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Importance of Extra-Curricular Activities in Law Schools

Albert Einstein gave a very interesting definition of the word “genius”. He defined genius as somebody who can endure a great amount of pain and hardships. The law school regime is gruesome and students always have their academic plates full, most of the time. They are constantly overloaded academically and rarely find time to participate in other activities. The icing on the cake are the regular evaluative exams, because, hey, grades/CGPAs are what matter after all, right?

Here’s a very honest answer – NO! The extra-curricular activities that a law school offers are highly nurturing, cultivating and intellectually stimulating. Such activities become the stepping-stones of a student’s life because he/she makes that extra effort to learn something new and finds time to participate in, despite his/her hectic schedule. One walks an extra-mile to gain something and that learning treasure always follows.

Extra-curricular activities prepare you for what is beyond the dominion of your academics. I call it “learnings outside the books”. And trust me, such activities definitely are great learning experiences. They teach you many life-skills (like time management and research skills) and make you a better professional. It will also make you a one-man army when it comes to handling your work and managing your affairs efficiently. Hence, you’ll be your secretary, manager and boss! They essentially act as an impetus to one’s personality development and teach one how to tackle traditional and complex issues with creative solutions.

Extra-curricular activities include moot court competitions, paper presentations, article publications, Model United Nations (MUNs), client counselling competitions and debates, to name a few. Such activities instil a great amount of creativity in a student, which is absolutely critical and essential for developing an out-of-the-box thought process and attitude. They also teach one to think on his/her feet.

Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine and I had once represented our institution at a client counselling competition in Punjab University. During the client counselling session, I abruptly said to my client that for Rs.1000/- I would personally collect her case papers from her house the next day. The judges were shocked! Thereafter, they asked me why I should be willing to go to my client’s house to collect papers for a thousand rupees.

That incident made me realize the value of my work. We lawyers provide professional legal services, but, naturally, at a cost. This was an important lesson I learnt from my extra-curricular activity and I shall treasure it for life.

An extra-curricular activity also gives one pride and prestige as one represents his/her law school. Such activities make one a team-worker and help develop important managerial skills. They also help a participating student to make good connections with students across the country (and, sometimes, across the globe).

Anyone participating in such activities would also learn essential life skills, which hold great importance in the world outside of law school. Lastly, such activities are like shining badges of honour in your profile/CV. Employers attach great value to such activities, since they reflect the candidate’s attitude and inclination towards learning new things. One can always learn to walk an extra mile and make extra efforts, if they are used to participating in extra-curricular activities.

-Yash Shah