In the first week of February this year, I had the chance to give a talk on LLM applications at the Hidayatullah National Law University in Raipur. It was a short visit, lasting just about a day, but there were some memories made. These are the ones I am choosing to share.
The silence is surprising. Very surprising. For the last twenty-odd minutes the students have been asking some damn good questions, ones that have some thought and research behind them. The questions were asked with confidence, and a curiosity that, I think, was genuine. But then came the silence, that eerie silence that just does not belong in a classroom, that silence of the pin drop kind.
And all I did was ask how many of them are applying for the Rhodes scholarship this year.
Do they really think they won’t make the cut? Or is that what “everyone” has told them?
I am being treated to some great hospitality, and the kids are bright, and ambitious and talking about PPO’s and planning Day Zero’s for the fourth-year batch. This practice, of allowing recruitments to take place a full year before graduation, has been followed by the “best” law schools for some time now. With little, if any, discussion on just what this practice says about that final year of education, or about the dangers of herd mentality., or about the relationship between “national” law schools, and one of their biggest benefactors, the Indian Corporate Bar.
There is some sort of performance event taking place near the main building, and the “woo hoos” are puncturing the air. There is that vaguely familiar scent of hope, of optimism, of a cynicism that is not genuine. I am walking around the campus, and the university’s physical infrastructure is plenty impressive, quite at odds with the student uprising that recently led to their VC’s resignation. I suppose building a law school, developing a campus, building hostels and stadiums and tennis courts are one thing. Running a law school, however, is another.
To reach the HNLU campus from Raipur aiport, one rushes through Naya Raipur, a massive chunk of land that will be “developed” in the years to come. The roads are massive, straight, the buildings are new and shiny, and you can see a waiting and watching Capitalism at every crossing.
It is also incredibly desolate, and I do wonder what the HNLU students do to pass their time. And how the campus experience plays into their legal education, and their own, individual ambitions and hopes.
I am sitting inside Raipur’s airport, looking back on the day, and hoping to make another visit soon. Given how efficiently this talk was arranged, that is a distinct possibility. I am also realizing that, more and more, today’s law graduate has global ambitions. Whether this is in terms of education, employment or, and this is quite likely, both.
These are some exciting times ahead for us at Amicus Partners. Most exciting.
(Much gratitude to the RCC at HNLU for arranging the talk)
(If you would like Amicus Partners to hold a session at your law school, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)