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Thursday, October 21, 2010

IDIA Rajasthan Sensitisation Conducted in Central Academy, Jodhpur

In furtherance of IDIA’s objective to reach out to students of all social strata and sensitise them about law as a career option, an orientation session was held at Central Academy, Chopasani branch, Jodhpur on 13.10.2010. An assembly of around 270 students studying in 11th Standard (All streams) were briefed by a team of 4 IDIA members comprised of Niket Anand, Abhinav Prakash, M Abhijnan Jha and Nilesh Chaudhary. What was important to note that all the members were from 2nd  yr and they were just awesome with the students. They enthralled the session magnificently well and had a very receptive audience.
The team reached the school by 07:45 hours and immediately were called by the principal, Rashmi Bishnoi for a personal meeting and in the meanwhile issued instructions to students of class 11th to come to the assembly hall for the interactive session with the team. the principal in the meanwhile presented some queries that she herself had about CLAT and about national law colleges. The team was then asked to move to the assembly hall where the students were present in numbers which were more than what was expected. One of the teachers introduced the team to the gathering and described to them the purpose for the visit of the team. The team was welcomed on to the dais with applause.
The gathering of the students was first addressed by Abhinav Prakash (IDIA Volunteer) who started off with giving them a briefing about the IDIA project and describing the objectives of this initiative. He then went on to discuss Law as a career and presented to the students the advantages of pursuing Law as a career. Abhinav also dwelled upon the National Law Universities that offer the 5 year law course. The students were given an idea about the returns of following Law as a Career and the lures that it had in store. Abhinav also mentioned the future prospects of a career in Law.
After having made the students feel motivated to pursue legal studies, Niket Anand (IDIA Core Committee IDIA Member) went on to the dais to describe the right ways to get into the best Law universities in India. He described the process of admission through CLAT (Common Law Admission Test). The students were told about the subjects related to which questions are asked in the CLAT examination and also about how they need to prepare themselves for it. Niket lay special emphasis on the topic of legal aptitude and mentioned to the students that it was the area that gives the edge to one student over others.
M Abhijnan Jha (IDIA Volunteer) later took over to discuss in detail the lures in the career of a lawyer. He described the pay packages that a new recruit at law firms receive and about the aspect of getting into the judicial services. He even described to them the extent of job security and told them the statistics for the campus placement that happened last year.
After discussing all aspects at length, Abhinav asked for any queries that might have arisen among the students. Hands were raised and some really interesting questions were put up before the team. The team was even asked to present a comparison between Law and Engineering as a career and to discuss the low number of seats that the Law universities provide in total. All these questions were answered to the satisfaction of the students.
The students who were aspiring for a career in law were asked to stay back for a personally interactive session with the team. Quite a large number of students, girls and boys alike, stayed back to get some more doubts cleared about CLAT. The session at Central Academy came to an end with this interactive session getting over and the students adding something more to their knowledge of CLAT and its pursuance.
with this IDIA Rajasthan has successfully completed the first phase of sensitisation programme which we chalked out for this semester. The sensitisation programme conducted by 2nd year student was awesomely recieved by the audience. I sincerely acknowledge and laud the effort of Niket Anand, Abhinav Prakash, Abhijnan Jha, Nilesh Chaudhary who were part of the orientation programme.

Abhishek Kumar,
Coordinator, IDIA Rajasthan

Friday, October 1, 2010

IDIA Rajasthan Sensitisation Reports

IDIA RAJASTHAN CHAPTER In furtherance of IDIA’s objective to reach out to students of all social strata and sensitise them about law as a career option, an orientation session was held at St. Maheshwari School, Jodhpur on 
01.09.2010. An assembly of around 80 students studying in 12th Standard (Science stream) were briefed by 7 volunteers. The students divided themselves in various groups: Geetanjali, Jai and Sharddha interacted with a mixed group of students from Science and Humanities backround. Sujoy and Piyush interacted with a bunch comprising mainly the Science Students. The third group was handled by student volunteers Aritra and Saumya.

