Even as many fresh graduates from the country’s premier law school — the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) — made their choice clear to tread upon the corporate path, Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal batted for encouraging “pro bono lawyering” in law schools and other legal institutes.
Delivering the 21st convocation address at the NLSIU here on Sunday, Mr. Sibal said the concept should be “strongly encouraged” in India as it would “allow underprivileged sections to have access to quality legal services.”
He expressed concern over the “service” provided by lawyers turning into a “business”. Spelling out the difference between a profession and a business, he urged law graduates “not to fall into the trap of wanting to make a monetary killing while providing a service.”
“In a business, the relationship between the customer and the businessperson is not that of personal trust. The relationship between the client and a lawyer is a relationship of trust. Never breach that trust. Keep the compensation part as an element which is of least priority,” the Minister added. Reiterating how many in the country may not be able to afford quality legal service, he urged the new lawyers to consider this an opportunity rather than a reason for refusing to take up the case.
NLSIU Vice-Chancellor R. Venkata Rao, who also spoke during the convocation ceremony, urged the government to consider making the university a Centre for Excellence. About the challenges before law and legal education, he said: “The movement will be from ‘legal education for legal reform in the context of globalisation’ to ‘legal education to ensure effective justice delivery system and access to institutions’.”
Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam, who is also Chancellor of the NLSIU, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and Higher Education Minister R.V. Deshpande attended the convocation.