Published: 28th October 2020
Here's how this Mumbai-based e-learning platform is making law students job-ready
NotJustLex went live with its first certificate course in April 2020. We find out more about what the e-learning platform offers
There’s a huge gap in what students learn in law colleges and what recruiters at law firms expect as the conventional education system doesn't always look into the practical applicability of theoretical knowledge. This is the gap that NotJustLex (NJL), a Mumbai-based EdTech start-up is trying to bridge. Founded by Abhishek Sinha in late 2019, NJL is a platform or what he calls a 'finishing school' for law students and professionals to learn and improve their skill set with the primary focus being on participatory learning.
NotJustLex went live with its first certificate course in April 2020. Some of the courses they are offering online include private equity investments, commercial contracts, sports law, and certification course on finance for legal professionals. "Everyone has the theoretical knowledge but no one has been a part of the workings in the real world. Right after the degree course, if students have some sort of a requirement to do an internship, mandatory under the rules of the course, it helps them to understand the practicality of the subject or course they studied. It's a process of continued learning even after you have graduated like doctors have to do, even after they have graduated they do need to a specified amount of training. But in law, we don't have any continued or mandatory legal training in India — courses are more focused on theory and less practical. Look at any curriculum in law schools across the country, it's harder on theory and less on the practical side. No one tells you that once you pass out for eg- when investments are coming into the company how to deal with that, you are unaware of the commercial aspects. This is the gap we are trying to bridge, that's why we call it a finishing school more for the non-contentious side of Law. With our courses and platform learners are completely ready with market trends, practices and are fully aware," he explains.
All sessions are conducted by industry experts. The courses typically span over four to eight weeks, with one-hour sessions every week. "There are several teaching methods used in the past years to explain legal constructs. But in today's time those teaching methods are not enough, so participatory learning is a kind of method of imparting education — very new in the legal sector. It's not just a lecture series where a teacher will come explain the market trends but more of an interactive experience. That's why we call our teaching moderated. The outcome of the moderator and the participants interacting will be discussing, clarifying, clearing confusions. The focus is more on logical reasoning merely through discussion. Law is nothing but common sense. Law is where you discuss the context and understand the nuances and thus learning has to be interactive and also fun for students to comprehend easily," adds Abhishek.
NotJustLex keeps limited students per batch for a better scope of interaction — each session includes only 15 participants. The students who attend these courses are assessed based on their participation and completion of online assignments and tests provided by the moderators. The tests are designed in a way to determine a students' analytical ability rather than just their theoretical knowledge. The students are also provided with a single one-on-one feedback session done over a video call, at the end of their course.
During the pandemic, the start-up also provided some of their basic courses free of cost to learners. Abhishek adds that the ones who opted for the free courses wouldn't receive a certification at the end of it. As for their future plans, Abhishek tells us that NotJustLex is in talks with several law firms and companies, to partner with them for running credit courses for educational institutes and thus emphasise the importance of participatory learning in mainstream education.