NLU vs NON-NLU - Which is the best top Law College?

 A Law Aspirants Dilemma

While NLUs are the benchmark when it comes to law colleges in India, many students remain in this dilemma as to whether choose and NLU or a Non-NLU college.

Whether you are an NLU student or a non-NLU student, there are some inherent advantages and some disadvantages attached to being in any law college in India. And understanding each of these is important because as a law aspirant aiming for a law college in India, it is important to play your strengths just like you should be aware of your weaknesses.

Let’s start with the Advantages of being an NLU student

National Law Universities or NLUs are the creamy layers of the law colleges in India. There is no denying that NLU students do enjoy an edge over the other students. . Read: National Law Universities in India

1. The Job Factor

The reason to start studying, might for some be a passion, but for many, it is to land a JOB. And placements are the first thing that every student looks at when choosing a law college in India. The placement sector of NLUs is one of the most important factors for which the students choose to study in NLUs. All the students can indeed become legal practitioners after graduating with BCI (Bar Council of India) approved law courses, but studying at NLU opens up vast possibilities beyond advocacy. Corporates, Government and law agencies, celebrities, everyone wants a lawyer! The top law firms nationally and internationally prefer to acquire young law graduates from the NLUs. In addition, recruitment in NLUs starts from zero-day. Banks like HDFC, Thomson Reuters and ICICI (which offers a starting salary of a whooping 16 LPA) come for recruitment. Read more about placements here:

2. The NLU Brand

NLUs have been successful in establishing themselves as the most reliable educational institutions via deliberate and personal branding. They allocate resources and support students to go and win moots, debates, and other such activities. They invite influencers and legal who’s who to the campus to give lectures and participate in various activities. While the opportunities are provided, the students leave no stone unturned to participate in the same, Conferences, publish papers, and winning moot courts/ debates/ other competitions and write books, they’ve done it all. As a result, there is a notable and self-serving network of alumni. This gives them the edge in the legal education industry.

3. Facilities and Opportunities and a Strong Student Body

Apart from the immense visibility and opportunities that the NLU students engender for themselves, there is also very strong student representation in the student body and the educational and administrational setup. This gives them a voice and liberty to make decisions for themselves. Bridging the gap between administration and students results in the smooth functioning of curricular activities, events being organized, and curriculum execution.

Needless to say, these positions of responsibility have a substantial impact on resumes. All skills learned in the process are instrumental in further career development for these students.

4. The Drive to Intern

NLUs are responsible for setting up a culture for internships and helping students learn about the professional aspect of the legal profession. NLU students are expected to intern from the very first year and have bagged at least 10 internships in their five-year degree.

As a law student, one must make sure to build their resumes as dynamically as possible because the profession requires having a pragmatic personality, rather than only excelling academically. This helps immensely with placements as well.

5. The Crowd, the Competition

The biggest strength of any law college is the students who get admitted to it. To get into an NLU, you need to ace CLAT/AILET exams. The conversion rate for students taking CLAT/ AILET is 6%. This shall provide an idea of the kind of competition that happens for around 3000 seats in total across all NLUs. With only the top performers getting in, one should expect a competitive, yet motivating environment.

But all of these do not mean that NLU does not suffer from disadvantages. Being essentially a government college, NLUs have often been plagued by a red-tapism culture and often accused of inefficiency at the management level in NLUs. Moreover, NLUs mostly follow the old and traditional pedagogy of teaching which can make the institute lag behind when it comes to modern teaching techniques and pedagogy. Here is where the advantages on being in a non-NLU college comes in.

Advantages of being a Non-NLU student.

1. Great Infrastructure, Updated Pedagogy

Various private colleges have made it to the NIRF law colleges list for 2022, including Symbiosis, Jindal Global, NIRMA, and others. They invite influencers and legal who’s who to the campus to give lectures and participate in various activities. Private law colleges are equipped with better infrastructure; updated pedagogy and international level teaching methods. The infrastructure in private law colleges is excellent, and the teaching rooms are equipped with e-learning, audio-visual learning experience, and air-conditioned classrooms. The campuses usually have all the comfort a student needs.

2. The Benefit of Long-Term Internships

NLU semesters are structured in such a way that they do not get more than a month or two at a time for an internship. Most of them are located in smaller cities where they cannot do an internship throughout the year. Compared to this, graduates of certain colleges such as GLC Mumbai or CLC Delhi intern throughout the year and get a lot more practical experience, develop good professional contacts and references, and increase their chances of getting through to and succeeding in law firms and chambers of good lawyers.

In this sense, if the experience gained by a Non-NLU student and an NLU student is compared, it is obvious that a Non-NLU student would have a more powerful working relationship with the associates and partners and a better understanding of the working styles and communication parameters.

3. A new approach to education

While being in NLUs give students immense exposure, there is also immense pressure to become successful, and be as well networked and hard working as possible. These are great qualities to inculcate, but being with the top students on the country can make anyone anxious. Non-NLU universities help with prividing a more suportive environment, with a more diverse population in terms of academic performace as well as goals of the students. Anyone looking for a different environment must consider non-NLU univeristies.

4. Motivated Crowd

For anyone in the legal profession, it is important to constantly learn and build a resume. NLU students often forget to be consistent as a bit aim is fulfilled the moment they get into NLUs. Non-NLU students can use this lack of legacy to their advantage, and start planning, developing and executing their plans tending to extracurriculars, publications, internships, participating in moots and other events. There’s also extremely experienced faculty to learn from.

5. Diversity

Having multiple departments is an advantage private colleges have over NLUs. Interacting with students from courses such as engineering, management, mass communication, etc. elps in expanding and improving their perspective on various things. A lawyer must also be aware of their surroundings, and the environment provides for exposure to them unlike NLUs.

While there are various advantages, often the uncertainty around placements and exorbitant fees make for barrier to attending Non-NLU law colleges / universities.

All in all, there is no advantage that can overcome hardwork and having goals set for self. With a profession as noble as law, one must give it their all, and the institutions shall give them sufficient support.

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