New Edge of Legal Education
Author: Prof. (Dr) K K Sri Rama Chandra Murthy
Yester years teachers creative vision in every sphere indicates the domination of the right brain in their personality which we really lack in our present-day monotony in different aspects of our social living. Obviously, Education is the panacea of all evils. Universities today depend on government funds and when government resources are inadequate, managing capitals from other sources become difficult.
At this juncture of globalization and knowledge explosion, the academic world is going through a crisis. There is not only degradation in ethics and values but also there is a dearth of quality education. Various degrees and qualifications (on paper) are available, but there is a loss in the construction of concepts. Learners are confused; they are not focused on their life. Very few enroll themselves for higher education. Most of them do not know what they really want from life and how to get it. They have various degrees but not proper jobs. There are various reasons for this crisis. In the light of this milieu, this paper attempts to study the changing pattern of academic scenarios in law courses in India and tries to analyze the relevance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a method of experiential learning. In this paper doctrinal and analytical methods are adopted for analyzing the secondary sources and judgments of various courts.
Keywords : academic scenario, experiential learning, information and communication technology (ICT), legal education, quality
Let pure seekers of wisdom arrive unto us for learning and wisdom from all directions. Let them arrive unto us by diverse paths
— Translation from Taittiriya Upanishad 1/4/2.
Our Upanishad has welcomed all the pure seekers of wisdom from all directions and from different paths to join the world of wisdom.
Certainly, the actual spirit of edification is the attentiveness of mind. The intentional use of communication to foster development is not new. Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) is performing playing a major role in broadening the scope of legal education in India. Imagining a modern education system without ICT is like being called illiterate even if we are well educated. We should never hesitate to use ICT in our day-to-day life because, instead of encouraging critical thinking, the universities are being forced to become a system for training people to fit the world they know and receive. Hence, thinking beyond the syllabus with the help of ICT will provide a cutting edge to the learners in the market to be better hired than their peers.
Aim of Education
There could be many aims of education that have been there for centuries are viz., knowledge, character development, livelihood & vocation, and self-realization. Whether the aim is centuries old or present-day one, the aim should be for “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”. Old coaching and instructional methodologies with different learning styles and capabilities with a singular and similar coaching and instruction method is the present-day challenge faced by many educational institutions. Education must be holistic and one that takes care of their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual capabilities. Education is not a business but a service to the universe and to promote peace. Critics claimed that privatization of education will cost each letter taught to the pupils but not to a student who learns. Critics further claim that, instead of looking for education as a tool to empower citizens government is looking at education as an ideological weapon and commercial commodity. These types of challenges can be answered through new edge education and experiential learning methods.
Indian Apex Court on Education
Making both the individual and society profitable, education is the primary vehicle for human, economic and social development. The Indian Apex court in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, and Unni krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh cases standardized the right to education is an implied fundamental right. Justice Gajendragadkar in University of Delhi v. Ramnath observed that, education is enlightenment. It is one that lends dignity to a man. Education seeks to built up the personality of the pupil by assisting his physical, intellectual, moral and emotional development.
Gandhiji on Education
Gandhiji wrote in the columns of Harijan in 1921 that the domination of English was making the Indian crammers and followers unfit for productive work. Education was passive, book-centered, unrealistic and therefore wasteful. He proposed a system of education that would have as its main principles-free, compulsory universal primary education for seven years through the medium of the mother tongue, centered around a productive craft so that education would be self-supporting. This arrangement came to be known as the Basic National Education Scheme. The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE), 2009 spoke for all-encompassing Education, following which any structure and phase of education must admit the childs right to join the school and the schools responsibility to accept the child.
Be that as it may, in view of the expansion of the field of law and the emergence of new kinds of jurisprudence, the legal education present includes the production of well-trained lawyers, judges, legal and corporate executives and law teachers. Furthermore, there is no consistency in the legal education system in India. Each university has its own pattern. In conventional universities especially in traditional law colleges, the students at present learn about the use of computers in legal profession.
University Grants Commission of India (UGC)
Accuracy of an online degrees, diplomas and certificate sequences are now recognized by the UGC under its University Grants Commission (Online Courses or Programmes)  Regulation, 2018 (Online Education Regulations).
As per the rules, courses of non-technical nature only can be offered in online mode. Furthermore, the said regulations denied the permission to offer courses or programs in the field of engineering, law, medicine, dental, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy, applied arts through the online mode.
