Director of Pune-based Symbiosis Law School and Dean of the Faculty of Law Shashikala Gurupur, who hails from the city, has bagged the first Legal Education Innovation Award 2011 instituted by the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) and the Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training.

Prof. Shashikala, who has been appointed to the Law Commission of India, was selected by a jury headed by J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of India.

Prof. Shashikala, who taught students of the SDM Law College here and the Manipal Institute of Communication in Manipal, has won the award for entrepreneurship and creativity among younger generation of law teachers, according to a press release issued by the Pune-based institution.

The release said that SILF was established in 2000 to protect, safeguard and promote the interests of law firms in India. It was the apex body of law firms in the country ensuring the representation of law firms in an organised and streamlined manner.

It said the citation of the award recognised that Prof. Shashikala was one of those law teachers who, at a relatively young age, got into a leadership position and used the opportunity to experiment, innovate and re-structure legal education to the advantage of generations of students under her stewardship.

The institution said that in less than five years, Prof. Shashikala took several initiatives to implement an agenda of reform at the Pune institution. The measures included continuing revision of the curriculum, providing a rich menu for inter-disciplinary studies to students, centre-staging clinical legal education, introducing academic audit system with a view to improving performance and assuring quality, setting up community legal resource network for constant engagement with the local communities and embarking on individualised faculty improvement schemes – all aimed at achieving academic excellence.

“Her initiatives also include trans-border development of legal resources and scholarship that led to the establishment of the first European Union Legal Study Centre,” the institution said.

It stated that even while the legal profession continued to be male-dominated, Prof. Shashikala carved out for herself a place of distinction in legal circles demonstrating that women could do equally or even better in educational planning and administration as well as legal services delivery and legal research.

Her appointment to the Law Commission of India was indicative of her growing clout in law reform and legal policy development, the institution said.

Union Minister for Law and Justice Salman Khurshid will present the award in New Delhi on September 10.

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