Legal Education Congress Setting new benchmarks, raising the bar: The Legal Education Conference 2021 by Legal Era First Edition
No one imagined that 2020 and 2021 would prove so calamitous and that a virus would wreak such havoc on our lives, livelihoods, businesses, and economies. After the mounting cases and deaths due to COVID-19, 2021 felt like some respite in the form of the vaccine/s and vaccination campaigns across the globe. However, the results are a bit of a mixed bag. Some countries are witnessing a dip in cases and mortalities and are slowly lifting restrictions and reopening trade while others, like India, are continuing to battle the subsequent waves of the pandemic.
While the pandemic has disrupted all sectors, it has also forced them to adopt technology and innovation as means of survival. The legal industry has also adapted to unpredictable times. And with virtual courts, videoconferences, and work-from-home becoming the norm, there have been tangible gains from greater availability of time, increased productivity, and reduced costs.
Rather than brooding over the possibilities if the virus had not overtaken our lives, we at Legal Era have decided to utilize the luxury of time to revisit critical yet relatively unattended matters such as legal education in India.
After all, it is legal education that provides the foundation for our entire legal system. It is the quality of legal education and law schools that determines the calibre of professionals we put out there, be it the Judiciary, law firms, corporate legal departments, or individual practitioners. It is the character of this education that ultimately decides the character of the Bar and the Bench. Hence, we have devoted ourselves to the onerous and extremely relevant task of reviewing the state of legal education in India.
As it exists, the outreach of legal education has widened considerably post-independence. The number of National Law Universities has increased since the birth of the first National Law School in Bangalore in 1986. However, there’s a lot of work to be done before our law schools win pride of place among the top 300 legal education institutions in the world. Some of the grey areas that need addressing include the paucity of competent teachers even in the best law schools; lack of new technologies and contemporary teaching methods; absence of concerted action from the Bar, Bench and academia; and the dearth of an independent body to helm the administration of legal education in the country.
The last two years of the pandemic have added fresh concerns. Students and professors who do not have access to the Internet have lost out majorly in due to online classrooms and virtual internships. Besides, in the case of some facets of the study of law, virtual is no substitute for the actual. So, while coronavirus has forced change in the legal education sphere but it is really up to us to decide what to leave behind and what to carry forward. Legal education has to continue to promote diversity, social justice and inclusivity.
Addressing these and other topical issues, the Legal Era Magazine will hold its first-ever Legal Education Conference in September this year, virtually. While everyone is welcome to attend, you can expect the leading lights of law, business and academics to comprehensively review the Indian legal education system. Our experts will dissect and discuss the topics at hand, its pros and cons, rewards and hazards, to create a blueprint of what the legal education system of the future should look like… Carefully curated sessions, formidable speakers and a discerning audience will be the staples of this virtual gathering. Legal Era looks forward to communicating and networking with and learning from each of the participants in our collective journey towards excellence.