In India, The Role of a lawyer and the purpose of legal education were both narrowly constricted until the last few decades. The country’s legal education system was originally envisaged with the single objective of producing lawyer for courts. However, considering how times have changed, this objective has become a complete negation of what law and legal education stands for in today’s era.
Changes and development that have contributed towards this reform of sorts in the way legal education was conceived are many. For example, the sweeping approach of globalization promoting a globally interconnected market-economy, informed and guided by the regime of decontrol, deregulation and reduced state role as a promoter of public good and social welfare. With this MNCs, TNCs, and big business corporate have come to enjoy enormous power, often exercising influence even larger than the state and with ruthless competitiveness, and profits have become the only guiding force.
There is an ever-increasing demand on the profession locally as well as globally.Now one regularly encounters new kinds of interests, pressure and stakeholders demanding newer kinds o service, advice and opinions. And, then there are a host of other issues as well-the growing impression that law and legal education tend to be more on the side of articulating and lowering the interest of trade and commerce; young lawyers that are only interested in serving corporate houses and corporate law firms; and preserving legal education’s purpose of being an instrument for bringing about social, political and economic justice.
THE NATIONAL LAW SCHOOLS
To meet these challenges and successfully convert them into opportunities for human welfare one needs new kinds of professionals in the legal system.And this no doubt is and added responsibility for the institutes and universities creating these professionals. It is combined responsibility of the entire legal education system. And so, whether or not the Indian legal education system can cope with these challenges and harness them in to opportunities needs to be examined.
The Indian legal profession is perhaps among the largest in the world, second only to the US. However, in terms of the ratio of lawyers to the size of the country’s population, there is still much to be achieved. The setting up of the National Law School University in Bangalore two decades ago was step forward in this direction. It brought hopes and positive results in making legal education more qualitatively and professionally attractive for young minds. A dozen other such universities were eventually established to replicate the success as part of the recommendations made by the chief justice4s conference in early 1990s asking states to set up such a law university within their jurisdiction.
However, merely establishing these law schools is no guarantee to success. It is significant to note that these law universities have only been able to produce a few good quality lawyers, which was something the traditional university system could already boast of -despite their infrastructure inferiority. And so, the needs to upgrade the status of legal education system in the country remain urgent.