Above: Dr NR Madhava Menon speaking on the launching of the website www.lawskills.in by Manupatra. Photo: Mrinal Verma
~By Mrinal Verma
Manupatra Information Solutions Pvt. Ltd on June 28 launched a unique online school, LawSkills (www.lawskills.in), a huge multi-lingual resource base for law students and lawyers who intend to develop themselves through online skill oriented certification courses.
The courses, available for a fee, range from a week to 12 weeks. The courses are also available for people not associated with law.
The goal of the project is to make legal knowledge accessible to the masses. The website has been created as an online platform to bridge the gap that exists between legal education and the legal profession. The idea was to create newer opportunities.
Among those present at the launch were Supreme Court’s Justice Madan Lokur, Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Gita Mittal and Dr NR Madhava Menon. Justice Lokur said the platform will “introduce the legal fraternity to new disciplines of law.” Keynote speaker, Mittal said: “LawSkills is a great platform to enable law students, professionals, and teachers to stay updated by providing insight to the latest law and jurisprudence. As an online legal platform for continuing education, it is one of the best complementing systems to the existing educational setup.”
Dr Menon said: “There was a dire need for an online legal education forum for continuing education and training to prepare more practice-ready lawyers. LawSkills will complement the existing legal system with an affordable set of multilingual courses, providing practice to the students just out of college. It has great study material for teachers to consult and provide practice sessions to their students. This will also help decode the legal language for non legal background with audio-visual resources to back it up.”
The launch was followed by a discussion on “The Lawyer and the Legal Education Continuum” with panellists being Dr Menon, Amit Kapur, Kailas Karthikeyan, Ramji Srinivasan and Prof. VC Vivekanandan. In the panel discussion, which was moderated by Raj Liberhan, each panellist took his time highlighting the need of the law education being a continuous process that must not be stopped once the profession is entered. Since justice by law is a basic right of every citizen, each panellist hinted at the need of widespread knowledge of the workings of the world of law. LawSkills aims to be a helping hand in the process, a point which was incorporated by every panelist in their argument.
Prof. VC Vivekanandan, Founder Dean of the School of Law at Bennett University, talking about the culture of “PowerPoint and powernap” that runs the current scenario and said that platforms like these facilitate the smooth running of the system. Dr Menon held the opinion that the aim of the Bar Council should be to prepare moderators, mediators, arbitrators, and not litigators. He held the opinion that law has become a diverse profession, which is why he highlighted a need for change in the law educational system, which could be provided by LawSkills.
Kailas Karthikeyan, Policy Consultant and Attorney at Gestalt Consulting and Research, pointed out how the idea of online learning is already highly praised and used in the US, and Manupatra’s attempt could introduce that wave of revolution to India. Amit Kapur, Senior Partner of J. Sagar Associates, and Ramji Srinivasan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, held a similar point of view, and said that such a platform will help new students and also provide legal professionals the help they need to remain “students” and keep learning.
While presenting the features of the website and talking about the platform, Deepak Kapoor, CEO and Founder of Manupatra, said that the aim of the project was to make sure that “legal aid is available [to people] even if they cannot afford it.” He also said, “Putting today’s best of technology to good use, LawSkills aims to build a constructive ecosystem of industry practitioners and learners to make learning easy, interesting, affordable and accessible to millions of learners breaking the bonds of geography.”
The basic thought behind the project was to create a space which will not only provide additional and equal opportunities but will also provide legal knowledge without the boundaries of any barriers. The course offered on the website has been specially designed and developed by reputed practitioners in the field, with each course that would include a strong theoretical foundation supplemented with practical and professional inputs. They are structured in a modular format, with flexibility and the course material is practical, relevant and available in multiple regional languages. To add to the whole package, the courses are supported by audio and visual tools to facilitate learning.
The starting price of the courses is Rs 1,000.