The general perception among this group was that law is restricted to court-room advocacy and drawing up of wills and deeds. They were initially not responsive to the discussion, which may be attributed to their lack of awareness about the wide reach of law as a profession. However once they were informed about the scope of work available to advocates in law firms or as inhouse counsels in corporate bodies, it managed to catch their imagination and made the briefing more interactive. 
The students were comparatively more familiar with other fields of study such as engineering and medical, and could identify with the concept of entrance examinations for law schools only after parallels were drawn with IITJEE and AIEEE. This volunteer found that most students were not clear about the eligibility criteria for giving CLAT, and some had not even heard of such an entrance examination for law schools before. A concise overview of CLAT was given and doubts were cleared about the manner in which application forms for this examination are distributed. The students expressed their reservation about taking additional coaching classes for law school entrance examinations. They were encouraged not to view such coaching classes as an unconditional pre-requisite for cracking such entrance examinations, and to resort to coaching only if they felt the need for it.
Apprehensions were expressed by some students about the high fees charged by such law
schools, which were sought to be allayed by giving practical examples of educational loans and scholarship schemes of certain institutions. Queries were also raised about when NLU Jodhpur would start a scholarship scheme for funding the studies of meritorious students from economically weak backgrounds. While wrapping up the discussion, it was heartening to find quite a few students whose interest in law had been kindled by the briefing. Contact details of the coordinators heading the Rajasthan chapter of IDIA along with the official website of CLAT was provided to the students to ensure that any further doubts that they might have can be addressed. Report by team 2 Our experience has been highly enriching and we assess the session as highly fruitful.
We began
by asking the students as per their future plans. 80% of the crowd showed interest in pursuing engineering while some 5-6 showed interest in business management. Interestingly there was only one boy who showed interest in doing law and writing CLAT. The session then moved forward with their notions of law, justice and advocates and as per their assessment of law as a career option and existence of legal education imparting institutions, it proved to be too narrow. We started discussing about the varying options that would be available to graduating law students in terms of monetary gains, job experience and exposure. Thereafter the life in a law school was described to attract their interest and making them visualize of a life which provides ample individual space and capacity to progress living in an extremely different environment which teaches one immensely. In the end, the students were described about the modality of CLAT and how the role of IDIA will shape up if they show interest in pursuing law after 12th Standard.
The session was interactive and the students were inquisitive to know about the prospects of 3
year Law degree and how one can pursue it after B Tech. Further the interested student in law raised an honest query as to how difficult is it to crack CLAT considering English can be a trouble. However the team assured him by proving mathematically that command over all other sections is adequate to get a decent rank in CLAT which assures entry in a good university.
There were other queries raised and it was indicative that their knowledge about law and its
prospects did get widen. The best part of the session was that the teacher present during the lecture was also thoroughly impressed and he reiterated and seconded our opinion on planning law as a career option instead of just following a ‘crowd mentality’. We requested the students to further advertise and spread awareness about the multifold options as reflected by us which will help us in a long way in targeting the parents, teachers and other influencers of students.
I had the opportunity of addressing a group of around 40 students from the 12th grade. Initially,
was under the impression that I would be talking to a quiet audience but to my pleasant surprise, the students turned out to be quiet enthusiastic about whatever I had to tell them. They were all Commerce students and on conducting a straw poll, I found that mostly wanted to be Chartered Accountants, with little or no inclination towards law. It was my endeavor then, to tell them the merits of interdisciplinary studies to draw their attention towards law. Hence, I started with the merits of a dual degree and how their interests could be streamlined even if they take up law as a career. The discussion was then focused on telling the audience about the various Law schools in India and the requirements in CLAT. A lot of questions were posted on the feasibility as well as possible incentives. The students were interested to know about the difficulty level of the CLAT question paper as well as the syllabus for the same. Also, many were interested in knowing about the fee structure as well as the scope for scholarships. I was also asked about my interest in Law as well scope of further studies. I ended with a few snippets from life in Law school, although, the interest had been shifted to the prospectus of NLU, Jodhpur that had been passed around for the students’ reference. In furtherance of IDIA’s objective to reach out to students of all social strata and sensitise them about law as a career option, the second orientation program was conducted at St. Patricks school, Jodhpur on 17.10.2010. An assembly of around 70 students studying in 12thStandard (Science stream, Humanities and Commerce) were briefed by 5 IDIA volunteers including Geetanjali Sharma (B.A LL.B), Azal Khan, Vijaya Sharma, Geetanjali Sharma (B.Sc LL.B) and Mukul Agarwal.(Coordinator).The session started by volunteers asking questions on law and assessing the general perception of students about law. It was surprising that in a group of 70 (all girls students) around 15 of them seemed interested in pursuing law as a career option. This was indeed a greater number in comparison to the first orientation program. However their knowledge and perception about legal profession were very faulty or juvenile. So although we found a crowd that was relatively more open to pursue different carrier options [maybe because students from humanities were also there] but they were very less aware about the practical realities of any profession. It is vital to note some of the perceptions that the students had which was reflected through the nature of questions they posed.A student pointed out that a student in IIT even if cannot prove himself to be at the top would get a decent salary of 1 lakhs per month. However in a law school one had to work like very hard and then also they would get not more than 15 thousand. [the same was answered by providing them statistics about pay packages of Microsoft, Google, Infosys, HCL etc and the top tier law firms]. It was also pointed out by another student that law as a career option might not be conducive for a woman as it is to a man. Another girl was surprised to know how lawyers can perform social work and how the nature of contribution they make in the society, can actually affect the society positively. One of the girls also raised a doubt that the discussion would be fruitless unless their parents are convinced as they still perceive law to be a third grade career option. [we extended all our willingness to discuss with the concerned parents by medium of providing our contact details and also requesting the school administration to follow on any such request made by students] Most importantly students pointed out that law is associated with corruption and parents would not want them to get into such a field. [we went into explaining different facets of law like corporate law, IPR, income tax etc so as to show that a lawyer is not just what they have seen in Hindi movies] Hence the session was highly interactive and there were instances of mindboggling exercises to convince them on certain aspects. The teachers however seemed to be convinced and promised us to involve students in similar discussions whereby they can make an informed choice to chose a particular career as they option.
I sincerely acknowledge the IDIA Members and all those involved who conducted the senistisation Programee. I have a special word of appreciation for my Joint Coordinator Mukul Aggarwal. I laud the effort of Piyush Singh, Geetanjali Sharma ,Jai Sahai who worked relentlessly in order to conduct the orientation programme and gave final touch in the report.Finally,
I sincerely thank Ankita Singh, for her effort in preparing the report.

