Top 5 National Law Universities (NLUs): NIRF Ranking

Welcome to our educational blog, where we explore the prestigious world of legal education in India. Today, we’re excited to present “A Comprehensive Guide to Top 5 National Law Universities in India.” Law education in India has undergone significant transformation, and at the forefront of this change are the NLUs in India. These institutions have set high standards, earning them the title of the best universities for law in India.

In this blog, we will explore the best university of law in India. From the pioneering institutions to the modern centers of excellence, our focus will be on the top NLUs in India. Whether you are a prospective law student, an academic, or simply a law enthusiast, this blog will provide valuable insights into the best NLU in India and the unique offerings of each university. Join us as we navigate through the list of NLUs in India, spotlighting the elite institutions that are shaping the future of legal education in the country.

Historical Context and The Establishment of NLUs in India

The journey of National Law Universities (NLUs) in India began with a vision to transform legal education in the country. Prior to the establishment of NLUs, law education in India was traditionally offered in universities as a three-year program following an undergraduate degree. The need for comprehensive and focused legal education led to the conceptualization of specialized universities dedicated solely to legal studies – the National Law Universities in India.

After the enactment of Advocates’ Act, 1961 the Bar Council of India (BCI) came into existence. Section 7(1)(h) of the said Act gave it power to promote legal education and lay down standards for such education in consultation with universities.

The first NLU was established in Bangalore in 1986, marking a significant milestone in legal education. Known as the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), it became a model for subsequent law universities in India. Emphasizing a five-year integrated law program, NLSIU set a new standard in legal education, combining undergraduate and legal studies.

The success of NLSIU paved the way for more such institutions, leading to the formation of a distinguished list of NLUs across India. Each NLU in India strives to offer the best in legal education, focusing on innovative teaching methods, comprehensive curriculums, and practical exposure to law.

Today, there are several NLUs spread across the country, each adding to the rich tapestry of legal education in India. These universities are consistently ranked among the best universities for law in India. Aspiring lawyers often look to the best NLU in India to start their legal careers, with institutions like NALSAR in Hyderabad, WBNUJS in Kolkata, and NLUD in Delhi being some of the top NLUs in India.

For students aspiring to a career in law, understanding the historical context and establishment of NLUs in India is crucial. These institutions are not just centers of learning but also the cradle of future legal professionals who will uphold the law and justice system in the country.

Top 5 NLUs According to NIRF Ranking 2023

Below are the top 5 National Law Universities in India according to NIRF ranking:

1. National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, Karnataka

Foundation And HistoryEstablished – 1986, making it first National Law University in India
Aim –  to lead changes in legal education and help improve India’s legal system through research and new policies
1988 – introduced a 5-year combined law degree for undergraduates, being one of the first in India to do so
The Chief Justice of India – the Chancellor of the University
The Chairman of the Bar Council of India – head of the General CouncilNIRF 2023 Rank – 1st
Academic Programs5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) 
3-Year LL.B. (Hons.)
LL.M. (One Year)
Master’s Programme in Public Policy
Ph.D (Law)
Ph.D (Interdisciplinary)
Online and Hybrid Programmes
Student Exchange Programme
Specialized CourseOnline and Hybrid Programmes
Collaborations With Other InstitutionsNational Law University, New Delhi, Delhi
Thakur Foundation National Commission for Women
Omidyar Network India
Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR)
International Collaborations And Exchange ProgramsInternational Collaboration with:
(i) Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
(ii) Hans Seidel Stiftung, Germany
(iii) University of Oxford
(iv) University of York 

International Exchange Program with:
(i) Germany
(ii) France
(iii) Belgium
(iv) Mexico
(v) Washington D.C
(vi) Australia
(vii) U.K and many other countries
Faculty And AlumniCore faculty have degrees from top universities in India and other countries and are scholars who teach and research in different areas of law, social sciences, and humanities.

