Gujarat National Law University Situated in a Place That Has Entrepreneurship in Its Soil

Anuroop Omkar, Honorary Director of the Bridge Policy Think Tank, fondly reflects on his journey at GNLU and shares how college awakened the entrepreneur in him and led him to his law firm and a policy think tank.

What is your personal experience at the university? When did you graduate and what are the few notable moments that are etched in your college memories?

I graduated exactly a decade ago. The experience was mixed. When I passed out, we had the new campus (existing campus). I still enjoy seeing photos of the campus on GNLU’s photo club social media.

Our current campus is located in the “Knowledge Corridor” planned by Shri Modi as Prime Minister of Gujarat. It was a project close to his heart and he often came to the campus for state occasions. People went to the event just to hear him speak. One of the notable moments was when we witnessed the presence of the then Chief Minister and now Prime Minister along with the then Chief Justice of India Hon’ble Justice, Mr. KG Balakrishnan, at our convocation.

Subjects and professors that you like the most.

My favorites were (in no particular order):

  1. dr Ravindra Kumar Singh for Contracts I, II and seminar work;

  2. dr Girish R. for Administrative Law;

  3. dr Debashri Sarkar for family law;

  4. dr Fakkiresh S. Sakkarnaikar for interpreting the statutes; and

  5. dr William Nunes for the introduction to political science.

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What would you say is the college’s USP?

GNLU’s USP is that it is located in the state of Gujarat. Entrepreneurship is in the ground. Officials are extremely streamlined and hardworking. Any local person you speak to generally has a side hustle. They’re all cool about the hard work that it takes to have more than one job or be an entrepreneur. I particularly remember this juice vendor who came up with simple tools to peel a boiled corn on the cob and make a milkshake without electricity. They were innovative, open-minded and spiritually attuned at the same time. Spending my formative five years in Gujarat changed my entire perspective on life and the legal profession. I draw a lot from my lessons and experiences there while now running my law practice and political think tank.

The hostel facilities and food were good. Sport was strongly encouraged. I still miss the GNLU cultural festival Pentagram.

Having spent a good few years in this profession, what areas do you think our colleges need to focus on in order to cultivate the legal minds the country needs?

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We’re looking at a generation of professionals trying to compare the legal profession to other occupations. There’s a difference. This is a profession and becomes a way of life. It is not an employment. It’s rewarding, but there’s no instant gratification. I don’t know how a college can inculcate these qualities and set the expectations of a new applicant, but this is extremely important so that law students are not disillusioned when they begin practicing.

In addition, colleges should work towards developing a triple helix education method. There is a need for greater collaboration between academia, industry and government to produce lawyers and legal policymakers who have adequate work experience while studying to improve the quality of legal services in India. The addition of extra-credit courses and summer schools to its repertoire is also said to be a worthy addition for 360-degree focus and outreach.

While hard work can be the key to anything, training at a world-class institute sometimes remains a distant dream for many reasons. So what can students do to ensure their future isn’t clouded by a lack of resources?

The students should learn to appreciate that the legal profession is a 24×7 job on the desk and in the mind. You can be a successful lawyer if you love what you do, even if you don’t come from a world-class institute or second/third generation legal family. Students should focus more on giving themselves hope and not giving up, instead of getting bogged down in thoughts of top and not top institutes.

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Is it possible to have a career in Jura with knowledge of the regional language and laws?

At present it may not be possible to pursue a good legal career based on regional laws as the different states in India have not developed the same in terms of existence. The trial practice must not become a dying art. To do this, we need bright minds focused on exam practice, which requires strong knowledge of regional languages.

However, looking at the law from different angles and not just as a profession, there is room for practice not only in the highest courts but also in the smallest taluka of a state. We need politicians who can work on the ground to protect the rights of the vulnerable. We need advocacy professionals to spread awareness of legal rights among the common man.

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