What to Expect in Law School
By Yusuf Abdul-Kareem, Vice President of Emerging Markets, Law School Admission Council
Going to law school is one of the most exciting, transformative, and challenges experiences you will ever have in life. At times, it is thrilling – after placing first in the mooting competition, or freighting – having to present your brief to a partner at corporate law firm, and wicked fun – when spending time with batchmates in the student lounge. Regardless of the program of study – whether it is the 5yr LL.B program or the 3yr LL.B program, the journey is riddled with opportunity to explore your interests. .
The first and foremost aspect to keep in mind when entering law school is to look through the curriculum it offers. Law schools in India must teach core law subjects as prescribed by Bar Council of India (BCI). However, there could be certain open electives or specialized courses offered by these institutions depending upon the faculty and industry connections. The curriculum of a law school is framed keeping in mind the changing times. Today, law schools offer array of courses ranging from Space law to Hospitality and Tourism Law. A law aspirant must choose a law school according to specialized courses offered by the Institutes and keeping in mind his/her own interests.
Secondly, a law aspirant should also be familiar and inclined towards reading. Reading and research work are important skills to ace law school. Law lectures can be long and exhausting at times; but coming prepared to class with prescribed readings helps to ease the burden. A law school could either take a “Case method Approach” of teaching, which involves extensive judgement reading and analyses in class or adopt the “Socratic method” of teaching which involves active dialogue amongst the lecturer and the student. Some schools adopt a blend of both. As law is constantly changing and evolving, the ability to critically think and analyze becomes imperative. Hence, preparing for a standardized test like the LSAT—India would help in developing the critical skill of a law aspirant. This is beneficial in the long run, as it becomes a steppingstone to law school learning.
Additionally, one would also be required to participate in extracurricular activities such as Moot Court Competitions, Conflict Resolution Competition and Debates. These activities help in polishing the advocacy and advisory skills of a law student. Other opportunities also include working with research centers and writing research papers for leading journals. Such activities stimulate research skills, a skill which is necessary for a lawyer to excel in.
Along with studying for semester exams and assignments, one must keep an eye on internship opportunities provided by law schools. Most law schools have a Career and Placement Department working closely with students to help them identify internship and placement opportunities. A law student should be aware of such opportunities and make the most of their time at law school. The alumni groups and networks at law schools are very active. This is a space to look out for.
Like most other courses, Law schools also offer plethora of opportunities like student exchange programs in collaboration with international universities. Such opportunities help students to get aquatinted with law from an international perspective.
Another good opportunity to consider during law school is to join a Legal Aid Cell. These Cells actively work on Pro Bono initiatives designed to increase legal awareness and literacy. Active participation in legal aid activities creates sensitivity around important issues like access to justice, promoting equality and diversity in society.
Last but not the least, law students should enjoy the journey they have embarked on. There is no one size fits all philosophy to succeed at law school. Follow your interests and passion, everything else would fall into place. Law school is a abode for making lifelong connections and ever lasting friendships, so make the most of it!