THE LLM PROBLEM
Careers 360|February 2021
In January, the Bar Council of India issued a notification putting an end to the one-year LLM programme, leaving students and teachers perplexed.
Pritha Roy Choudhury

The Bar Council of India’s first major action in the new year was to abolish the one-year postgraduate law programme, LLM. On January 2, the BCI issued a new set of regulations which stated that the one-year master’s in law (LLM) will be in operation only till the end of the current academic year.

From 2013, both the one-year and two-year LLM degrees were recognized. Students who emerged with these degrees were eligible to appear for the National Eligibility Test (NET) and start on their doctoral studies.

While the National Law Universities (NLUs) and many private universities followed the one-year LLM programme, most of the states and central universities offered the two-year LLM programme. The first is set to be abolished from the forthcoming academic year. However, the BCI notification has been challenged in the Supreme Court by a student.

Jobs and academics

“Earlier the LLM was supposed to be primarily for academic purposes,” explained Ved Kumari, head, faculty of Law, Delhi University. Once, the LLM programme catered mainly to those who wanted to join academia or undertake research.

But increasingly, LLM programmes have attracted students who need it for advancing their careers. “Across the judiciary, if a candidate has an LLM degree, they get three increments and this is the only reason some students aspire for a one-year LLM degree,” said Kumari. “We are finding it increasingly difficult to teach students in LLM because they want the degrees just for job purposes.”

Apoorva, a fourth-year student of BBA-LLB, in Bennett University, Greater Noida, is a good example of this group. “I want to specialize in corporate and compliance law and I want the one-year programme to continue. That way, I can complete the course in a year,” she said.

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