A practical learning approach gives UPES law graduates that extra edge!
UPES School of Law enhances the all-round personality of students by organising guest lectures, national competitions such as Moot Courts, Model United Nations, Client Counselling, Mediation and Trial Advocacy, Youth Parliament, and Parliamentary Debates. The law school encourages students to participate in associations such as the Society of Law and Literature, Legal Aid Cell and Alternative Dispute Solution Cell
Why does a society need legal professionals? Is it to fight despotism or protect the Constitution? Is it to help a labourer claim compensation for an unfair layoff or to resolve a dispute between two nations over their right to access the Pacific Ocean? It could also be to provide in-depth analysis to the government for crafting policies or to simplify the law to make citizens aware or to become a teacher for establishing a sound education system.
The world needs legal professionals to bring about social change and uphold justice; legal experts who can keep pace with the technological advancements while caring for humanity; law specialists who realise that they have the power to change the course of someone’s life forever.
The responsibility to nurture the future of law lies upon academic institutions that must revamp the archaic education system and go beyond providing basic knowledge.
Justice NV Ramana, formally appointed to assume charge as Chief Justice of India (CJI) on April 24, has, expressed his disappointment over the quality of legal education in the country, according to a report in The Hindustan Times dated April 6, 2021. In a recent public address, Justice Ramana pointed out that although around 150,000 students graduate from law colleges every year, less than 25% of them are actually ready for the profession.
He said that legal graduates should be made to understand from the very beginning about the true duty of a lawyer, which was to unite people. Justice Ramana also said they should get practical experience through association with lok adalats, legal aid centres, and arbitration and mediation centres during their studies.
Training the next generation of leaders, UPES School of Law has been working in this direction since its conception. Opting for a practical learning approach, UPES School of Law enhances the all-round personality of students by organising guest lectures, national competitions such as Moot Courts, Model United Nations, Client Counselling, Mediation and Trial Advocacy, Youth Parliament, and Parliamentary Debates. The institution encourages students to participate in associations such as the Society of Law and Literature, Legal Aid Cell and Alternative Dispute Solution Cell.
The Model United Nations (MUNs) Club, for instance, provides a platform for students to polish their presentation, documentation and oratorical skills, besides cultivating deep insights on matters of global governance.
According to Kumar Utkarsh, President, UPES MUN Club, “Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations where students play the role of delegates from different countries and attempt to solve real-world issues with the policies and perspectives of their assigned country. Participants get a study guide before the conference starts, which briefly outlines both topics and gives a tentative idea of the subject matter. Based on the study guide and the research done, the participants have to write a position paper before the actual conference begins, outlining the point of view of each country previously assigned to the participant.”
Every year, 300-400 delegates from countries like Sudan, Nepal, Mexico and France participate in the International Model United Nations Conference hosted by the UPES MUN Club.
Moot Court, on the other hand, is a model set up of a courtroom that helps aspiring lawyers to understand the intricacies involved in representing a party in a legal suit. It is a recreation of real-life court proceedings and gives the participants a chance to argue like a lawyer, enhancing their viewpoint and reasoning.
Jahnvi Pandey and Kanika Goswami, students of BA, LLB UPES School of Law, won the UPES Novice Moot Court Competition, 2020 and the first online trial UPES Moot Court Competition, 2020.
UPES School of Law hosts international and national moot court competitions such as Dr. Paras Dewan Memorial International Energy Law Moot Court Competition and Surana & Surana National Insolvency and Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, among others.
National Client Counselling Competitions (NCC) hones client advocacy skills by simulating a law office consultation wherein law students act as attorneys and handle client matters. The participants conduct an initial interview with a person playing the role of the client. They then address the client’s needs. Participants are supposed to explain various aspects of the attorney-client relationship, determine client goals, and consider applicable law and options that may be available to the client.
Ananya Gupta, alumna, UPES, School of Law, winner, NCC 2019, says, “It’s about asking the right questions at the right time and providing solutions. At times, our client might not be innocent and as lawyers, we ought to know about it by making them comfortable in the space where they reveal the truth so that the best possible solutions can be suggested. The experience made me realise how important it is for every law student to know about the real-life application of the law.”
