Reading and Writing for CLAT Aspirants: 2 Habits for a Lawyer’s Habitat

By Tanuj Kalia

If you don’t love to read a lot and if you don’t love to write a lot you’ll turn to become an unwilling, bored lawyer with migraine, rheumy eyes, painful creeky neck, a  twisted creeky backbone and migraine. (Migraine, twice as frequent and twice as painful, mind you and creeks that you can hear).

The daily life of a lawyer will involve reading tomes (tome is a nice word) of Bare Acts and Commentaries, full of hard texts, difficult to read and seemingly impossible to comprehend.

You’ll also read case laws, difficult to read and seemingly impossible to comprehend (is this a repetition?) coupled with a Judge’s idiosyncratic preference for foreign words (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and even Mandolin. OK. Kidding about Mandolin) and other weird proclivities (like citing Ramayana, a Telegu Scholar and even LST modules). PS: We love Justice Katju.

Justice Katju

A lawyer has to do the difficult and achieve the impossible and then write what we call a ‘brief’.

Now a brief is anything but brief. It’s long and tries to resolve your client’s legal issues. It’s long because it has to refer to the lot many things you’ve read. It’s long because then you have to add your own analysis into it. It’s long because that’s how Indian lawyers like it and that’s how they get paid. (Alan Siegel, meanwhile, is trying to change this).

Alan Siegel

Lawyers read and write more than anyone else. They have to go through at least a couple of hundred pages (multiplied by two or four depending on how merciful your boss is) during the most hollowed (a law firm partner should read it as hallowed) task of a junior law firm associate, namely, Due Diligence. (More on that). Lawyers also write more than news-reporters or even writers.

We at LST thought we should prepare you for this. Develop the habits essential to live nicely in this habitat. (How cool is this? Habits for the Habitat!) And oh yes! This helps you in CLAT like no other thing does: reading and writing.

How (is this a trap to get law aspirants write for free for LST)?. No, but really, how does reading and writing help a law aspirant?

Reading will improve your English vocabulary and comprehension skills and as you start writing regularly, you’ll slowly untie the knots that seem to emerge during a critical reading passage. Writing organises and refines your thoughts and sharpens your thought process and that’s what critical reasoning is.

You also improve your GK, Legal GK (when you write what you read in newspapers and magazines) and as I’ve laid out (in my trap) it will help you develop two habits which make a huge chunk (like Popeye’s forearms) of Legal Aptitude: reading and writing.

Read a lot and read well. Write a lot and write well. That’s the message from the master. (For this life, that is. BTW Lawyer’s commonly are species coming from hell, in case you are thinking of visiting Brian Weiss that’s what your past life transgression is going to reveal).

Brian Weiss

Hey! I hear someone shout! I speak and therefore I am (at LST and a wannabe lawyer). Isn’t powerful oratory a lawyer’s ‘the’ thing?

Prize winning school debators can rejoice; you’ll probably do great as mooters and then as litigators.

However, here is the deal: if you don’t read well and if you don’t write well you cannot make for a good lawyer. However, if you can speak just all right, that’s good enough. Though, if you can speak great, then of course, it’s great. (See, how dearly you need a ‘great’ vocabulary too to be able to write well).

The next post: How and What to read and Why to write.

The pics are an effort towards LST’s ‘more personal and more human tutorials‘ approach. 🙂

Tanuj Kalia is a 4th year student at NUJS and is presently interning at LST.

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CLAT committe considering changes in CLAT pattern

  • CLAT committe to make changes in test pattern
  • More stress on current affairs rather than on general knowledge.
  • There might be exclusion of legal knowledge as sections like legal aptitude, critical and logical reasoning will be given prominence.
  • While question paper components will remain same, certain sections will be stressed upon.
  • CLAT committee will be availing of post office services for distribution of brochure and application forms.

Source: TOI

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Minister of Law eager on major up-gradation of legal education

  • Dr. M.Veerappa Moily – Minister of Law and Justice looking to overhaul Indian legal education system to bring it in-tune with needs of the current socio-economic scenario.
  • His consultation with multiple groups and universities yielded the following recommendations –
  • 4 national level institutions called Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies and Research to be established as Centres of Excellence – with the objective of research and up-gradation of faculty skills.
  • They will be focused on research and up-gradation of faculty skills.
  • A National Law University to be established in every State as a school of excellence.
  • An Empowered Committee to evaluate existing 913 law schools and upgrade them where necessary.
  • Public-private participation model for law schools with specialized focus is to be encouraged.
  • Autonomous colleges meeting demanding accreditation standards to be encouraged.

Source: Frontier India

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New exam before legal practice

Your law school finals wont be the last paper you give before starting your practice. An all India Bar has been introduced for the purpose of maintaining intake quality.

