Manipal Law School plans overhaul of BBA, BA LLB programme to include practical skills

The new Manipal Law School is planning to reform its BBA, BA LLB course curriculum to help graduates secure legal jobs more easily.

School plans of overhauling the BBA LLB and BA LLB course curriculum to add more practical training and launching new programmes. (Image Source: Official)School plans of overhauling the BBA LLB and BA LLB course curriculum to add more practical training and launching new programmes. (Image Source: Official)

Sheena Sachdeva | January 12, 2024 | 06:01 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Launched in 2022, Manipal Law School, Bengaluru, has 189 students in its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Avinash Dadhich, professor and director, spoke to Careers360 about the school’s plans of overhauling the BBA LLB and BA LLB course curriculum to add more practical training and launching new programmes, including a three-year LLB course and two LLM courses. Edited excerpts.

Q. Legal education in India is often accused of neglecting practical skills which impacts employability. How is Manipal Law School planning to solve this issue?

A. This problem prevails in higher education overall. Majority of our graduates are not industry-ready. At Manipal Law School, we are in the process of proposing a new undergraduate curriculum. From the 2024-25 academic year, we are going to change our course structure. We plan to overhaul our curriculum to include practical skills.

Also read 3-year Vs 5-year: How the LLB courses compare on curriculum, legal job opportunities, challenges

We have noticed that the majority of courses are theoretical with very few practical aspects of laws being taught. To address this, we plan to add practical aspects. This will include 36 hours of theory, 15 hours of practice and nine hours of teaching by a professor, including theory and practice . However, the same professor who teaches theory will now invite a practitioner to impart practical training to students in the classroom for 15 hours. These practitioners will teach students how to draft bail applications, appeals or FIRs. They will help them sharpen other practical skills as well, which have been lacking in legal education. For instance, students are taught contract law but they have no knowledge on how to draft or negotiate a contract. The remaining nine hours will be a mix of theory and practical.

We are in the process of submitting this proposal by the end of December this year.

We are going to add 10 papers covering “legal tech” to the subjects required by the Bar Council of India.

These papers will include subjects like MS Office, including MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, typing and others. These subjects may seem very basic but the fact is that most law school students, even the fresh graduates, don't have the basic knowledge of computers.

We also plan to include ChatGPT and other softwares that law firms are using nowadays. These include compliance software, contract review and management software, e-discovery software and others. These ‘legal-tech’ subjects will be compulsory for undergraduate students.

Further, to become a successful legal professional, a student must have very strong life-skills. We will be adding 10 papers on life skills that will enhance their employability. For this, will be adding a compulsory foreign language. Law schools teach French, but this is only for two semesters and two credit points overall. But to learn a language properly, it’s a very short span. We will propose six options of foreign languages, including French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. A language course will carry 20 credits with 300 learning hours.

This apart, students will now choose one project out of three in every semester. These three options will include moot court simulation, research paper or a social project.

Also read ‘CLAT exam in regional languages is impractical,’ says WBNUJS Kolkata vice-chancellor

Q. What new courses have been recently launched or are in the pipeline?

A. We have BA LLB (Hons) and BBA LLB (Hons) courses – both for five years. We have four masters programmes. The LLM in Data Privacy and Cyber Law is a blended programme for regular and working professionals. The LLM in Information Technology Law is offered in regular and blended modes. These were launched last year.

We have been granted the approval to introduce from next year a full-time three-year LLB in Technology Law; a one-year LLM in Construction Law and Arbitration in blended mode; and a one-year LLM in Investment and Commercial Arbitration in both blended and regular modes.

The school will also be introducing two new programmes for professionals who are not lawyers. These are LLM in Data Privacy and Cyber Law and LLM in Construction Law and Arbitration. Our law school aims to cater to both law students and executives in the legal and non-legal professions. Overall, we will have 12 programmes from the next academic year.

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