As a law student in the 1990’s, Sital Kalantry co-founded the South Asian Law Students Association at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. In many ways, this kind of student association was a rarity in American law schools. “We created the organisation so that students had a way to culturally connect with students from similar backgrounds.”
Although decades have passed, Kalantry’s ties with India and the Indian diaspora remain stronger than ever.
In 2019, she founded the India Law Center at Cornell Law School, partly due to her frustration by the lack of attention Indian jurisprudence received within American academia.
“Even though India is the world’s largest democracy, and the Supreme Court of India has jurisdiction over more than 15% of the people in the world,” she said, ”there is relatively little interest among American law scholars to study the Indian legal system.”
“My hope with the Center is to draw attention to Indian law from a comparative perspective to engage scholars and law students in the study of India.” Leading by example, she recently wrote about what the U.S. Supreme Court could learn from the Supreme Court of India about term limits.
When Kalantry moved to Seattle University School of Law, the Center moved to Seattle as well and is now known as the India Center for Law and Justice (ICLJ).
Along with encouraging a comparative analysis of Indian and U.S. jurisprudence, the ICLJ replicates the aim of the student association Kalantry co-founded decades ago. “[The Center] is a way to build community among students from India who are on Seattle University’s campus,” she said.
The ICLJ works on a number of projects, including a podcast on U.S. and Indian law, organizing lectures and sponsoring research assistantships. The Centre has also developed an Indian immersion program, where U.S. law students visit India to meet with and learn from members of the Indian legal community.
The Indian connection with the School of Law received another boost recently with the establishment of the Remala Family Scholarship – a full tuition scholarship offered to Indian law graduates to pursue an LLM degree at Seattle University. Rao Remala, who founded the Remala Family Foundation with his wife, is a trailblazer in the technology sector. In fact, he was the first person from India hired by software giant Microsoft, which is headquartered in nearby Redmond, Washington.
Today, nearly 100,000 people from India call the Seattle area home,” Kalantry said, “and many of them want to support students who are coming from India to study in the United States just like they did.”
She hopes that the Remala Family Scholarship will encourage Indian lawyers to apply for the LLM at Seattle University.
The scholarship is not the only India connection that Kalantry hopes to foster.
Earlier this month, Seattle University entered into academic collaborations with Loyola College, and Vinayaka Missions Research Foundation, both of which are based in Tamil Nadu. The University has also entered in collaborations with Jindal Global University (JGU), allowing JGU’s law students to study in Seattle University.
Such collaborations are bound to increase in the future, and Kalantry hopes that this will result in greater attention to Seattle University’s LLM course.
The LLM program itself has many strengths. Each cohort is a small, focused group where students are “integrated into the heart of the law school community.”
It is also a program that Kalantry is deeply invested in.
“I love our students! They are very committed to promote social justice in their communities and around the world.”
LLM candidates at Seattle University can take classes and join clubs with the JD law students, enabling them to form valuable professional connections.
“Our 9-month LLM program gives Indian students knowledge about the global practice of law, legal work experience, and direct mentorship by professors and law professionals teaching at Seattle University Law School.”
That is not all.
Says Kalantry, “Students can also be a part of the vibrant Indian community in Seattle which is deeply connected to the tech industry and enjoy the natural beauty of Seattle. All this while studying at the largest private school in the Northwestern United States!”
(This is a sponsored post)
(The author is co-founder at Amicus Partners)