Fresh graduates must take all-India Bar exam

  • Law graduates intending to take up legal practice will have to pass an All-India Bar Exam, conducted by BCI
  • The exam will test skills and basic knowledge critical for the profession
  • The examination will be held twice a year. Those failing in the first test may re-appear.
  • Rainmaker – a legal consultancy firm will help conduct the test in 9 languages, and will charge Rs. 1,300 per candidate.
  • Mr. Subramaniam (BCI chairman) said: “The Indian legal profession consists of approximately 11 lakh registered advocates, around 1,000 law schools and approximately 5 lakh law students. Every year, approximately 60,000 law graduates join the legal profession.”
  • Bill on legal education
  • BCI is opposed to entry of foreign lawyers – unlike in other countries, in India there was a standard of practice maintained by lawyers and they were not governed by earning money alone.

Source: The Hindu

If all goes as planned, the new exam, set in capable hands, will help hold up quality and fend off inequality. Here’s hoping it lives up to expectations.

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Law schools to get in line or get out!

BCI chairman wields the whip on slouchy law schools. Sets tasks and deadline.

BCI asks law schools to fall in line

  • Bar Council of India (BCI) asks 930 law colleges to either conform to set standards or be barred from admitting students post 2011.
  • BCI has directed colleges to start paying university Grants Commission approved pay-scale, to attract more talented faculty.
  • Also, law schools ordered to revise educational curriculum as per BCI prescribed modern standards.
  • BCI chairman Mr Subramaniam speaking on concept of a mandatory entrance test before being permitted to practice in courts: This entrance test is going to be a great homogenising effect. If a student from a rural law college passes this entrance test and qualifies to become an advocate along with a graduate from a prestigious national law school, it will have a great balancing effect and remove disparity in attitude.

Source: TOI

Go BCI! Cheers! 😀


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LPOs and the West-tackling a nightmare

While Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) units arrive as an apparent blessing in the East, the West faces the ugly flip side of the coin.

Outsourcing: It’s Not Just About the Money

  • LPOs are providing services at a fraction of the usual costs and are gaining attention from private equities. They are sure to blossom for a while.
  • In response, the smarter law firms are finding new ways to stay in the market without getting into futile price battles with LPOs.
  • Some are positioning themselves as the primary legal advisors – liaisons to the client, who direct the allocation and assignment of legal work – thus blocking direct connection between LPOs and clients.
  • Others are in search of innovation – ways to carry out legal work more effectively and efficiently. They view this as more valuable than providing services at low cost.
  • This leaves junior associates in a tough spot – they don’t have enough experience to serve as ‘valued councils’ for billion dollar clients, and are too expensive to provide raw manpower.
  • Smart firms are directing the grunt work to LPOs while serving at the echelon of the legal machinery, rendering junior associates obsolete.

Source: Above the law

While cunning legal minds at the top of the pyramid are quick to adapt, the ones at the bottom, as usual, get the sour end of the deal. Look up the concept of ‘creative destruction’ (talk about an oxymoron).

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Democratizing justice

Reaching out to the have-nots.

Legal Services Clinic-Law students giving back to the community

  • GoI appointed a Committee for Implementating Legal Aid Schemes (CILAS)  to monitor and implement legal aid programs across India.
  • CILAS is responsible for the set up several legal aid and advisory boards in States and Union Territories.
  • Advocate R.P. Bansal who has been serving at Delhi High Court Legal Aid Cell for past 35 years speaks about the lawyers serving at the cell: “These lawyers don’t get to be a part of this cell just because they want to help but because they possess the intellect to do – not being rich is no reason why you should have a poor lawyer“.
  • He laments that talented law students choose top law firms over Legal Aid Cells for internships and law schools don’t provide sufficient encouragement to reverse the trend.
  • Students say they are driven to prestigious law firms or senior advocates to polish their resume due to fierce competition.
  • The cell has delivered justice on cases relating to dowry, domestic violence, divorce, etc and the work provides much moral satisfaction.
  • Bhargavi Mudakavi, fourth year student and Joint Convener of the LSC, NLSIU, Bangalore, on primary purposes of LSC: “a) provision of practical knowledge, training and development of skill sets, b) socially sensitization of students, and c) creation of low cost, dependable legal counsel and an awareness of the law in socio-economically backward sections.

Source: Bar & Bench

Silly and witty lawyer jokes aside, one has to admit there is some very commendable work being done by a section of the legal society that looks beyond just paychecks, and wishes to make a difference. Some of them prove that fighting crime and bringing justice to the wronged isn’t a concept reserved only for caped heroes in  comic books. Cheers to the idealism of youth and those who manage to preserve it!

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