NLS Alumni Association: A New Hope
The alumni is the pride of any institution. Our college has been around for almost 30 years and it’s only recently that a formal NLS Alumni Association has been set up. Needless to say, we at Quirk are very excited and hopeful about the endless possiblities that lie ahead.
Quirk: Could you tell us a bit about yourself ?
NLS Alumni Assiciation: The initial and interim Governing Board of the NLSIU Alumni Association hail from the first five batches of NLSIU and board members are: Dayan Krishnan (Class of 1993), Senior Advocate based at Delhi, Rahul Matthan (Class of 1994), co-founder & Partner of Trilegal based at Bangalore, Umakanth Varottil (Class of 1995), Professor at National University of Singapore, Pramod Rao (Class of 1996), General Counsel of Citibank India based in Mumbai, and Siddharth Raja (Class of 1997), co-founder of Samvad Partners, based at Bangalore.
Why did you decide to start the Alumni Association?
The decision to either restart the old Alumni Association or start afresh was taken at the NLSIU Silver Jubilee event and among the decisions taken was to constitute an Interim Committee to examine a few items, and place them for the consideration of the wider alumni body. Given the wide prevalence of social media –LinkedIn and FaceBook – the NLSIU Alumni were brought together on those social media platforms for ease of communication and interaction, and indeed to consider, comment and provide feedback on the work of the Interim Committee. The email database as available from the alumni directory created for the NLSIU Silver jubilee event was also harnessed.
The establishment of the NLSIU Alumni Association was made possible by interested alums and most crucially, the members of the Interim Committee constituted for the same. The Committee members were: T. Srinivas Murthy (Class of 1995), Pramod Rao (Class of 1996), Nithya Nandan (Class of 1998), Smitha Murthy (Class of 1999) and Kunal Ambasta (Class of 2010).
Our college has seen 23 batches graduate but it’s only recently that this AA has taken form. Why now?
This is actually our second attempt at having an Alumni Association – there had been an Alumni Association set up in late 90s, which turned moribund for a variety of reasons. The key difference one could say between then and now is the presence of social media platforms that provide ease of connectivity, link people together and have the ability to nurture the bonds among alumni. The new Alumni Association hopes to build itself with these platforms as key building blocks.
We realise that the future of AA will be decided by the elect- ed trustees, but where do you imagine it to be headed in the next few years?
Bearing in mind that the constitutional document of the Alumni Association envisages trustees / governing board members elected by ordinary members who would steer the Alumni Association and hence be responsible for the direction and deliverables, one can speak with broad generalities: Being relevant to the community, alums, to the students currently at NLS and nally to NLSIU – our alma mater – will be key to the future of the Alumni Association.
The constitutional document of the Alumni Association envisages a variety of activities that can be undertaken and also envisages Regional or City Chapters (and indeed on social media, we have alums in various cities within India and in various parts of the world already electronically linked).
The activities that further the connectedness and contribution to, by and among alums, NLS students and NLSIU will hence dene the future of the Alumni Association.
What drove you to initiate this process? Why do you care so much about this initiative?
There’s a shared journey that every Law Schoolite has undertaken – at a residential / hostel based 5 year education (with very many honourable day scholars) – one tends to know or atleast have an opportunity to know about 9 batches, and this builds deep bonds and connectedness.
The friendships (or rivalries) built then and thereafter professionally, as time goes by, or when one learns of the accomplishments of the folks who have had this common/shared journey, are indeed a source of pride and joy.
Finally, then, is the belongingness or nostalgia, reconnecting with folks one knew who may have got dispersed around the world, and nally, a spirit of contributing back – whether to community, alums, students or the institution. These are few of the drivers many of us have in wanting to see the formal Alumni Association come through and be around.
How has the response from alums been so far? (As per expectations, below expectations, above expectations). How do you think, it will evolve?
We are quite heartened by the response but it would also be right to say that it can be much, much more. e evolution lies in the sense of belongingness, activities that are relevant (to the community / alums / students / NLS) being undertaken and seen through. The challenge lies of course in proving that it’s for real and that it’s relevant.
We are very excited about the inaugural alumni day. What are your expectations from the event?
We are also very, very excited! The opportunity to meet faculty, staff and students and to hear back from all of you (and perhaps share some of our own experiences/journeys) and indeed relive some of our student life (whether with quizzes or football or basketball or a cultural evening) are all things being looked forward to. Gathering what’s relevant for the Alumni Association vis-à-vis the institution, faculty, staff and students will also be enabled by this maiden initiative.
What can we expect in the near term from the alumni association?
The Alumni Association’s partnership with the SBA (and various committees such as SIPLA and the ECell) has already yielded a revamped Alumni page, an Internship Policy, Single Credit courses policy, Collaboration of Alums and Students for Entrepreneurship Studies / Support project, and a workgroup focused on establishing a framework for alum support of student activities and of course the inaugural Alumni Day. These and many more relevant collaborations can be expected going forward as well. Among alumni themselves, a set of social gatherings and interactions have happened in Bangalore, Chennai, NCR, Mumbai in the last couple of years.
What role do you think the college administration should play going ahead in the Alumni Association?
This would be more relevant for the college administration to determine. However, from the alumni perspective, having an Alumni oce that coordinates the enrollment and alumni activities would be welcome though either the SBA or the Alumni Association itself can foster the same.
Taken from NLS’ perspective, an enhanced interaction of the alumni and the administration and faculty can yield many benefits and also serve to aid the grading of the university by UGC which has made Alumni interactions a component of university evaluation.
How has Law School changed since you last saw it?
Certainly – the campus & the academic block has only grown and expanded, in a very functional and yet aesthetically pleasing manner.
At the time of your graduation, how did you envision NLS to be in the future years? Did it turn like how you imagined it to be?
As an internationally recognized & socially relevant center of excellence for legal education – providing legally qualified professionals for all aspects of society, and in many respects it is indeed that.
What is your view on ‘falling standards of NLS’?
The question cannot be fairly answered at this stage especially by alumni hailing from oh so far back! The fact is that we don’t know whether standards have risen or fallen, or indeed whether the curriculum or method of instruction are delivering the intended education. Are we happy to collaborate for a review & bring our professional experiences to bear – that answer is an unqualied yes!