Alumni community includes over 9,000 active and successful graduates who are making a big impact in the world
Unique Campus Features And InfrastructureLarge 23-acre campus

A lively place with many student groups and activities. Students get to engage in moot court and debates, competing both in India and abroad. The campus has a modern library, multiple academic centres, student housing, and all the necessary facilities
Research Centers And Notable AchievementsThe university consists of 13 research centres. Some of these are: 

(i) Advanced Centre for Research, Development and Training in Cyber Laws and Forensics [ACRDTCLF]
(ii) The Centre for Chilf and the Law (CCL)
(iii) The Centre for Environmental Law Education, Research and Advocacy (CEERA)
(iv) The Centre for Health Law and Ethics
(v) The Centre for Women and the Law 
(vi) The Writing Centre
These research centres are working in collaboration with international and regional organisations as well as national governmental agencies.
Contributions To Legal Research And PublicationsNLSIU has made a commendable contribution to legal research and has made notable publications. Some of these are:
(i) Gender, Human Rights and Law: 2020
(ii) A Primer on Legal Practice: A Guide Book for Beginners in Trial Advocacy (2017)
(iii) Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights Project
(iv) Digital Public Records
Legal Clinics And Practical LearningLegal Services Clinic – group run by students offering legal help and support to socially and economically backward section of society.
Moot Court Competitions And Achievements Moot Court Society organises international level moot court competition along with South Asia’s largest Arbitration Moot. The University Moot Team represents the NLSIU at various national and international moots.
NLSIU is the only Indian team to win the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Competition, toughest and most prestigious moot court competition in the world
Student Life And Cultural EventsThe Student Bar Association (SBA) helps organise several activities, conferences and festivals through its sub-committees. 
The Sports Committee organises SPIRITUS, the University’s annual sports fest. 
The Cultural Committee organises a number of intra-college events like the Art Mela, Playfest, MadAdz, Movie Spoofs, Western Music and Dance, Eastern Music and Dance along with inter-collegiate events like LeGala and ADMIT ONE – the only international level theatre festival.
Internship Opportunities And PlacementsEvery year, all B.A., LL.B. and LLB (Hons) students (five years) are expected to complete a 25-day internship in February-MarchInternships are also mandatory for LL.M. and MPP students in February and March.

2. National Law University, New Delhi, Delhi

Foundation And HistoryEstablished – 2008
Aim – to generate lawyers who are professionally proficient, socially relevant and equipped to meet the numerous difficulties of an everevolving society
Chancellor – Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court
NIRF 2023 – 2nd
Academic ProgramsFive Year Integrated B.A.LL.B. (Hons.)
One year- LL.M.
Ph.D. 
LL.M. (Pro)
Online Programme
Specialized CourseSpecialized LL.M. Professional Degree
Post Graduate Diploma In Urban Environmental Management And Law (PGDUEML) Post Graduate Diploma In Tourism And Environmental Laws (PGDTEL)
Post Graduate Diploma In Tourism And Environmental Laws (PGDTEL)
Online Diploma In Law And Practice Of Arbitration
Online Diploma On Insolvency And Bankruptcy: Law & PracticeThree Months
Online Certificate Course On Business And Commercial Laws
Collaborations With Other InstitutionsSome of the collaborations with other institutes of India are: 

1. The West Bengal National University of Juridicial Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal
2. National Law School of India University, Bangalore
3. Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh
4. Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur
5. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
6. National Law University, Shimla
International Collaborations And Exchange ProgramsThe University has signed MOUs with various international organisations and universities. Some of these are:
1. Amnesty International
2. UNHCR
3. China University of Political Science and Law
4. ASEAN Legal Alliance
5. Harvard Law School
6. Queen’s University
Faculty And AlumniNLU-D has a team of 45 highly qualified faculty.
The community of alumni at NLU Delhi is about 1000 strong, and the Department’s goal is to bring everyone together so that everyone can benefit and gain from this association.
Unique Campus Features And InfrastructureThe campus comprises academic and residential facilities such as: library, digital classroom, computer centre, auditorium, seminar rooms, e-moot court hall, hall of residence, medical centre, bank and cafeteria
Research Centers And Notable AchievementsThere are a total of 24 research centres for various fields – IPR, Taxation, Comparative,Consumer and Cyber law and the like.
Including academic journals, books, research reports, conference proceedings, and government reports tabled with research inputs, the university has produced 30 publications
Contributions To Legal Research And PublicationsSome of the contributions are: 

