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May 10, 2019

Padmashri Dr.N.R.Madhava Menon : A Tribute


- Dr. Manoj Kumar, Founder & Managing Partner [ Hammurabi & Solomon Partners ]

On 7th of May 2019, late Padma Shri Dr.N.R.Madhava Menon (“NRM”) left us for the heavenly abode leaving behind a legacy that will inspire in all times to come.

I recall my first interaction with NRM in 1990 as the founder director of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), coming across as a visionary with a sense of purpose who, at that time was faced with a string of odds in his dream to transform legal education in India at a time when few saw the emerging challenges to the legal services needs of the Country.

The first national law school i.e NLSIU was at that time housed in a shared campus with the Bangalore University’s Central College Campus alongwith a shared hostel accommodation with the National Dairy Research Institute for men and a hostel for women in a rented premise, all 7-8 kilometers away from each other. The few rooms made available at the Central College Campus could barely accommodate classrooms thus leaving shared facilities for a galaxy of professors of law and the administration team who shared the vision and dream of NRM. We the students then, walked in with the faith that the new change being ushered in with a 5 year law course would help us gain the requisite knowledge and competence to practice law. Little did we then know about the transformation in the legal education and legal professions in India taking shape with the commitment of NRM.

With pieces scattered all across and with emerging intermediate challenges, the journey would only became tougher but the vision became clearer, taking definite shape with every step towards establishing a world class law school in India.

NRM’s vision on skill development as a key component of legal education introduced the case study method in legal education, required us to write over 60 projects and undertake close to fifteen internships, an exposure that was to serve the legal fraternity well with skilling becoming a norm going forward.

After handing over reigns of the national law school of India University to his successor, NRM continued to be much sought after to set up the National Judicial Academy and lead and guide a plethora of law schools across India.

At every interaction with NRM, I would be reminded of the commitment to give back to the society and the achieve the delivery of justice to every doorstep in across India. NRM’s vision appeared to become larger every time to me, and then I would realize that it is the logical way forward on the journey – the vision.

At one time we debated at length about rural law firms and the viability and sustainability aspects of quality legal services in areas where access to justice of very basic nature was denied to millions and which some corrective steps by the legal fraternity can overcome. He would always seek me out on some of his initiatives, be it, ethics in legal professions, at both – the bench as well as the bar, transformational role of legal institutions for strengthening continued legal education for practicing lawyers and the faculty, making alternate dispute resolution accessible to every segment of the society and law being applied as a tool for development in a way to achieve social and economic.

His encouragement was always unconditional. On the occasion of or 15 years milestone, NRM would remind us of the need for focusing on innovation & creativity in law practice, as follows:

Manoj-Kumar

“Dear Manoj,

It is nice to hear that Hammurabi & Solomon has completed 15 years of service and is celebrating its Founder's Day on 2nd April. I am sending my best wishes for the success of the organization under your able leadership and hope to see it soon among the world's best in legal services.

Yes, it is good to have a vision for the silver jubilee and a road map laid out to accomplish it. The world is changing too fast and it is difficult to predict how the profession would be like ten years hence. Specialization would become imperative and inter disciplinarity a necessity for problem solving at all levels of the profession. As an organization, it will be helpful to cultivate new ways of thinking even if solutions are readily available under the conventional framework. Innovation and creativity come with preparedness to take informed risks and ability to manage situational transformation. Let the H&S team have the wisdom and the freedom to experiment and innovate according to changing demands of the legal market and the abiding faith in truth and justice.
Wishing all the best and with regards,

Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon”
As a part of the faculty to train law students, lawyers and retired judges on clinical aspects of arbitration alongside NRM, year after year during the past few years, NRM went on to emphasise on the need to bring transparency and inclusiveness in the legal professions in the country.

During my last interaction with NRM not very long ago, I sought his guidance on a project concerning reforms in the legal services professions, to which he candidly asked by when do I expect to complete the project, as if he knew the approaching turn to his final journey?

A legend, a Reformist, a Guru, a Visionary, Champion of excellence, transparency & accountability – NRM, you remain in our hearts and a true son of the nation, for the seeds of change sowed and nurtured by you to achieve social and economic justice to every doorstep.

Am truly blessed to have lived during your times and your legacy and vision thrives in every heart you touched !!

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