Impact of Coronavirus on Law Students
“In this Blog the author has tried to highlight the problems being faced by the law students during the time of pandemic COVID-19 and has tried to provide some suggestions to overcome this period of distress and sadness”
Coronavirus is from the family of zoonotic viruses that causes illness ranging from common cold to severe respiratory diseases. This infection can be spread through transmission from one person to another. The origin of one of a kind virus is still uncertain and a question in the eyes of many people. A lawsuit has been filled in the Texas District Court, USA seeking $20 trillion dollar against China for the creation and release accidental or otherwise of the COVID-19 as a biological weapon to be used against other countries.[i] However, the analysis of few scientists indicates that such virus is not made in laboratory or engineered but the product of natural evolution. None is left to be affected by the spread of COVID-19 with around 11,33,758 cases and 62,784 deaths in 209 countries as confirmed by the WHO[ii].
Problems faced by the students
The pandemic has led to mass social distancing, scientific conference cancellations, exam cancellations, shut down of schools & colleges, travel restrictions etc. People are compelled to work from home and students to attend online classes. Due to the pandemic this new set up of attending classes the problems faced by the students cannot go unnoticed especially of the law students as their studying process does not only include learning new concepts but also its practical applicability. The law campus activities and events are cancelled, restricted library services, cancellations of exams like LSAT, impact on job market etc. Some of the problems faced by the law students due to the epidemic are addressed as follows:
Dependence of learning on Digital Devices: To maintain social distancing the law schools have shifted their lectures online from the traditional blackboard and chalk method. This has led law students to depend on digital devices like laptops, tablets, computers etc. for learning. However, there are a lot of students who did not carry their digital gadgets along with them at home because the announcement of suspension of college activities initially were of only one week but has been extended till June or July after looking at the current situation of the country. The unavailability of these digital gadgets with the students at home has become an obstruction in the learning process because there are online classes of certain colleges which are not supported by the mobile phones.
Slow internet connection: The online classes demands good internet connection which otherwise would not connect to the server. This results in the need of a Wi-Fi connection at their residences ignoring the fact that most of the people in India still do not have Wi-Fi connections at their houses but rely on mobile data packs. These data packs have limited 1GB- 2GB of 4G data which depends on the type of data plan one subscribes. Slow internet connection becomes problem for the law students as the purpose of the online classes was to impart learning even after certain adversities but the slow internet connection at their places is not able to match up with it.
Cancellation of Internships: As a law student, rigorous Internships play a very important role as far as the practical learning and career prospects are concerned as it helps in learning the practical applicability of the concepts learnt in college. The curriculum of all the law colleges is also designed in a manner so as to provide sufficient time to the students to pursue internships. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of internships as all the law firms, chambers of advocates, companies and other organizations have suspended all their internship programmes till further information. The COVID-19 has resulted in students staying at home and not materializing any such opportunity of learning work ethics, drafting, polishing their researching skills etc.
Impact on Job Market for law graduates: The current situation is challenging and everyone is facing the uncertainties due the pandemic but the impact faced by the law graduates passing this year cannot be equated to the impact on other law students. A Law graduate across the country already struggles with the pay the overextended pressure and labour and this pandemic makes their situation even worse. The economic disruptions would result in the low placement offers, low salary and high stress on the law graduates
The outbreak of COVID-19 with itself has brought a lot of changes in the law students lives but the current situation is inevitable. So the main concern of the law students should not be on the looking at the problems but to utilize the time to make the most out of it and providing solutions to the problems. The platform of learning has changed but the standards and purpose of learning is still the same. The purpose of enrolling in law school was to become a skilled lawyer so one can indulge oneself in productive things to make the maximum of the situation. Some of the suggestions for the law students are listed below:
Enrolling in certificate courses: There are a lot of law schools and law firms providing online certificate online courses specializing in various fields like competition law, copyright and trademark law, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, criminal law etc. One can enroll themselves in these courses depending upon their field of interest. This not only helps you in gaining specific knowledge in a field but adds on to the CV which also helps in seeking internships.
Participation in competitions: There are few online quiz , essay writing competition etc. are being conducted by few organization s and law schools in which law students can participate to utilize the time that can help the law students to enhance their research skills and can also add feathers on their cap.
Write Research papers: Writing research papers is one of the best alternate available with the law students to utilize this time. When can write articles, blogs, research papers etc. more conveniently when one is free from the hustle of the college activities as it requires detailed knowledge and detailed study.
[i]https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/covid-19-was-designed-by-china-as-a-biowarfare-weapon-20-trillion-dollar-lawsuit-filed-against-china-in-us-district (Last visited on 5/04/2020) [ii] https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 (Last visited on 5/04/2020)
School of Law, UPES, Dehradun.