Responding to the Market: The Impact of the Rise of Corporate Law Firms on Elite Legal Education in India


Jonathan Gingerich and Nick Robinson, “Responding to the Market: The Impact of the Rise of Corporate Law Firms on Elite Legal Education in India,” in The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society, edited by David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, and David M. Trubek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), chapter 16.

ABSTRACT: Corporate law firms have emerged in the past twenty years as a small, but economically important and growing part of the Indian legal sector. While these firms have been critical in transforming elite legal education in India, their direct influence has actually been relatively minor. Instead, their far larger impact has been in creating a new corporate employment market for lawyers that students and schools have worked to supply.
In this paper we explore three impacts on elite legal education in India caused by this growing demand for corporate lawyers. First, we argue the prospect of high-paying prestigious corporate work has changed who applies to law school, how these prospective students pick the law schools they attend, and how much they are willing to pay for their education. Second, dividing elite law schools in India into three categories (“national law schools,” “legacy schools,” and “private law schools”) we find that these institutions have each changed the educational experience they offer as they have adapted to an increasingly corporate-oriented legal environment. Third, we claim that inside the institutional context of elite law schools, students have emphasized and shaped parts of their legal education they believe will be appealing to corporate firms. We claim that together these three impacts of the rise of law firms in India have fundamentally altered the educational experience at elite law schools in the country. [SSRN] [published version]