Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. Vivekanandan is currently serving as the Dean of School of Law at Bennett University. His educational qualification includes B.Sc. from Presidency College, Chennai; M.A and M.Phil in Public Administration from Madras Christian College; B.L from Bangalore University; M.L. in Corporate Laws and Securities from Nagarjuna University and Ph.D. in Intellectual Property Law from National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
Dr. Vivekananda's research areas include Public Policy issues of IPR, Internet Law and Governance, International Trade & IPR, Data Exclusivity issues, Limitations and Exceptions of Copyright in Education and Treaty on Broadcasting. Apart from this, he has attended various conferences and has several publications in his name.
Dr. Vivekanandan’s experience in the education sector
Education benefits to shape a person, and specific skillsets help one to be a professional; rendering service to the society at large.
Dr. Vivekanandan’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
The Dean of any Law School needs to be the first among the equals and my role is to be a motivator, inspirer, and mentor for the faculty, students, and staff.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Vivekanandan as the Dean of School of Law of Bennett University
A fledgling law school always has the big challenge of convincing young and talented aspirants to join us. However, having worked in both a single discipline Universities like NALSAR, NLSIU and also at IIT Kharagpur, I have the exposure and learning curve to make aspirants to believe in the potential of the law school and also to attract motivated faculty.
Dr. Vivekanandan’s on how his previous experience as Former MHRD Chair Professor with NALSAR University has helped him grow in Bennett University
Interface with the MHRD and also serving as the Legal expert at Multilateral negotiations at places like WIPO and ICANN gives me a broader vision to shape and guide this young law school.
Curriculum of Bennett University
The legal curriculum is rapidly changing in terms of its desire to address technological issues; global transactional issues apart from the centuries-long socio-political and economic issues. The curriculum adheres to the Bar Council prescription of foundational subjects and is also designed to address the new age issues. As the old adage is relevant today-“teach someone to fish and he or she will handle the rest”. Hence the goal is not the best practice of industry, but passion and spirit of pursuing the legal profession, which will meet the needs.
The growth of students through placement opportunities available at Bennett University
A lawyer, in essence, is an independent entity pursuing multiple avenues of private practice, corporate services, policy analyst, academic, civil society crusader, legislator, international regulator and a future Jurist. Though the placement aspect is five years away from a new law school, the internship diversity and quality will decide the future placements. An internship committee of faculty is diligently working on the choice of exposure and geographical preferences to ensure around 4-8 weeks of internship.
Importance of time management in a student’s life according to Dr. Vivekanandan
Having multi-tasked for more than three decades, I do spend considerable time in consultation with faculty, interaction with other Deans, Vice Chancellor and other Management decision makers. It is natural that the position of Dean will cut into the space of research and reading which is part of the sacrifice. As for as students, the increasing issue is that of the diverse attractions around them. We always find time to do things, which we love. The trick is to keep studies as number one in such a list. There is no prescribed formula for that but need to be configured by the individual.
Dr. Vivekanandan’s relationship with the students being the Dean, School of Law of Bennett University
I meet them on all-important events, periodically interact through open house sessions and more than that, they can meet me at various breaks in the day. As my family is away, I do have time even after work hours in campus to interact with them.
Ideal school environment according to Dr. Vivekanandan
I would like to quote Cardinal Newman, the founder of the University of Dublin who said:
‘A liberal education is not about what students learn or what skills they acquire, but the perspective they have on the place of their knowledge in a wider map of human understanding.’
Top qualities according to Dr. Vivekanandan that an aspiring LAW student must possess
The law students need to develop a critical thinking ability and for that, it requires an enormous amount of reading not just Acts, Sections, and Judgments, but interface subjects of humanities, business, science, technology, and philosophy. They need to develop writing skills to effectively convey their position. If not naturally endowed, it can be acquired by practice and focus.
Goals in mind for Bennett University for the next few years
Bennett University’s School of Law should excel and find its standing among the fraternity of law schools in the country and globally. This aspiration has been long overdue in the field of legal education in the country and is emerging out of the shadows in the last two decades. Bennett University- School of Law should find its place of pride among the pantheon of great law schools in the global arena.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
The current generation has tremendous information output than the previous ones, and that needs to be complemented by wisdom to use and benefit the society at large. This requires compassion and conviction and to quote Socrates – “an unexamined life is not worth living”.