LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law recently added four prominent Indian law schools to its growing list of international partners. The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in Hyderabad, the Government Law College in Mumbai, the Jindal Global Law School near New Delhi and the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi signed memoranda of understanding with KU Law, pledging to collaborate on research projects, scholarship opportunities and faculty and student exchanges.
Raj Bhala, associate dean for international and comparative law and Rice Distinguished Professor, signed the agreements on behalf of KU Law Dean Stephen Mazza during Bhala’s February-March lecture tour of India. Professors Balakista Reddy, Kishu Daswani, Sridhar Patnaik and Manoj Kumar Sinha at the four Indian law schools, respectively, were instrumental in establishing the partnerships.
“Simply put, KU Law is the first American law school with such an ambitious opening to India,” Bhala said, noting the institutions’ locations in India’s technology hub (Hyderabad), financial and Bollywood center (Bombay), and political capital (Delhi). “It would be like a non-American law school having arrangements with Stanford, NYU or Columbia, and Georgetown.”
The non-binding MOUs do not include financial obligations or administrative requirements, but they encourage interaction, program development and cross-marketing of degree programs, Bhala said. They also open up international career opportunities for graduates.
The Indian schools join KU Law’s existing partner universities in Australia, China, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey.
“KU is proud to have affiliations with law schools around the world,” Dean Stephen Mazza said. “I’m pleased that we now have affiliations with some of the finest law schools in India.”
The agreements bring new academic and clinical opportunities for KU Law faculty and students. For students, KU is developing an internship program with the Director General of Foreign Trade in Mumbai and the Mumbai Export Promotion Councils. The partnerships also build KU’s web of international legal contacts, a valuable networking tool for students and alumni.
“We look forward to welcoming law students from these institutions,” Mazza said. “They will bring a welcome perspective to the classroom. We hope these agreements will open up opportunities for KU students to practice in India.”
Already, faculty and students are engaging with India. Professor Jean Phillips is the first non-Indian appointed to the all-India Advisory Council of the Institute of Clinical Legal Education and Research. She will work with top-ranking Indian judges, lawyers and academics to shape clinical legal education in India. Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner is collaborating with prospective Muslim female lawyers and activists to provide contributions for an upcoming journal symposium. Mazza serves on the advisory board of the first tax law LL.M. program in Asia, established by partner Jindal Global Law School. Two second-year law students, Madeline Heeren and Aqmar Rahman, will intern this summer in New Delhi at one of India’s largest law firms.
In addition to brokering the agreements, Bhala gave 18 lectures during his tour. Topics ranged from international trade law to women’s issues in Islamic Law. Bhala also met with WTO negotiators from Bhutan, toured the High Courts of Mumbai and Delhi, visited a factory manufacturing pulleys and engaged in international trade and saw the museums and memorials of Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Bhala’s visit comes just before Indian elections, during which all 543 seats in the Indian Parliament and the office of Prime Minister are up for grabs. An unprecedented 814 million people are expected to vote.
“India is the world’s largest free-market democracy and soon to be the world’s most populous nation,” Bhala said, noting its strategic importance to KU’s International and Comparative Law Program. “The Indian market is opening up. The barriers to entry for Jayhawk lawyers are coming down. Our partnerships ensure that KU Law is a player in global legal markets.”