C. Raj Kumar on the New Jindal Global Law School
Professor C. Raj Kumar is spearheading the initiative to establish India’s first global law school known as the Jindal Global Law School as a part of the proposed O.P. Jindal Global University to be located outside New Delhi (Sonipat, Haryana) and less than an hour from the Supreme Court of India in the heart of New Delhi. He was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, UK, where he obtained his Bachelor of Civil Law degree; a Landon Gammon Fellow at the Harvard Law School, where he obtained his Master of Laws degree, and a James Souverine Gallo Memorial Scholar at the Harvard University. He also obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Delhi, India; and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Loyola College of the University of Madras, India. Professor Kumar has held consultancy assignments in the field of human rights and governance. He is Consultant to the National Human Rights Commission in India. He has been a Consultant to the United Nations University, Tokyo; United Nations Development Programme; and the International Council for Human Rights Policy, Geneva. He has advised the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption in Sri Lanka and the National Human Rights Commission in India on issues relating to corruption and good governance.Professor Kumar’s areas of specialization, include, human rights and development, corruption and governance, law and disaster management, comparative constitutional law and legal education. He has more than hundred publications to his credit and has published widely in journals and law reviews in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan and the U.S. His three co-edited books are Human Rights and Development: Law, Policy and Governance, Tsunami and Disaster Management: Law and Governance, and Human Rights, Justice and Constitutional Empowerment.
Kumar: The story of the Jindal Global Law School may be worth mentioning, because, you know, I kind of, when Mr. Naveen Jindal, the promoter of this initiative, talked to me about this, and I met him some time around end of 2006, when the Law Minister of India, Mr. Bhardwaj, introduced me to him. And since then, I’ve talked to him about the idea of putting in substantial money to establish a global law school and a global university on a non-profit basis, and it took almost a year for him to, you know, be convinced about it, and once he got convinced, by early this year, he was ready to put in all the money and all the resources. Now, we effectively began this project sometime in, you know, April of this year, and we are just barely, you know, 6 months from then and we have now acquired over 55 acres of land in which the construction of the buildings have already begun. We are in the process of completing the construction of the campus to almost, you know, 700,000 square feet, which will house an entire academic block and some over 200 students’ housing and some over 45 housing for faculty… all will be ready by 1st of August, 2009. We are working on a fast track basis and the whole idea is to be able to welcome the first batch of our students in September, 2009. And one thing which I wanted to mention is that the Global Law School agenda commits itself to ensuring that we have a global curriculum, we have global courses, our programs are global and our collaborations are global and our interaction is also global. So at least at 5 different levels, we want to promote globalization and legal education, and this concept of globalization and legal education we want to, you know, in some ways, transfer it to other schools which we hope to establish within the university in the years to come. Mr. Naveen Jindal does have plans to establish a business school, a school of government, on the lines of the Kennedy School of Government, and a school of international affairs. And, you know, over the years, we expect the O.P. Jindal Global University to be a multi-faculty, global university with excellence in teaching and research across many of these schools and where students from India and all over the world pursue different undergraduate and graduate programs. We have begun faculty recruitment. What we are going to do is that, for the first time in India, we are adopting what is known as the law, LSAT. The Law School Admissions Council in the US conducts the test called the LSAT, the Law School Admissions Test for admission to US law schools. But we have negotiated with the Law School Admissions Council in the US. In fact, this afternoon I have a meeting with them to finalize the deal. Basically, the Law School Admissions Council in the US is going to come to India and have a Law School Admissions Test in almost 15 centers in India and this test will be announced sometime in February and by the last week of April, which is the calendar in which India operates. We will have this entrance examination and the performance of the students in this examination will lead to us giving them offers for admission sometime in June and July and the students will be coming and joining us on the first of September.
Question: Do you expect a number of international students?
Kumar: It’s a very interesting question because in the law school context, if you will, you know, law schools are, in some ways, the most jurisdictional places in the world. If you go to an engineering school, you will always find people from other parts of the world because, in some ways, principles of aeronautic engineering are universal, so you will find a student of aeronautical engineering from Bolivia to be in the US and pretty much studying the same thing, relating to aeronautical engineering. But that is not the case as far as law school is concerned. It’s one of the most jurisdictionally-oriented subjects even now, so if you look at any law school in the world, even the most globalized law schools, its traditional graduate JD programs or Law [for LLB] programs, in many places, are mostly from people from that own jurisdiction, and the international students are more from, in the LL.M. programs or the Master’s program. Since the first program you’re starting happens to be sort of a graduate program, like the JD program, we don’t expect a number of international students, although we expect students from South Asia and Africa and Southeast Asia, but I don’t personally expect a good number of international students in the program. But what we do expect is 2 things. One is that in the years to come, law will itself become so globalized that there will be more and more students coming from all kinds of jurisdictions to join any program. Two, we have launched a semester abroad program, whereby US law school students or any other students can come and spend a semester at our law school, doing courses and actually getting credits for these courses to be taken back to their law schools. Now, this program we’ve already launched. We’re expecting a few law schools in the US to take that and send some students. We’re expecting a number of, at least 10 students from the US to come and spend a semester in India when we launch the post-graduate program, that is the LL.M. program, which is going to be a global program in the sense that interest will be beyond jurisdiction and we expect more international students in that program.
The Jindal Global Law School is committed to a global curriculum.
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