A Curriculum Crafted by Industry Experts
Another reason for UPES Law degree courses to rank constantly on top is its dynamic, industry-relevant, specialisation-focussed curriculum. UPES School of Law is one of the few higher education institutions offering LLM with a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), preparing its students to become skilled in technology, in addition to mastering their core subjects.UPES has several industry experts and former judges such as Justice Swatanter Kumar, Former Supreme Court Judge, Mr. Dhanendra Kumar, Former Chairperson, Competition Commission of India, and Ms. Poonam Verma Partner, Jyoti Sagar and Associates, on its advisory board. It is the first Indian university to partner with UK-based The University of Law for legal studies. Together, the academic institutions organised a two-week-long workshop on the development of ‘Academic and Professional Skills’ of the students.
UPES formed a strategic alliance with Surana and Surana International Attorneys for BBA LLB (H) – Corporate Law and B.Com. (LLB) Taxation Law programs, wherein Surana and Surana International Attorneys help in curriculum building, course delivery, faculty and student internships and joint seminars/conferences.
Given its industry-oriented programs and emphasis on holistic development, UPES graduates are a preferred choice for recruiters, ensuring a track record of 90%+ placements over the last few years.
Creating global-minded problem-solvers
To further expand students’ perspectives, UPES School of Law provides opportunities to study in international universities. Jigyasa Pahwa, a BBA LLB Corporate Law student, was chosen for the Erasmus and Exchange Student Program in England. She studied a semester at Coventry University, UK, without having to pay any tuition fees. Recounting her experience, Jigyasa says, “I attended practical sessions of mediation and negotiation along with multiple conferences in which solicitors from esteemed law firms gave lectures every week. This helped me build more self-confidence to appear in the courts and do detailed research.”
UPES law students learn the fundamental aspects of society and help in carving practical solutions to tackle problems legally and ethically. Ensuring that students do not get caught in the rat race and develop the “right outlook to their career and life” as envisioned by Justice Ramana, the university offers students a unique learning environment that encourages innovation through multidisciplinary learning. Its core philosophy of helping students become the best version of themselves finds resonance in National Education Policy 2020 as well.
UPES law students such as Mayank Garg are a testament to this statement. He founded JRTC Intern, India’s first-ever internship governance platform for the legal sector that serves as an interface between law students seeking quality internships and top law firms looking for deserving interns. The idea promises to bring relief to thousands of law interns in the country who struggle in the absence of any organised forum or channel.
The start-up is being patronized by nationally acclaimed law firms like Cyril Amar Chand Mangal Das, Shardul Amar Chand Mangal Das, L&L partners, Lakshmi Kumaran Sridharan and reputed lawyers such as advocate Kapil Sibbal, Salman Khurshid to name a few.
Harshita Khurana, who graduated from UPES School of Law in the year 2015, is a Project and Finance Lawyer and is currently working with Jones Day, one of the biggest US-based international law firms. Harshita had represented India at the World Business Forum, New York, in 2014. Prior to Jones Day, she has worked with Wadia Ghandy, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Khaitan&Co. Harshita has advised and worked on one of the largest mergers and acquisitions deal in India outside the NCLT process in 2018, valued at INR 46,000 million. She had also collaborated with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, on policy-making.
Through internships, UPES students live an experience outside of the classroom enriched with industry insights. First-year students start their internships with NGOs and lower courts to begin with serving the community at a ground level. Once a student works under a senior lawyer, he or she develops a better understanding of paperwork, case presentations, argument framing and so on. Internships also help in networking and open several doors.
Learning: Beyond the need to know
Today, learning is no longer a stagnant or a defined process that ends when the students graduate. It is a continuous process to keep pace with the environment and ecosystems that a 21st-century individual inhabits, and the continuum of change at a pace that is hard to fathom.
There is, therefore, a need to take students to a level where THEY want to discover and experience; where THEY want to explore and challenge; where THEY feel inspired to bring change. Only then, will they become the conscience bearers of the nation.
As a higher educational institution, UPES took another transformational step towards building the character of the students and develop social consciousness and responsibility in them. It established ‘School for Life’ that equips students with skills necessary to lead successful personal and professional life. The exclusive school provides an education that strikes a balance between what students want, and what is needed of them as future global citizens and leaders of tomorrow.
Aligning with Justice Ramana’s vision of making law students empathetic leaders, UPES is preparing professionals who will render voice to the voiceless as well as find their own voice in this established world; UPES is preparing students for the biggest challenge out there: Life.
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