The very purpose of setting up of the National Law Universities was to improve the standard of the Bar. The Bar is not what you think it is (though lawyers are known to loyal patrons) – it is the collective body of lawyers especially litigating lawyers. It is a sad fact, that not everyone considers bar to be their first choice but for those who do, they get the best gift of the profession- the power to wear a robe, an indication you are a learned doctor of law.
Originally in England, there was the concept of the profession divided into two parts. When a case would arise, the drafting of documents and basic legal advice would be given by a person called a Solicitor. When the case had to go to trial he would brief a barrister, who would argue the case before the court. The Indian legal system does not strictly adhere to this dichotomy but rather bases itself more on the Scottish concept of Advocate, who does both drafting as well as arguing. As a litigating lawyer, you hear out the case, draft it for the client and either by yourself or assisted with a team fight the case in a court of law or tribunal.
In addition you may be required to do a variety of ancillary legal work as well including giving legal advice on matters which come up from time to time, advising the client in both business and family requirements, preparing legal proformas required by him in various Govt. Departments, advising your client in matters of taxation and being called at 2:00 am in the morning as he/she has run into a wrangle. What Kinds of Litigating Lawyers are there? Do they specialize in certain areas?
The common lawyer next door is called a General practitioner. He is like a M.B.B.S doctor who takes care of your general health. Similarly, the General Practitioner deals with a wide variety of legal problems as and when they arise. They do most of your legal cases from almost all areas.
The law is a very fast field and there are various branches of law. But generally there is a division between Civil and Criminal law. Lawyers mostly identify themselves as one of these. A Civil lawyer looks after your corporate commercial and everyday matters, whereas the Criminal lawyer tries to ensure you do not go jail for a crime to the best of his/her abilities.
Of late there is an increased move towards specialization with the coming of new and novel areas of law. There is therefore a breed of Tax lawyers, Intellectual Property Lawyers, Arbitration lawyers and Constitutional lawyers. Specialization can also be forum or level specific. Eg. X is a lawyer who only appears before the Supreme Court or Y only appears before the Central Administrative Tribunal or Z who only handles original suits or Bablu who specializes in Writ Petitions before the High Court.
Workplaces in litigation are divided three fold. First, territorially. Namely that X only appears before the Courts in West Bengal. Barring the Supreme Court and the Delhi and Bombay High Court’s most Bars usually draw their members from their states and local areas. Clientele is a function of a strong network. And starting out a practice from a place you belong to gives you at least some advantage. Secondly, forum wise. At this stage it would be pertinent to understand the court structure in the country.
A five year stint at a National Law University can be a life changing experience. Students enter a law school with lots of hopes and aspirations, some expectant, some scared but mostly excited. The child who came to law school is barely recognizable by himself/herself leave alone his parents and school peers.
The heart of your five years experience the academic experience tries to be interdisciplinary in approach and adoptive of the Socratic method in approach. The drab black lines are often animated by a lively, politically incorrect and emotionally charged discussions and debates in the classroom. However, some classes are indeed boring depending on your lack of interest or your teachers abilities but these are in between. Each law school has some fantastic mentors capable of making you fall in love with their subject. Additionally the academic scene is not all examination preparation. Presentations, Viva and projects are an all important part of the academic calendar which not only makes the academic experience holistic but also encourages you to share and debate what you have learnt.
The law schools were made as standalone universities which were supposed to be equipped with all that which is necessary to report excellence in legal studies and research. Infrastructure is divided into two parts Physical and academic. Physical infrastructure means that the building is equipped with classroom and state of the art technology devices like projectors and presentation devices. Most NLUs are compulsorily residential but this rule does have exceptions like NUJS, Kolkatta. The hostels and mess cannot be generalized as they vary from University to University. Some hostels are very humble like that of NLSIU and some are very comfortable like that of RMNLU. Mess often carry a regional flavour to their cuisine, though each mess does have a cosmopolitan menu considering the junta has a pan India character. A large number of NLUs are investing in the creation of Seminar Halls, Auditoriums and Seminar Halls were events of an international scale can be held. Nalsar, Hyderabad and NLU Delhi lead in the hosting of such events.
The soft infrastructure and frankly the one that really really matters is the Library and student facilities. NLSIU Bangalore, NALSAR and RMNLU are known for their libraries offering a wide variety of volumes. This is supplemented by online and digital databases for searching cases, journals and articles from around the world.
Such an infrastructure requires an immense budget, which the traditional laws schools usually lack.
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralised test for admission to 17 prominent National Law Universities in India. The test is taken after the Higher Secondary Examination or the 12th grade for admission to integrated undergraduation programmes in Law and after Graduation in Law for Master of Laws(LL.M) programmes conducted by these law universities. This test was conducted for the first time on 11 May 2008. The two-hour admission test consists of objective type covering questions on Elementary Mathematics or Numerical Ability, English with Comprehension, General knowledge and Current affairs , Legal Aptitude and Logical reasoning. The CLAT scores are used by other private law colleges across the country and Public Sector Undertakings for admissions and recruitment respectively.
Common Law Admission Test – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Before the introduction of CLAT, the autonomous law schools in India conducted their own separate entrance tests, requiring the candidates to prepare and appear separately for each of these tests. The schedule of the administration of these tests sometimes conflicted with the other or with other major entrance tests such as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination and the All India Pre Medical Test. This caused students to miss tests and experience much stress.
There are seventeen National Law Universities in India, the first of which is the National Law School of India University, which admitted its first batch of students in 1987. Out of the seventeen, the National Law University, Delhi conducts its own separate entrance test known as All India Law Entrance Test. With the emergence of other law schools, which also sought to conduct their admission tests at around the same time, students faced a hard time preparing for them. From time to time this issue to conduct a common entrance exam to reduce the burden of the students to give multiple test was raised, but given the autonomous status of each law school, there was no nodal agency to co-ordinate an action to this regard.
The matter drew national attention when a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Varun Bhagat against the Union of India and various National Law Universities in the Supreme Court of India in 2006. The Chief Justice of India directed the Union of India to consult with the National Law Universities to formulate a common test. The move was strongly supported by the Bar Council of India.