Bar Council of India (BCI)
Legal literacy is one of the crucial goals of any democratic state. Furthermore, Law remains an extremely important subject for every human being. Bar Council of India’s learning outcome-based curriculum for undergraduate courses is gaining momentum because of the reason that the learning outcomes are modifiable with due justification in view of contexts, texts selected in the course and requirements of the stakeholders. Moreover, BCI’s recent decision to scrap the one-year LL M (PG) course is a welcoming trend in this aspect. After New Education Policy, 2020 this is the changing pattern of the academic scenario for law courses in India.
New Education Policy, 2020
The New Education Policy (NEP), 2020 will bring the equality, quality and access in the education sector which ultimately gives result to a new edge and experiential learning in education sector. One of the notable NEP decisions is a solitary regulator for higher education institutions except for Law and Medical Colleges. Nevertheless, the NEP is designed to pave the way for transformational reforms in higher education systems to make India a universal knowledge superpower.
The “multiple entry and exit policy” of NEP, 2020 stretches upon the flexibility to a student where one can enter and exit college at numerous points, with proper credits through a research module stored in the very instrumentally titled ABC, or Academic Bank of Credit. On the other hand, critics of NEP, 2020 claimed that the NEP’s early exit option is divisive.
Notwithstanding that, education plays a critical role in nation building. Moreover, Law is changing day by day. Out of every four Americans two of them possess law degrees, diplomas etc. However, there is no hard and fast rule that all of the citizens who possess Law Degree shall practice legal profession. Obviously, there are a few numbers of Advocates practicing the profession. In USA the natural rule ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is implemented in a better perspective than in India.
In India the legal profession was started simultaneously after British rule was started by East India Company. Centuries old aged Hindu Dharmasastras and Quranic injunctions were substituted by the western judicial system and amended them according to modern needs. In a modern state law, legal education and development have become inter-related. Primarily, the law course was designed to legal practicing only. The curriculum was confined to mainly case laws and the subject. Every citizen is protected by the fundamental rights through the Constitution of India.
In case of depriving of his/her fundamental rights, citizens are protected to get remedy by approaching the court immediately. The accountability of taming legal education has been alienated to several bodies, viz. Bar Council of India (BCI), University Grants Commission (UGC), Universities, the Central Government, etc. In present-day socio, economic and democratic setup coordination and cooperation between these institutions is required. To develop legal education in such a way to reach the common man fruitfully could be the primary objective of these institutions.
Institution of National Law Universities is a key step towards reforming legal education in India. After that, the setup of legal education is becoming more and more specific as was envisioned by the well-wishers of the legal profession. The new epoch of legal education in India has opened up paths for students in law and completely overhauled the image and structure of the legal profession of the country and it is no longer viewed in the provincial manner as it used to be before.
ICT in Legal Education
For learning the law ICT enables teachers to assemble, store and (re) use materials. Moreover, continuing legal education for lawyers has been introduced by many countries in the world. While speaking at the thirteenth convocation of Nalsar University of Law, the then Union Minister for Law and Justice D.V. Sadananda Gowda said Legal education in India has got a raw deal as law colleges and lawyers in the country do not enjoy a reputation on par with other sectors. Notwithstanding that, ICT is an instrument for uncomplicatedness and openness. Electronically authorized education comprises the use of information, communication and instructional technologies to augment students learning of the law and to provide law teachers with milieus and paraphernalia for teaching the law. One of the ICT tools named as LawTab is one of its kinds which harvest good results in legal education and research.
22 inter-sectoral training programs for young lawyers were drawn out with the help of ICT by the M. K. Nambiar Memorial Academy for Continuing Legal Education sponsored by the Kerala Bar Council in connotation with the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bengaluru. The building of the academy is on a one-acre land at Kalamassery allotted by the Government.
First of its kind in the country being set up under a Bar Council for training young lawyers and prosecutors, had started functioning in the month of January 2016. It has prearranged many workshops and programs for training young lawyers which include the workshop on child rights. Orientation program for new entrants into the legal profession is also part of the program. For leading the programs the NLSIU had allotted Rs.1 crore to the academy. The orientation program would inculcate confidence in newly enrolled lawyers while presenting a case in courts. For achieving success often lawyers use shortcuts. This program would also prevent the lawyers from using shortcuts to achieve professional success. The then Chairman of Kerala Bar Council said that continuing legal education would inspire young lawyers to do research in their interesting branch of the judicial system. Nevertheless, under this academy program, promising lawyers would get an opportunity to review the latest developments in the law.
Interactive tools and substantive material can be integrated under ICT which provides students with an environment in which they can manage legal information and legal knowledge for their personal and professional use. Best example to this stimulation is self-tests on different fields of law, a video simulation of an oral exam, and handouts from professors and judges etc.
