During my second year, I had been to GLC, Mumbai for a moot. Right after the exchange of memorials, amidst all the cacophony and panic, I went on a hunt to find a quiescent place to do all the eleventh hour work. Such place was nowhere to be found until I stumbled upon a hall, full of books with a strong musty smell. It smelt as if a tang of acids has been mixed with a hint of vanilla. No, it wasn’t bad. It was good. So good that I pulled out a book with the worn spine and discoloured pages, stuck it to my nose and inhaled deeply. I could see the world lose its colours and transform into a black and white scene (Mughal-e-Azam types). They were such antique pieces that I’m sure all the other copies of those books have ceased to exist. I sat down with my laptop there and while it was warming up to boot Windows, I looked around the hall and there! I could see portraits and pictures of few of the studly people this country had in the past century. Ambedkar, Kania, Bharucha, Bhagwati, Palkhivala, Sorabjee, Kapadia, Nariman, Seervai, Chagla, to name a few. Guess why? Because that very college was their alma mater.
Yes, GLC Mumbai is the oldest of all the Law Schools and its charm is, in the wake of these corporate feeding National Law Universities, fading. But it needs to be said and I say it as a student of NALSAR that the NLUs are too young to even fit in the league of GLC. No matter how much we thump our chests with the huge campuses, funds and exposure at NLUs, we are foetuses in front of GLC. And yes, maybe in some hundred years from now, NLUs will match up with its legacy. But, it’s not going to happen in my lifetime, at least.
But hey! NLUs are where the cream goes and so do the heavily paying law firms, right? True. But, does it mean that there are only three hundred such kids who could clear the standard of being the cream? Obviously, no! In that case, where do the rest go? They do engineering. Well, not quite. They join a traditional law college. And what becomes of them? Everything they are and their potential has made them. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: NLUs have been hyped a bit too much. There’s nothing you cannot do from a traditional law college as long as you have good guidance. Really, CLAT is not the end of the world. You make it through and it’ll be good. You don’t and there’s very little to feel bad about. Getting into a NLU does not guarantee you huge pay cheques. There’s much more to it, which, can be attained at any other law college. Law School, at the most, provides you with a platform. The rest needs to be done by you for yourself.
GLC is, and has always been, a traditional law school. It could ace a century ago because it was the only one on the block. And Ambedkar and Seervai would have, maybe, gone to the NLUs if they had existed then. But, it’s not out of the scene yet. The strong alumni base that GLC has is invincible. The pressure-less environment that GLC provides gives you abundantly wide scope to do whatever you want to and make the foundations stronger even before you induct yourself in the legal fraternity. The entire point/conclusion of this article: Aiming for NLUs is all good. But if you don’t make it to one, hold your head high, raise your shoulders and head towards GLC.