fest, for the bands and the fans. Bands from all over India come to be part of this festival where the final night attracts a crowd well in excess of 10,000. The satisfaction of seeing the successful completion of Le-Gala and Strawberry Fields, after putting in months of toil, is unmatchable.

Though only two years old, Spiritus is slowly but steadily gaining a reputation in the Bangalore sports fest circuit. Currently restricted to Bangalore colleges, spiritus is set to go all-india, in its future editions. Spiritus 2001 was held in the second week of December.

PN Bhagwati, Afro-Asian, Commonwealth & Other Moot Courts:-
The National Law School hosts its very own constitutional law moot court competition, the PN Bhagwati Moot Court Competition. It is considered to be among the finest moots in the country. NLS also organizes the afro-asian moot court competition, where teams from all over Asia and Africa compete. NLS also hosts the Indian rounds of the prestigious Commonwealth Moot Court competition. In addition to all this, NLS also hosts various other national moot courts which are hosted in rotation by different universities.

University Week:-
In mid-May, is organized the Univ. week, which is basically a week of fun and games for the whole college. Various inter-class competitive events are held by the Cultural Committee and L'n'D. There are dress-themes for every day of the week and whacky competitions held everyday. Univ. Week 2001, featured a performance by Angeldust, one of Bangalore's finest rock bands. All this is topped off with a dinner hosted by college for all the students and parents/local guardians who wish to attend.

Achievements :-
The National Law School has won laurels in various fields connected and disconnected with the law. One of the main strengths of NLS is in the mooting department. National Law School teams have won the most prestigious moot court competitions in India and Abroad. The Philip C Jessup moot court competition (Washington), considered the most prestigious in the world was won by a team from NLS in 1999. The International Client Counselling Competition, held in Chicago was also won by the National Law School in 1999. The Stetson moot court competition in Florida was won by the National Law School team in 2001. NLS also won the Afro-Asian moot court competition in 1999. NLS has shown creditable performances in other international moots like the Commonwealth Moot and The Vienna Moot Court Competition. Every prestigious moot court competition in India has been won by National Law School many times over. The Bar Council of India moot, the GLC Mumbai moot, The Kerala Law Academy moot ' the list is endless.

This is not saying that NLS students restrict themselves to mooting as a non-curricular activity. Teams from National Law School have excelled in Literary and Cultural fests all over India. Notable performances at IIT-Bombay's Mood-Indigo, JIPMER's Spandan, IIT-Madras's Saarang, and pretty much every single Bangalore fest have established the formidable reputation for NLS teams on the college fest circuit.

Career Opportunities
Recruitment :-
One of the aspects of NLS that sets it apart from similar institutions is the 'campus recruitment' that happens at the end of the course. Any student who desires to sit for recruitment can do so. Recruiters include top corporate houses & law firms from India & Abroad. These jobs include positions as legal advisers to corporates and practicing members of law firms. A sample list of recruiters (past & present ) would include Arthur Andersen, Wipro, Infosys, Hindustan Lever, ICICI, SAIL, GESCO, Tata Sons, Amarhchand Mangaldass, Pathak & Associates, ARA Law, DSK Legal. International recruiters have included Linklaters (the world's largest law firm) from London & Khattar & Wong from Singapore. With the opening up of the service sector in compliance with WTO norms, this list should see a huge addition of foreign names in the near future. Around 30 ' 40 students sit for recruitment every year and there are generally over 150 posts available, and many recruiters have to leave disappointed.

Practice :- The next most popular option for the NLS graduate is to practice. Practice has its pros & cons. The lure of instant cash in the form of a fat pay packet may be missing, but the long-term prospects are much brighter as a practicing lawyer. Students generally start out with law firms and once they get a firm grounding venture out on their own or set up their own firms. Many NLS graduates have set up firms and are doing well. This is not restricted to India. There are NLS graduates practicing in the UK and the USA. It is an interesting fact to be noted that all the NLS graduates who have attempted the New York Bar Exam, one of the toughest in the world, have cleared it on first attempt while it is normal for American graduates to try twice or thrice before clearing.

Further Studies :-
Many NLS graduates also opt to study further after their stint at NLS. Most of these students get scholarships and go to study abroad. It is notable that for the past six years, at least one law-schoolite (most often two) has figures the list of Rhodes Scholars from India. Other scholarships like Inlaks & British Chevening are de rigueur for NLS graduates. Law School alumni can also be found at Harvard, Cambridge, London School of Economics, Stanford, Colombia, New York University, just to name a few. Many even opt to continue their education in India. IIMs are a favourite destination for such students. Interestingly, there is even a law-schoolite teaching at IIT - Madras.

Other Options :-
The options are limitless for the law-schoolite as far as careers are concerned. Many people have joined NGOs, International organisations like the War Crimes Tribunal and so on. Numerous NLS graduates have joined the civil services, one of them ranking 7th in the IAS exam! There is an NLS graduate on the Star News team (Indranil Choudhary), there is an NLS graduate in the modeling world (Joey Mathews) and practically everywhere you look you will find law-schoolites. Theatre, music & cinema are just some of the fields where NLS graduates have demonstrated their capabilities. There is an NLS graduate on the Oxford Cricket Team (only the third Indian to receive the honour).

