He wears three hats at the same time. He is a Professor, Vice Chancellor and Dean of a law school that many say will revolutionize legal education in India. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a Landon Gammon fellow and a James Souverine Gallo Memorial Scholar. C Raj Kumar, the brains behind Jindal Global Law School, talks to Bar & Bench about his baby..Beginnings:The core motivation for thinking about such an institution is my own personal background. Having studied in India, Oxford and Harvard, the first idea on possibilities came when as a student I felt that the kind of vibrant intellectual discourse that took place at Oxford and in Harvard should be available in India. Then I graduated, worked in New York, and then I decided to move into academia. The immediate thing was you know, we in India, should have institutions of that kind. The US is an interesting place. While institutions there are built largely on endowments, institutions here are largely public..Institutions like Yale, NYU, Harvard have so much to contribute to the society in many ways, and not just the intellectual academic environment. In India, on the other hand, institutions are at best, looked as great employment agencies..I took up a faculty appointment in Hong Kong, which was essentially an eye opener. The culture of research was dominant. I basically proposed an idea of global law school in India to Professor Peter Schuck of Yale Law School, later a Fulbright fellow. Simply, it was an outrageous idea to think of a global law school with an international board, and people were very supportive. Then in 2006 for the first time I met the then law minister, H.R. Bharadwaj and I shared the idea of a global law school on the lines of Harvard and he was very excited about this. He said that we need somebody who is ready to put in some 200 crores of rupees in a philanthropic manner, and is happy about it. He introduced me to Naveen Jindal in 2006. Mr. Bharadwaj and Jairam Ramesh encouraged Naveen to meet me. I used to meet Naveen Jindal almost every month the whole of 2007. The first half of 2007 went in convincing Naveen that it is worth for him to put 200 plus crores and the second half went in convincing him to do so in a philanthropic manner..LSAT – CLAT.Our law school is a global law school. When envisaging and conceptualizing the vision for the global law school, the emphasis was on globality; the curriculum, courses, programs, research, interaction, faculty, had to be global. We looked at admission models worldwide, and found out that the most popular model was the Law School Admission Test; Australian, Chinese, Canadian law schools are adopting the Law School Admission Test. So we decided to get the LSAT for the first time. The kind of entrance examination we want to have should be beyond any jurisdiction; it must be universally recognizable and adaptable. What everybody is feeling about the Common Law Admission Test is that, the questions in legal aptitude, General Knowledge are silly. The LSAT is time tested and through a lot of empirical work have identified logical reasoning, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension which are identified as necessary to be good lawyer. So we adopted them and brought it into India for the first time..A Global Law School.I’ve always believed that what the National Law Schools have done is revolutionize legal education in India. National law Schools are institutions which challenged the status quo at a time when it was considered inferior every other profession..I don’t comment on the quality of the other institutions; I can only say what we do. There has been a globalization of everything, so a lawyer moves and transfers across jurisdictions and areas of work with ease and increasing frequency. So it becomes essential for our lawyers to have a very strong foundation not only in domestic law but also in international and comparative law..We want to be financially independent as soon as possible and the only way we can be financially dependent is to any institution can get revenue through sources. We developed a structure on the base of which we want to be financially independent. This institution should not be dependent on any donor. We charge 5 lakhs per annum for a 5 year programme and for 3 year programme, 3 lakhs per annum..Reform.What happens is in the engineering context; Microsoft, Wipro and all these guys set up at Hyderabad and Bangalore, and they train the engineers for one and half years. This is what has to happen in law if we need to radically transform. The issue has to be addressed in a central manner of all educational enterprises. Amartya Sen has in his book mentioned specifically that one should not underestimate the importance of financial incentives for people’s motivations to do work. We need to radically restructure and impose standards and accountability, so that our teachers have to produce and create knowledge to contribute to the establishment of the society..Corporate, AcademicsIf you pick up the top 10 law schools of the country, and you talk to the top 40 students, I would say 95 percent of them or maybe more would not have the remotest inclination to enter academics. You do a similar thing in US, or Australia or UK, you would be surprised that a good number of them want to enter academics..There are a lot of things that has to happen to the society. Academia is not respected in the India society. We are conscious that the most important thing is the faculty. We would not blame the students if they did not make an effort to get into academics. You need to make it attractive, at a general level, we need to raise the profile of academia, we need to raise the quality of faculty, we need to make it more exclusive, make it far more rigorous, a highly demanding and prestigious engagement and make the life of a professor attractive in many ways in terms of benefits , perks, privileges, and that I believe would have a trigger effect..Magazines, Ranking and Ethics:I have only one problem with that. It is a very serious problem. First of all anywhere in the world has their limitations. My only problem with any ranking is the potential conflict of which the magazines and the news papers themselves might have with related to their advertising revenue coming from the institutions to their rankings, and it is hugely problematic, affecting the credibility of the ranking process itself. But these are useful tools these are useful indicators and it should be done in far more rigorous, absolutely independent, based on academic standards..I’ve had reputed magazines and newspapers coming to us asking us to put an advertisement, and along with it you get an editorial story. It is ridiculous, downright dishonesty and is no longer talked in hush hush manner. I don’t think the top management places know about it probably but it is a part of the marketing thing they do..Post Graduate Courses:We believe that post graduate education is extremely critical for the future development of the law. That is where any form of specialization can take place. And today, specialization is inevitable. There are so many complex areas of law. Structuring them, reading them, understanding them; it will be unfair to do that in the normal educational context; so many intricacies involved in it, so we are planning to develop multiple types of LLM programs, which I believe has the potential to transform the landscape of the post graduate programme. One, developing specialized LLM programs in areas of law which are of huge contemporary relevance, to the corporate world, trade world, public policy etc. Then we are also looking at multi jurisdictional degrees, where students from two universities come together; for example India and Australia, and they both offer degrees. There are regulatory issues that need to be worked out..Globally, the LLM is a one year programme. In India, post-graduate degrees are at least for 2 years. That is the UGC thing, so I hope in the years to come we will be able to convince the UGC institutions to make this transition. There is absolutely no logic to have a 2 year LLM programme when everybody has a 1 year LLM programme.