1. Perspective of Justice: Restorative Justice and Child Sexual Abuse in India
2. Hand Book For Research Project Writing
3. Digital Library – Legal Education and Research
4. Corporal Punishment in india
Legal Clinics And Practical LearningThe Legal Services Committee – provides legal aid raises awareness about rights, facilitates access to courts along with ensuring access to government institutions.
The Legal Aid Clinic operates from its own office and receives weekly visits from a legal aid lawyer from the South-West District Legal Services Authority to address various issues presented to the Clinic.
The Committee, in partnership with i-Probono, organised a first-of-its-kind event called ‘Pro Bono Week’ in 2017. The event introduced law students to the practice, scope, and challenges of pro bono legal work.
Moot Court Competitions and AchievementsThe students of NLU-Delhi participate in various national and internationally recognised moot court competitions and have received awards in various categories.
Student Life And Cultural EventsThe university has its own teams in volleyball, table tennis, football, basketball, and tennis. They also participate at the inter-university level.
The NLU – Delhi conducts its annual cultural and literary fest, Kairos every year.
Internship Opportunities And PlacementsInternships are available with a variety of judges, senior advocates, legal firms, international organisations, NGOs, public sector organisations, corporations, commissions, ministries, and state departments. 

3. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Telangana

Foundation And HistoryEstablished – 1998
NALSAR is committed to the creation of an ethical legal culture, which protects and promotes the rule of law.
NIRF 2023 Rank – 3rd
Academic Programs5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
One year LL.M. 
Ph.D. 
2 Year M.B.A. 
5-year BBA MBA (IPM)
2-Year M.A. 
Specialised CourseOne-Year Advanced Diploma Programmes are offered in several areas, such as 
1. Patent Law 
2. Media Laws
3. Cyber Laws
4. International Humanitarian Law
5. Animal Protection Laws
6. Maritime Laws
7. Cyber Security & Data Protection Laws
Collaborations With Other InstitutionsThe university works in collaboration with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad; the Centre for Children, Law, and Ethics, Cumberland Law School, Samford University; Centre for Disability Law and Policy, University of Ireland, Galway; and LANDESA, India.
International Collaborations And Exchange ProgramsSigned MOUs with more than 30 foreign Universities of the USA, Canada, Singapore, UK, Australia Germany, Switzerland, Israel, The Netherlands, Brunei and Spain  for the exchange of faculty members and students as well as the pursuit of collaborative research projects
Faculty And AlumniThe NALSAR has a team of highly competent and dedicated faculty, comprising of a good mix of experienced scholars and young talent who are drawn from prestigious national and international universities.
The university also has an ‘open-door’ policy for its alumni to supplement the teaching efforts of its faculty.
Unique Campus Features And InfrastructureSpread over 50 acres and located 26 kms away from the city of Hyderabad. 
Students are provided with double occupancy rooms in the Halls of Residence with a common Dining Hall facility, functional Gym, Indoor Games, Badminton courts, and Television. 
The University also has a Health Centre with Medical Officers, Dentist and 3 Resident Nurses
Research Centers And PublicationsThe university has a total of 21 research centres for IPR, Disability Studies, Tribal and Land Rights, Tax and Consumer Laws, Commercial Laws & Dispute Resolution and Centre for Animal Rights.
University research centres commonly publish studies and publications based on first-hand empirical work as well as doctrinal examination of law, administrative materials, and judicial decisions
Legal Clinics And Practical LearningLegal Aid Cell – founded in 2009 with the goal of spreading legal knowledge, connecting clients to lawyers, and facilitating access to government schemes.
Moot Court Competitions And Extracurricular ActivitiesNALSAR organises several premier moot court competitions in the country and witnesses participation of the brightest brains in law schools around the country. 
The university organises NALSAR-Justice B.R. Sawhny Memorial Moot Court Competition in collaboration with the Justice Bodh Raj Sawhny Memorial Trust.
Achievements In Moot Court CompetitionsNLU Antitrust Law Moot Court Competition 2017 – Finalist
58th Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition –  
National Rounds: Semi Finalist, Third Best Memorial and Second Best Speaker 
International Rounds: Top 32 Teams and Seventh Best Memorial
Student Life And Cultural EventsNALSAR has something to offer to every student from quizzes to debates, from sports tournaments to cooking competitions, drama club, music appreciation club. 

4. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal

Foundation And HistoryEstablished – 1999
Affiliated from the Bar Council of India. 
The Chief Justice of India – the Chancellor of the University and Chairman of the General Council. 
2015 – Received the prestigious SILF-MILAT INSTITUTIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARD for its overall excellence in the field of Legal Studies
NIRF 2023 Rank – 4
Academic Programs5 Year B.A./B.Sc. LL.B (Hons.)
1 year LL.M
M.Phil
Ph.D 
LL.D 
Specialized CourseSpecialized streams in LL.M on:
Corporate and Commercial Law
International Law
Criminal and Security Laws 
Law & Technology 
P.G In Forensic Sciences
Collaborations With Other InstitutionsMOU with national institutions:

1. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University Of Technology (Makaut, W.B.)
2. National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training & Research (NITTTR), Kolkata
3. Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata
4. The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, New Delhi;
5. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, ASSOCHAM
6. North Bengal University
International Collaborations And Exchange ProgramsMoU with international Universities:
1. King’s College London
2. The University Of Waikato, New Zealand; University of Illinois; 
3. Comillas Pontifical University, 
4. National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD), Bangladesh
Faculty And AlumniFaculty – A combination of young and experienced faculty from Rhodes, Fulbright, Commonwealth and Chevening scholars, and alumni from prestigious Oxford University, Harvard Law School, Columbia University, University of Michigan, University of Vanderbilt, and the London School of Economics

Alumni includes – Amartya Sen, Late Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Prof. Upendra Baxi, Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah, Mr. K.K. Venugopal, Mr. Vinod Rai (CAG), Justice Michael Kirby, Ms. Medha Patkar, Shri Soli J Sorabjee, Hon‘ble Justice Sonam Tobgye, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit
Unique Campus Features And InfrastructureThe campus has all modern amenities, including air-conditioned classrooms of various sizes, seminar halls, conference rooms, a moot court hall, and an air-conditioned auditorium (with a seating capacity of roughly 600). 
Research Centers And Notable Achievements11 research centres have been established  in the fields of – governance and public policy; legal history; land, mining and real estate laws; competition laws; international relations; aviation and space laws; criminology and victimology 
Contributions To Legal Research And PublicationsNUJS Law Review is published quarterly and has been ranked as the number one academic law journal of India by the Washington and Lee University School of Law ranking of law journals.

Other Law journals include the Journal of Indian Law and Society, Asian Journal of Air and Space Law, Asian Journal of Legal Education, International Journal of Law and Policy Review and the International Journal of Legal Studies & Research.
Legal Clinics And Practical LearningThe university has its own Legal Aid Society which receives a significant number of legal queries throughout the year
Other practical learnings-
1. Interactive talks/workshops
2. Annual national conference
3. Camps and street play
Moot Court Competitions And AchievementsThe NUJS organises:
1. Herbert Smith National Corporate Law Moot Court Competition.
2. Justice Dr. BP Saraf National Tax Moot Court Competition 

Achievements
1. The first Indian and only the second Asian team to win the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Vienna
2. Winners of ELSA Moot Court Competition, Dominican Republic
3. Willem C. Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Hong Kong
4. Stetson International Environment Moot Court Competition, Florida
5. Oxford Price Media Moot Court Competition
Student Life And Cultural EventsStudent societies of NUJS organize five major annual events-

1. The literary-cum-cultural extravaganza- Outlawed
2. The national sports festival- Invicta
3. The NUJS Parliamentary Debate.
Student societies conduct year-round competitions in music, dance, painting, quizzing, debating, creative writing and sports.
The western and eastern music bands liven up life at NUJS.
Internship Opportunities And PlacementsCampus Recruitment Committee (‘CRC’) – manages internship and recruitment possibilities for the NUJS graduating batch.
CRC assures that every student who sits for placement receives at least one job offer.

5. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

Foundation And HistoryEstablished – 2003
NIRF 2023 Rank – 7th 
Outlook Ranking 2023 – 4th top law Institutes  
Week Survey, 2023 – 4th in ‘Best Law College’ Category 
Academic ProgramsB.A LL.B.(Hons.)
B.Com LL.B.(Hons.)
B.Sc. LL.B. (Hons.)
B.B.A LL.B.(Hons)
B.S.W LL.B.(Hons)
LL.M.
Ph.D
Specialized CoursePG Diploma in – Biotechnology, Law and Policy; IPR; Media Law, Policy and Ethics and Ancient Indian Legal Theories and Philosophy
Collaborations With Other InstitutionsSports Law India, New Delhi
Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
M/S Vidhi Center for Legal Policy
The Headquarters of the Indian Navy, New Delhi
International Collaborations And Exchange ProgramsUniversity of Cologne, Germany
University of Mauritius, Mauritius
World Trade Institute, Bern, Switzerland
University of Illinois, USA
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Faculty And AlumniFaculty – comes from a diverse range of specialization, national and international exposure

