Two Years of LLM: Should BCI Reconsider this Decision?

What is the purpose of pursuing LLM?

The program of LLM is designed primarily for the students of law who want to pursue academics as their career in the future and it gives them an upper hand towards it. The main purpose behind the LLM program is to offer a specialized knowledge of a particular field of law to the students. As we know, the undergraduate program of law i.e. LLB provides basic knowledge about the law and helps students in analyzing and applying it in today’s life.

There can be two reasons for pursuing LLM:

  • Firstly, students who want to go for academics need to complete LLM and pursue a Ph.D.
  • Secondly, students who have a thirst for knowledge or want to pursue it for better job opportunities in the future. Also, completing LLM benefits in the field of judiciary where judicial officers get high scale pay and promotions if they hold an LLM degree, apart from this LLM is not an industry requirement for the law.

Why was 1-year LLM introduced, and does it suffice the objective of LLM?

The basic idea behind introduction of 1-year LLM program was the universal ideology where universities abroad were offering the 1-year program and after that India also introduced the 1-year LLM program. This 1-year LLM program is very robust and draining study, as all the universities cannot afford to teach the two-year course in one year that is why all the national law universities and only some private universities are allowed to offer 1-year LLM program.

Why BCI wants to scrap the 1-year LLM program?

We all know that the basic motive behind post-graduation is to develop a sense of better understanding and aptitude in the field of subject matter you choose. And if it is necessary to cover the course and develop the aptitude in two years then it is well and good, however, if the course is designed in such a manner that pedagogy is able to teach the students how to develop the advanced learning process in law, then 1 year is sufficient.

As per my opinion, the decision of BCI to bring back the two-year LLM program is a bit problematic as the cost of educations is increasing day by day and its decision to have three years’ practice for appearing for judicial exams is interconnected. Also, it is now mandatory for the students who want to make their career in academics to complete their Ph.D. and then apply for the jobs, therefore, these three main decisions are the very difficult entry point for the students to pursue their career from thereof.

Impact of this decision on the LLM Aspirants and those who are currently enrolled in this course? 

This notification makes it very clear that students who are currently enrolled in one-year LLM program will be allowed to pursue their post-graduation and this decision will have no immediate effect on them. The impact of this decision will vary from student to student as students who are willing to make their career in law will have different social and economic backgrounds. The cost of LLM will also increase as the duration of study is more and it will have gender implications too. Previously many female candidates used to complete their LLM degree and used to join a university as an assistant professor, but from now it will be difficult for them to find a safe and secure job.

Is this a step forward to ensure employment to law graduates?

The decision of Bar Council to scrap one-year LLM and introduce two years LLM will not have much impact on employment. As previously also many corporate law firms used to hire an LLB graduate or integrated LLB graduate. The focus should be on improving the basic structure of legal education in India and BCI should instead think of how to enhance the structure more.

The reasons behind this decision are not as such clarified by BCI, but as per my understanding the people are just switching the modules of the higher legal education system in India. There is not any empirical study on the issue that one-year LLM failed or what is the need to bring back two years LLM program.

Opinion and Recommendations on BCI’s Decision.

All these major decisions should be taken after consulting some students who have recently experienced the program and also, they should consider the social and economic life of a student. The Bar Council should conduct more empirical study as to how these two-year LLM program will benefit because this decision will affect many lives. The student community at this point in time is not able to trust BCI and such misconduct will be miserable for the future of legal education in India. It is very important to read and have experience for taking such major decisions and I recommend each and every one of you to read and contribute to the process of nation-building.

This article is authored by Mr. Alaukik Shrivastava, pursuing PHD from Gujarat National Law University. 


The views opinion expressed by the author are personal and are not intended to hurt any sentiments or be biased in favor of or against any particular person, community, society, sex, gender, race, creed, nation, religion and any such remotely and proximately related terms.

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