Hostel Life
(NB: Hostel details are those of the men's hostels, but the women's hostels do not differ significantly in any respect)
Hostel facilities in NLSIU are more than adequate for the requirements and are superior in many respects to other premier institutions like IITs. The mens halls of residence are three in number, Himalaya, Ganga & Cauvery. The women's halls of residence are housed in the Nilgiris blocks along with the annexe. Each hostel room accommodates three students, and a hostel room is divided into three cubicles (popularly referred to as cubies) for the purpose. Each cubicle offers a reasonable degree of privacy for the student and for all practical purposes is like a small single room. But of course, the usual fundas of not playing loud music when your roommate is sleeping would apply here as well! Each cubie is provided with a bed, desk, chair, cupboard, light, fan and plug point (please note that a plug point is a luxury few college hostels provide its students). You can use any appliance that you like so long as you pay a fixed electricity charge for the appliance.

The toilets are common, each floor having 4 lavatories and 4 bathing stalls. These are kept reasonably clean by the maintenance staff. Hot water is available through one common tap, 24-hrs a day. Of course, occasionally the coils blow, or they forget to switch on the geyser and you're forced to have bath in cold water, but rest assured this is in the rarest of instances. Every student is well-advised to have a bucket and mug of his own, for purposes like washing clothes, or if the student is squeamish about using buckets and mugs used by everyone else. Clothes can be washed by students at the washing stands near the hostels, or if they prefer to do so, they can get their clothes washed and ironed at Rs. 5/- per piece by the college dhobi who is reasonably efficient and very prompt. The women have the option of paying a monthly amount to their dhobi for all their laundry needs during the month. Such a system however does not exist in the mens halls of residence.

The Mess, is everyone's favourite topic for whines, like it would be in any other hostel, but after having eaten at the hostels of many other educational institutions, it cannot but be said that the mess-es in NLSIU are decidedly superior. If gourmet cuisine is what you expect, and if you cannot get along without your daily helping of chicken cordon bleu then the mess is not recommended. For anyone else with reasonable demands the mess serves the purpose fairly competently. Breakfasts are good, and rotate through a cycle of idli-vada, masala dosa, upma, aloo paratha, bread-egg-cutlet and poori-channa/aloo. Out of these the aloo paratha is best avoided, but everything else is fairly good. Coffee, tea and milk (hot or cold) are available with breakfast everyday, and on most days a fruit of some sort is served along with breakfast. Lunch works on a coupon system where the student has to buy a coupon for Rs120, which entitles him to 10 lunches. The lunch is also fairly decent, with rice, rotis, a couple of sabjis, sambar, rasam/dal, papad, pickle and curd. The coupon system means that you do not lose out in any way by skipping lunch. Dinner offers fare similar to the lunch, with the added option of chicken twice a week (which also functions on a coupon system, Rs.180 = 10 chickens) , and egg once a week. Some kind of dessert/sweet is served at least 4 days a week. The custard (served alternately with fruit or cake) served on Sundays is truly brilliant. The occasional chicken biriyani s a welcome treat. Sunday dinners also have the added option of noodles and French fries. Tea is served in the evenings and is generally not terribly great. Besides the unlimited quantities of tea or coffee (juice occasionally) there is a snack of some sort. Sandwiches, biscuits, Bajis, Pakoras are some of the snacks you might find at tea-time. The mess also has a coffee/tea vending machine which gives you hot tea or coffee for Rs 5/- anytime you like.

Functioning of the Hostels:
The hostels are run by student committees that are completely autonomous. The three hostel committees in charge of running the hostel are the Students Discipline & General Management committee (SDGM), the General Welfare Committee (GWC) and the Mess Committee. The members of these committees are appointed by the warden from year to year from among the students. The men have separate committees for these purposes 's and women's halls of residence as they function independently. The SDGM is in charge of maintaining discipline in the hostel. For violations like smoking in the hostels, consuming alcohol in the hostels, and other disruptions of peace and order, the SDGM is authorized to showcase and fine the offenders. The GWC is in charge of the infrastructure in the hostel and the provision of electricity, water, telephones, and such other facilities to the students. Each hostel presently has a phone where calls can be received. The process of installing ZIP-Fones on every floor is happening right now. These phones can be used to receive phone calls as well as make calls using a Virtual Calling Card. The Mess Committee is in charge of the mess and everything associated with it's functioning. The Mess Committee and the GWC have their staff on their payroll and not on the university payroll. Bills for the mess and GWC are also paid to the committees.

The New Vision
Under the stewardship of the new director Dr. Mohan Gopal, an ambitious plan to revamp the whole curriculum was launched and through a process of deliberation and discussion, this 'new vision for legal education' was formulated and is slowly being brought into force. The central theme of this new vision is a shift from studying law primarily from textbooks, case law and statutes to experimental learning through direct engagement with problems of current concern to the society. The essential features of this would include the fact that there will be much greater flexibility in the curriculum than there is currently. A sizeable chunk of the courses will be optional and only the bare basics will be compulsory. Students will be free to choose their courses and areas of specialization according to their interest and convenience, at their own pace. This is modeled on the system that is followed in American Universities like Harvard & Yale.

The four main elements of the new vision are :
1) A new strategic focus on improving the professional quality of lawyers and law teachers across India, addressing legal dimensions of india's response to globalisation.

2) New approach to organizing the academic programme. Including a restructuring of the academic programme around four faculties focused on the most urgent policy challenges facing India:

  • Poverty eradication, human dignity & social justice
  • Equitable and sustainable economic growth
  • Effectiveness of Social, Political and Legal Institutions
  • India in the new world order

3) A new approach to teaching methodology focusing on learning through immersion direct experience followed by critical enquiry culminating in proposals for policy reform

4) A new emphasis on original research to forge a new Indian jurisprudence.