Abhishek Kumar,
IDIA Coordinator,Rajasthan Chapter

NUJS Students Take IDIA to CNLU; CNLU Embraces it Wholeheartedly

The IDIA team comprising of NUJS students Ramanuj, Kumar Kislay and Kumar Rahul and Vishrut Jain (we) visited Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna (them) on 16th of September 2010. The introductory talk about IDIA was delivered by Ramanuj and Kumar Kislay. 
On the first day itself we were able to convince and motivate around 55-60 volunteers from all the batches. The IDIA CNLU local chapter will be co-ordinated by Rachit Ranjan, an NUJS alumnus, who is a guest faculty there. The students in CNLU were having their mid-semester test hence a comprehensive plan of action could not be drawn. However, we made them aware of the broad area of work to be done by the students. It was proposed by them, that some of the students would like to visit NUJS sometime in November to observe as to how we function. 
On the following day, we called a special meet of some of the members of senior batches with the help of whom we had managed to organize IDIA camp in CNLU. Since all of them had already been working with us in IDIA project for some time, we decided that they would constitute CORE GROUP for IDIA CNLU and would lead various teams as formed there. They were also advised to involve as many juniors as possible, so that IDIA could be continued even when they would have left after 1-2 years.

We also talked to the VC as well as some other people of the university. Prof Dr. M.P.Singh had been kind enough to refer us to the Vice Chancellor of CNLU Prof Dr. A. Laxminath. The team met the Registrar and the VC of the university and had been apprised of the IDIA project. He accepted the project for the university and agreed to give all possible support to the project and the students involved. He was even open to the suggestion of instituting the project as a research program. For this he has asked us to send a detailed proposal. The report is being prepared and would be forwarded to him very soon. 
Prof Laxminath has also kindly consented to allocate funds for the project if it seems feasible in the University and depending on the students’ participation. Further, with the help of Rachit Ranajn we have been able to create a fund for CNLU chapter. There are 10 of his friends working in Law Firms, who have agreed to contribute a sum if Rs 2000 every month for the IDIA Patna Chapter. We are also trying to bring in more people as funders.
The team further met the principal secretary HRD ministry, Bihar. Since, HRD ministry of the state is deeply involved in the functioning of CNLU it was important to bring them in the loop. The Principal Secretary for the HRD ministry has assured all possible help from their side. They will also help us in creating a fund. Further, they have agreed to provide a list of schools and co-ordinate with them for the sensitization program and further.
The team also met some sitting judges of Patna High Court. Justice Navniti Singh and Justice Jyoti sharan were kind enough to extend all their support and have promised to endorse the project. This would be helpful for spreading the project properly in the state and also for creating a substantial fund.
The IDIA CNLU team will start sensitization work in the first week of November.