Justice D Y Chandrachud of Indian Apex court on 24 March 2021 assures lawyers that cases will not be dismissed for default if lawyers do not join in video conferencing (VC) at relevant time. This highlights the unworthiness and sometimes pure quality of internet connectivity.
At this juncture the focus should be on the execution of development policies centered on quality of content and processes. We should treat the design of electronic materials for learning the law as a research activity. In designing these electronic materials, a principled and structured design approach should be taken.
This approach involves three major types of research categories, viz.,:
(i) Basic research in the modeling of legal knowledge and legal reasoning
(ii) Applied research for realizing the electronic materials
(iii) Integrated research where the emphasis is on managing existing electronic materials and delivering courses
Organization of electronic materials aimed at learning the law
The organization of electronic materials for learning the law is as follows:
- Communiqué paraphernalia – which help to construct, unite and sustenance the communication in accomplishing a certain legal task
- Data apparatuses- which encompass legal data that are needed in order to carry out a certain legal task
- Instructional apparatuses – which consist of electronic materials for the effective and efficient acquisition of legal knowledge and legal skills
Approaches to handle ICT in Legal Education
For managing change in legal education, ICT is a precise model with unambiguous goals, both organizational and educational. A problem-seeking, not a solution-driven approach, development methodologies centered on quality of content and processes, not technical compatibilities; involvement of students; alternative visualizations of a managed learning environments functions are the core factors to pedal ICT in legal education.
Moreover, the decision to use ICT is often fully clad in three layers of knowledge conception: (a) Democratic conception, which includes reference to distance learning and transparency; (b) Economic conception, referring to income generation and competitiveness; and (c) Discipline-related conception, where the greater efficiency of discipline-based learning is adduced.
Possible outcomes related to ICT
In the words of Sri Talwant Singh, Addl District & Sessions Judge, Delhi, the possible outcomes related to ICT which is to be implemented thoroughly for the betterment of legal education in India are viz., creation of projects, those projects to be restructured frequently by a dedicated team; arranging programme of meetings for specialist developers. Integration of educational theory with ICT implementations. Focus on processes of learning rather than on software products which will ultimately give the new edge to education. Widespread use of student voice in feedback. Denunciation of one size fits all approach to e-learning, and support for multiplicity and heterogeneity in the creation and use of e-learning. Supplementary exploration into the factors that enlighten why certain methods of teaching and learning work better in some areas than in others. Long-term and large-scale comparisons of methods and results, based upon quality evidence etc.
Strategy for major decisions
The strategy involves major decisions regarding: registry services; the creation, handling and access to personal data; academic course information; and much more. Identify web sources of value for conducting legal research and Identify subscription databases for conducting legal research are primary functions to be carried out with the help of available Guide to Foreign and International Legal Databases and Guide to Law Online. Global Legal InformationNetwork, LawGuru, Jurist, etc., are the sources available to a learner in the World Wide Web.
Technologically driven courses
Students and young professionals need to become well versed with the new technological driven courses which are being introduced and incorporated in the curriculum to prepare future practitioners in the fields viz., Artificial Intelligence and Law, Blockchain and Law, Cybersecurity and Law, Cyber Forensics and Law, Mechanisms, Space and Law, and Education Law etc.
“The man who is prepared has his battle half fought Miguel de Cervantes.
Skill of doing Legal Research is demanded in every stage of a legal career. Be it a law student, a litigant, academician or a corporate lawyer. Researching is a skill that defines the persons skill that has the capacity to build ones own legal career. Researching is an art and one should learn this art and embrace it in his / her own way.
Lawyering effectiveness skills
Getting into law school and choosing law is all about having the spark to fight for injustice. Everyone is trying to find the right person, but nobody is trying to be the right.
In this scenario, the role of homogeneous testing in all stages of education has been increasingly controversial over recent years. Institutions of higher education continue to struggle to find ways to achieve equity and excellence. This challenge is particularly intense in law schools.
Commentators have criticized legal education generally and the admission practices that reflect it, for over-emphasis on academic and cognitive competencies.
Other than in clinical programs, attention to training professionals for practice, examination of problems within the profession and in society’s provision of legal services garner less attention today than might once have been thought possible.
Moreover, clinical education, including both services and clinical policy research and intervention, ameliorates this problem, but typically lacks the resources, depth, continuity and integration to make up for inadequacies.
