‘I advise my students to read about the inspiring journeys of successful lawyers’
Dr. Vijay Kumar Singh is Professor and Dean at UPES School of Law. Prior to this, Dr. Singh worked with the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India), the Competition Commission of India, and the Hidayatullah National Law University in various capacities. A certified trainer on ‘Managing Disputes and Difficult Conversations on the Board’ and a dispute resolution professional, Dr. Singh is also a Life Member of the ICADR, ILI, IIPA, ISIL and ICA. A science graduate with LL.B. (Gold Medalist), LLM in Business Laws (Gold Medalist), and a doctorate in law, he also holds an MBA degree, besides professional certifications from IIM Ahmedabad and Chicago Law School. In an interview with Mansha Dhingra, Dr. Vijay Kumar Singh talks about the evolution of legal profession, the importance of multidisciplinary approach in higher institutions and varied specialisations that law aspirants can choose from
How do you think the legal profession has evolved in recent years?
The legal profession has seen tremendous advancement over the last decade. In the wake of globalisation and technological progress, the legal profession is no more limited to jurisdiction. The legal profession has now become a global phenomenon.
Interdisciplinarity in legal studies is an evolution that has taken place in the legal profession. Apart from advocacy, courtcraft, drafting, and pleading, a modern lawyer should also have hands-on knowledge in various areas such as health, digital innovation, sociological challenges, business transformations, design challenges, and much more.
An associate lecturer with Deakin Law School, Daniel Goldsworthy in his paper on ‘The Future of Legal Education in 21st century’ argues that “the future of legal education recognises lawyers will increasingly be required to attain a broad, liberal education enabling interdisciplinary insights, creativity, and social intelligence.” Digital transformation in the legal profession was much intended, however, the COVID-19 outbreak has stimulated it.
In the coming years, we will witness a major evolution in the functioning of courts. This is evident from the latest report on ‘Digital Courts Vision and Roadmap’ released by the Supreme Court’s expert sub-committee. It is critical to adopt an ‘Ecosystem Approach’ that supports scale, speed, and sustainability. There is a dire need to create the right environment and infrastructure for solutions to emerge rapidly from the ecosystem to create a multiplier effect for change. This can help achieve greater adoption and impact by leveraging the collective strength of the ecosystem.
Law is a vast field. How can students decide which specialisations to choose?
The legal profession has grown over the years due to the emergence of technological challenges and problems posed by the development in society, economy, and science. Various specialisations have come up due to the difficulties in handling issues. For instance, cyber law professionals deal with electronic contracts, cybercrime cases, while some specialise in victim protection of cyber violations.
Choosing the right specialisation has always been difficult for students. Students’ interests and future goals act as a catalyst while choosing specialisations.
Some new-age specialisations that UPES offers are Banking, Finance and Insurance Law, International Trade and Investment Law, Media and Entertainment Law, Taxation Law and many more.
What advice would you give to graduates starting a law career?
Law aspirants should give their best during graduation. In today’s world, a legal professional requires several qualities.
Apart from good grades, students should also develop certain soft skills that are essential to overcome future challenges. Curiosity to learn, perseverance, patience, critical thinking, excellent reading, and writing skills are some of the life-long learning skills that can help students succeed in life.
I advise my students to read about the inspiring journeys of successful lawyers and find what helped them succeed. Students should have a clear picture of where they see themselves in the next five years. At the beginning of their career, law graduates should be respectful and eager to learn.
I can recall during the initial days of my career; I learned a lot of practical skills from our office boy who used to file cases in the court as well as manage case files. Graduates should never hesitate to learn, even if the person happens to be your junior. Modesty in any profession is a great asset and arrogance is a killer.
Why is multidisciplinary learning approach important these days? Does UPES offer multidisciplinary learning to its students?
Multidisciplinary learning has been emphasised in the National Education Policy (NEP) document released by the Ministry of Education, Government of India in the following words – “Legal education needs to be competitive globally, adopting best practices and embracing new technologies for wider access to and timely delivery of justice. At the same time, it must be informed and illuminated with Constitutional values of Justice – Social, Economic, and Political – and directed towards national reconstruction through instrumentation of democracy, rule of law, and human rights.”
I am proud that UPES has instilled this approach in the core philosophy of teaching and learning. Multidisciplinary learning at UPES educates the students to approach a client’s problem through different methods. The industry-aligned curriculum is designed in a way where students are involved in the in-depth knowledge of a particular subject along with the help of elite academicians at UPES. This helps students gain a broad knowledge of the subject. These attributes play a vital role in graduates who are interviewed at law firms.
The ABLE (Academic Blueprint for Learning Excellence) framework at UPES offers a lot of flexibility to our students. The learning is segmented into core subjects, core specialisations, minors, and signature and life skills learning. We are constantly working towards making our students ‘future ready’ while focusing on strengthening their learning abilities and independent thinking skills for a better world.
How does UPES School of Law give an edge to its students?
UPES School of Law is the ‘Top Law School’ recognized by the Forbes India magazine that is effectively training students to become zealous lawyers and outstanding professionals. In 2021, it has been awarded as the University of the Year-North by ASSOCHAM.
Accredited ‘Grade A’ by NAAC, UPES has received 5-Stars on Employability (placements), Academic Development, Program Strength and Campus Facilities, and 4-Stars for overall teaching by globally acclaimed QS Rating. UPES offers industry-aligned and specialized graduate and postgraduate programs through its seven schools, driving multidisciplinary approach.
Subject matter experts, a world-class infrastructure with in-house moot courts for experiential learning, and continuous interactions with industry and academic connoisseurs and global exposure, UPES School of Law nurtures students to become professionals who are empathetic and well-versed with the ‘language of law’.