Alumni – The GNLU has enormous alumni base  of 1,400+ exceptional people
Unique Campus Features And InfrastructureThe university campus has – Legal History Muesum,  state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure and health care facilities
Research Centers And Notable AchievementsAim of the university – To become a Research Based Teaching University
19 Research centers have been established in the field of – Foreign policy and security studies, sports and entertainment law, IPR, Law and society, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Air and space law and so on

Achievements
Centre for IPR was awarded 2nd Rank under ‘Best University Award’ for 4th Edition of Intellectual Property Talent Search Examination (IPTSE), 2022. 
Centre for IPR bagged a spot in the E-book “India’s Top IP Stakeholder” published by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a prestigious and top-most IP education provider in the country.
Contributions To Legal Research And PublicationsThe GNLU has published notable books. Some of them are:

1. Yearbook on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Law : principles, cases and analysis, Vol. 1 (Jan 2017–Dec 2018), published by LexisNexis
2. Cities of India: A Legal History, published by Eastern Book Company
3. International Litigation by and against India, published by Eastern Book Company
4. Sustainable Development India and Beyond, published by Bharti Publications, New Delhi
Legal Clinics And Practical Learning2007 – GNLU Legal Services Committee (LSC) set upthe committee adopted Chharanagar, a village near Ahmedabad
2013 – Right to Education resource center was setup in collaboration with IIM-Ahmedabad
2014 – The committee adopted four villages of Gandhinagar District, viz. Raysan, Kudasan, Koba and Shahpur and established free Legal Aid Clinics
2022 – LSC initiated various programs under the name – Know Your Rights Drive, Adult Literacy Program, Coummnity Counseling Drives, Mensuration Drive And Discourse Series (Open House) 
Moot Court Competitions The Moot Court Committee is tasked with coordinating and executing such activities through its stringent qualifying system, which includes two rounds of mooting.The GNLU moot team participates in various national and international level moot court competitions
Student Life And Cultural EventsThe Student Activities Committee (SAC) organises extra-curricular activities in the University in Music and Dance to literary activities Elocutions, Quizzing and Parliamentary Debating, publishes online magazine.
Specific student involvement in films, books, etc is also nurtured by the SAC.
The SAC organizes five day annual inter-university literary and cultural fest -‘Pentagram’
Internship Opportunities And PlacementsInternship:The students are provided with internship opportunities twice in an academic year, each during the months of November-December and May-June in:
1. NGOs
2. Trial Court/ Tribunals/ other lower courts etc
3. High Court/Supreme Court/Law Firms/Corporate House

Placement:
Committee on Recruitment Affairs (CRA) – assists in the recruiting process and facilitates students and recruiters year round, on a rolling basis for both on-campus and off-campus recruitment.

Top 10 NLUs in India – NIRF Ranking 2023

S.No.Name of NLUCityStateNIRF 2023 Rank
1National Law School of India UniversityBangloreKarnataka1
2National Law UniversityNew Delhi Delhi2
3Nalsar University of LawHyderabadTelengana3
4The West Bengal National University of Juridicial SciencesKolkattaWest Bengal4
5Gujarat National Law UniversityGandhinagarGujarat7
6National Law Institute UniversityBhopalMadhya Pradesh18
7The Rajiv Gandhi National University of LawPatialaPunjab20
8Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law UniversityLucknowUttar Pradesh21
9National University of Study & Research in LawRanchiJharkhand24
10National Law University and Judicial AcademyGuwahatiAssam28

Summing Up

As we wrap up our journey through the top NLUs in India, we hope this blog has been informative. These top 5 National Law Universities in India stand out not just as the best universities for law in India but also as having excellence in legal education globally. While considering a career in law, these NLU in India offer a blend of rigorous academic training and practical legal experience that can lay the foundation for a successful career.

Remember, the choice of a law school is a crucial step in shaping your future. The list of NLUs in India we have discussed offers a glimpse into the diverse options available. Whether you are looking for comprehensive legal education, opportunities for international exposure, or a strong alumni network, these National Law Universities in India have it all.

We will discuss all 25 NLUs in India in detail in our coming blogs. 

We wish you the best in your pursuit of legal excellence and hope this guide has been a helpful stepping stone in your decision-making process.

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