Once a student has decided to study law, choosing the right law school is ‘the’ most important thing to do. Choosing the right law school can make or break your career, in the early stages, and it is necessary to break the mould and introspect.
Over the years, students and parents’ expectations of a law school has changed drastically, and it is necessary that your ‘chosen institution’ delivers on a student-centric approach to learning and teaching. Clarity about one’s expectations can help pick up the necessary skills and attributes for pursuing a successful career through a law school offering robust curriculum and experiential learning opportunities, allowing personalised legal education.
You should not be swayed by rankings alone, and must look for other important factors before picking the right law school.
Here are some criteria which can be considered, while zeroing-in on the right law school.
Points to ponder
Robust curriculum: The academic and non-academic rigour of a law school should be the defining parameter. A good law school should have a robust curriculum, and it is necessary to research on the school’s academic programme, including the types of internships available. Also, look out for clinical and industry exposure provided together with student-exchange programmes, joint degree programmes and extracurricular activities such as mooting opportunities and achievements, student organisations, social participation, civil engagement, and its diversity and inclusion.
Specialisations: While looking at the academic programmes, it is especially necessary to explore the ‘optional/specialisation courses’ available. Arguably, media and entertainment, corporate and finance, aviation, sports, intellectual property, environment, human rights, are few of the specialisations which offer full-fledged career choices for a graduate.
Resources: Academic facilities would also include a well-equipped library, necessary infrastructure and the most important human resource — good faculties. Check faculty credentials, their accomplishments, specialisations, global exposure, and publications. It is said that teachers are a student’s friend, philosopher and guide, and they have an important role to play in student learning and engagement. A related aspect is food and accommodation facilities, especially provision for basic amenities. Hostel atmosphere should be comfortable and conducive to your pursuit. A prospective student also needs to consider the cost of legal education, their available resources and scholarships. Several law schools run full or partial merit tuition fee waiver, fellowships and grants.
Reputation and record: Also discern previous placement records of the school. An active training and placement cell, with a wide and strong alumni network, can subsequently enhance employment prospects and help your career goals. A positive institutional contact with the employers can add significant value to your classroom teaching through knowledge partnerships. Visiting a law school to talk to its admissions officer, administrative staff, students and faculties is a good idea, to gather on-ground information and get a feel of how it would be to pursue your law degree there. A student also needs to ‘fit in’ and feel comfortable with the culture of a law school. A student will spend five years here, and it is important to enjoy, make friends, and treat your law school as a preparatory ground for life ahead.
The writer is Principal, IFIM Law School.