India’s population consists of an array of talents and rich diversity of cultures providing opportunities for an excellent legal education. It appears that there is a relatively large interest in legal education in India leading to the existence of many legal education providers. This, perhaps, can be traced to cultural factors including the prestige attached to the legal profession. And, India is not alone in this as legal education enjoys admiration in many other countries. Nonetheless, it is also important to ensure that the products of the legal education system are sufficiently equipped for the challenges of contemporary society.
Also, India shares the common law legal tradition with England and other Commonwealth countries that are former colonies of the United Kingdom. As a result, the substantive content of India’s legal education system may not be completely different from the other common law jurisdictions which recognise judge-made rules in case law. Some areas of law such as contract law and tort law are not dissimilar in those jurisdictions. Nevertheless, statutory developments in different jurisdictions can affect the content of traditional areas of common law and create inter-jurisdictional differences. For example, statutory interventions for consumer protection have reshaped the face of contract law in England. It may therefore be useful to adopt a comparative and internationalist approach to teaching and learning certain areas of the law. This is one of the approaches adopted by the School of Law at the University of Essex. Curriculum can therefore be one of the jurisdictional differences in legal education provision. There may also be differences in pedagogical approaches and assessment practices. For example, in addition to examination, essay writing is an important component of legal education in the United Kingdom.
Substantively, the development of a critical analytical mindset should be one of the areas of focus for legal education in India and elsewhere. The mindset will enable law graduates to identify and propose legal solutions to existing and emergent challenges in society. Continuous curriculum development is essential, while Legal education providers will need to ensure that their curriculum, assessment criteria and learning outcomes are aware of contemporary developments and national and global challenges. It is increasingly important for legal education providers to partner and collaborate with institutions in other countries to provide forums for cross-exchange of ideas and awareness of emergent and international best standards and practices. This can be in the form of academic exchanges, student exchanges, conferences and workshops. Using and broadening the scope of external examination can also be helpful.
Lastly, as a open message to all future legal aspirants, the need of the hour today is to be open minded; learn and follow the rules of the place you are in; make friends that will last a lifetime; develop relationships and networks that will be useful wherever you will be and from time to time; maintain a good work-life balance.