In a study Judges, Professors, Lawyers, law students, and some clients were surveyed and asked to report the aspects that made attorneys effective in practice. The survey was conducted with 26 skills which are self-explanatory mentioned under eight umbrella categories. They were asked to identify the skills they possess. The idea behind this exercise is to provide dozens of opportunities to develop and build on these skills in law school as part of new edge education and experiential learning practices.
Suggestions & Conclusion
Education should not be a financial commodity. Commercial entities should not control education. Access and excellence in education is not possible through centralization and corporatization of the education system but with new edge education and experiential learning methods. Undoubtedly for every law school, hiring of faculty, their promotion and salary policies, student admission practices, and curricular policies reflect a significantly more theoretical and quantitative intellectual agenda than in the past. Nevertheless, forced acceptance of online education would augur well for online delivery of educational opportunities. In India of a publicly-accessible ICT database where developers input and maintain their own idea is witnessing a paradigm shift in the legal field and legal education. It is proved that the relevance of ICT as a method of experiential learning gaining momentum in India. But we have a lot to learn from the leading law schools in the world in terms of the curriculum, teaching methodology, use of information technology in law teaching and in producing quality lawyers. In order to strengthen the theoretical knowledge of the students practical learning experience through ICT as part of experiential learning will help to achieve their goals. The edification system ought to be social research-based. Students and academicians to do the research in the field of law as their work will aid the judiciary in its decisions and orders concerning social issues. This research could also aid the legislature in coming out with new laws as per the needs of the evolving society. To reduce the distance between litigants and the judicial system ICT is also an effective tool. Indeed, ICT is a defacto standard for making justice deliverable and possible with receptive technology.
Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post-Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education), Rules, 2020.
J.K.Pillai, National Movement in Education New Frontiers in Education Vol. XXVII No. 3 July September, 1997
LAW & SOCIAL INQUIRY, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, Vol.36, Issue 3, (2011).
National Educational Policy, 2020.
 Hereinafter mentioned as ICT
 AIR 1992 SC 1858
 (1993) 1 SCC 645
 (1964) 2 SCR 703 AT P 710
 J.K.Pillai, National Movement in Education New Frontiers in Education Vol. XXVII No. 3 July September, 1997 p. 204.
 Regulation 2 (q) of the Online Education Regulation defines ‘Online Course or Programme’ to mean the Course or Programme of studies which are delivered through online mode leading to award of a Certificate or Diploma or Degree by an approved Higher Educational Institution and recognised under these Regulations.
 Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post-Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education), Rules, 2020. These Rules were notified in light of Sections 7 (1) (h), (i); (ia); (ib); (ic); (2) (b); (c); 15 (1); 49 (1) (af); (d); (e) with a view to strengthen legal education at each level of undergraduate, post graduate, legal research, technology & court management, continuing legal education and professional and clinical skill development courses conducted off-line and on-line.
 The Hindu, Monday, August, 17, 2015, Hyderabad edition, at p. 4
 The No Child Left Behind Act and litigation over teacher licensing tests are well known examples; Association of Mexican-American Educators v. California, 2000. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/LSACREPORTfinal-12.pdf
 In a study “Identification, Development, and Validation of Predictors for Successful Lawyering”, September 2008, completed by Berkeley academics Marjorie M. Schultz and Sheldon Zedeck.
 Marjorie M. Shultz and Sheldon Zedeck, Predicting Lawyer Effectiveness: Broadening the Basis for Law School Admissions Decisions, LAW & SOCIAL INQUIRY, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION, Vol.36, Issue 3, 620, 661 (2011).
 List of 26 Effectiveness Factors with 8 Umbrella Categories:
I. Intellectual & Cognitive:
1) Scrutiny and Reasoning 2) Originality/Innovation 3) Problem resolving 4) Applied Judgment
II. Research & Information Gathering:
5) Researching the Law 6) Fact Finding 7) Questioning and Interviewing
8) Persuading and Advocating 9) Inscription 10) Dialogue 11) Hearing
IV. Scheduling and Organizing:
12) Tactical Planning 13) Organizing and Managing Ones Own Work 14) Organizing and Managing Others (Staff/Colleagues)
V. Conflict determination:
15) Compromise Aids 16) Able to See the World Through the Eyes of Others
VI. Client and Business Relations Entrepreneurship:
17) Networking & Business Expansion 18) Providing Guidance, advice & structuring Relationships with clients
VII. Working with Others:
19) Developing Relationships within the Legal Profession 20) Evaluation, Development, and Mentoring
21) Desire and rendezvous 22) Thoroughness 23) Integrity/Trustworthiness 24) Managing trauma 25) Public Participation and Service 26) Self-Development