With the country being obsessed with IITs as the premier institutions for engineering and IIMs for business management degrees, not many however know that the prestigious National Law Universities are the IITs of the law domain. They are perhaps the most sought after law colleges in India and offer an excellent source of opportunities for those interested. There are 20 NLUs distributed all across the country and can be found in almost all the major states. NLUs are affiliated to the Bar Council of India and are also recognized by the University Grants Commission.
One of the interesting facets when it comes to National Law Universities is that they are single discipline universities that offer postgraduate and undergraduate programs in only one area of expertise. The first National Law University was established in 1986 and was then named as the National Law School of India University. Located in Bangalore, it was established under the National Law School of India Act, 1986. Following this, many other states decided to establish national law schools and passed various legislations to establish new ones. All the National Law Schools henceforth set up were from the original one in terms of modalities however the basic structure and vision for their students remain the same. In 2017 the latest addition to this family of law schools was established taking the count up to 20.
A unique thing about these universities is that even though they have been established by the State Government they have been given the national tag which makes them commonly recognized as national institutes rather than state-level ones. Every NLU is recognized as a state university by the UGC. Another facet of these institutes is that since they are established by the grants passed by the different government legislation so they often rely on grants from their respective state governments and the grant given to each often varies a quite in nature. The fees often charged by these law schools are quite high and the institutions often need to fund their expenses. Perhaps this could be the distinguishing point between these law universities and other premier ones like IITs which are solely funded by the Central Government. Another aspect affecting the fee structure of these law schools is that they fall under the Chief Justice of High Courts of the state they are located in. The Chief Justice acts as the chancellor of the universities as well.
Admission to these prestigious law schools can be made by appearing for the Common Law Admission Test. However all NLUs do not accept CLAT scores, the first one being NLU Delhi that accepts AILET ranks for the seats provided within the law programs. The other one is the Himachal Pradesh National Law University and has an admission program of its own. Some of the NLUs currently present are NLU Bangalore, NALSAR Hyderabad, NLU Bhopal, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, NLU Jodhpur, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala and NLU Cuttack to name a few.