Decoding CLAT

Ayush Nargotra
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the most coveted of all the law entrances in India after Class XII. CLAT journey started in 2008 and today more than 55,000 students write the entrances tests every year to secure a seat in one of the participating National Law Universities including NLSIU Bangalore-the Harvard of the East.
CLAT is held by the Consortium of National Law Universities headed by NLSIU. The exam is tentatively scheduled to be held in the second week of May. This year the pattern of exam has changed. The exam is held for admissions in UG and PG programs offered by the National Law Universities. 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 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 Supreme Court of India mandated a common entrance exam for the then existent National Law Schools, and this judgement found animation in the form of the Common Law Entrance Exam or CLAT. Since then almost all National Law Schools, the notable exception being National Law University Delhi, admit students on their CLAT scores.
Let us look deeper into Law as a Career Choice in today’s age. Law is defined as “the system of rules, which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members; and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties”. Study of law deals with the values, practices, and institutions of law and legality. Today, the study is interdisciplinary; and the curriculum is designed to help understand how law has shaped and evolved; and what all factors (political, economic, cultural) have influenced the same.
Career Avenues for Law Graduates
Gone are the days when law graduates would be holding case files for a senior lawyer, while slogging 12-13 hours a day, learning the trade. The current crop of law graduates are not only counseling corporates on complex issues, but are also occupying offices of the government (Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary). A degree in law opens the door to wide variety of careers.
Litigation is the traditional career path for most law graduates. Considered to be a high-risk, high-reward area by many, litigation to most sounds an alarm bell. The reason is fairly simple: it takes years to be an established lawyer, and the start is not often financially rewarding. But, with determination and patience, one can attain heights.
With prolonged economic slowdown, and shrinking profits, corporates are now getting more and more combative; and are taking every step necessary to protect their interests. As a result, legal recourse is on the rise; creating more and more opportunities for young law graduates.
Corporate Counsel:
Be it working in swanky law firms, or matching the steps with corporate managers, lawyers today have created a niche in the business world. From counseling clients, to drafting & vetting of contracts, or advising on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, a young lawyer is very much an integral part of the business world.
One of the most respected professions in the country, judiciary offers an opportunity to work for justice. A law graduate can appear for the Judicial Services Exam conducted by states; and upon qualifying, become Judicial Magistrates. One can also opt for the position of Judicial Clerkship in courts.
Civil Services:
Be it State Civil Services or Union Civil Services; law graduates have a definite advantage. The evolved exam structure, which tests the knowledge of Indian Polity, gives them an edge. No wonder then, the number of law graduates cracking these exams is on the rise.
Defense Services:
The Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department is the legal department of the three services: Army, Navy, and Air Force. The Judge Advocate’s primary role is to deliver independent, operationally-focused, solution-oriented legal advice and services across the full spectrum of respective laws.
Academia: The ever-rising number of law schools is providing opportunities for young law graduates to pursue their area of interest in teaching.
Non-Governmental Organizations: Law graduates are equally equipped to handle social work, as they are aware of the legal rights of all social strata. They have the option of working with NGOs, National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, etc.
Legal Process Outsourcing: LPOs include a vast range of services, such as, research, drafting, vetting, etc. With India continuing to be a major player in the world of outsourcing, LPOs are avenues for high-paying jobs.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list. A degree in law can open a lot many doors of career opportunities.
Law Advantage
There are several advantages of being a Legal professional. All you need to do is prepare for LAW entrance exams and join a good LAW School. The following advantages will follow:
You’re the Leader of the Pack
Lawyers today aren’t just taught the tenets of the law, they are taught to lead the world. The ability to make decisions based on facts and reasoning, rather than emotions is an integral part to success in the legal world and holds even more value out of the court room. A great leader has the ability to make the hard choices putting the interests of his client first.
So much in Law
Gone are the days when a Lawyer had to choose a career in either Criminal or Civil. Corporate, Commercial, Mediation, Human Rights, Intellectual Property Rights, Environment, Cyber and many more options are open to a LAW school graduate.
Placements Nonpareil
Students from the top Law Schools don’t need to go job hunting, as appropriate opportunities come looking for them. Every year the best law firms in the country, not to mention top corporate houses set placement targets for their HR teams to ensure they don’t miss out on the top talent in the country. The trick is to prepare for LAW entrance exams and get through a good LAW school.
Show me the Money
The IITs and IIMs are not the only schools in the country to go to get top jobs. Law School graduates now earn salaries on par (and often exceeding) the best offered in Business Schools or Engineering Colleges.
A chance to rein Supreme
The dream of most lawyers is to roam the halls of The Supreme Court of India. Most lawyers from the top Law Schools in the country do that. Beyond being an established lawyer in India, there are no geographical boundaries for a great legal mind. Options are open at the United Nations / International Court of Justice and more.
Best Law Schools
While new law schools are being established almost every year, some of these stand out from the crowd. Currently, there are 22 operational National Law Universities, along with 40 other good private colleges, like Jindal Global Law School, Symbiosis Law Schools, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, etc., as well as government colleges, like GLC Mumbai, ILS Pune, etc.
CLAT Admission Process 2020
The admission process to UG and PG programs in participating universities under CLAT-2020 is completed through centralised online counselling conducted by the CLAT Consortium Office. The admission process for CLAT 2020 starts with filling of application form and then qualifying in the national-level exam. The Online Application Form was started on 1st January 2020 and the last date to apply for CLAT 2020 is 31st March 2020. At the time of filling up the form, the candidate has to fill, in order of preference, the choice of NLUs. CL Jammu being pioneer in providing coaching for CLAT has given excellent results for admission to prestigious law universities, to quote a few’ seven out of top ten ranks in CLAT 2019, 47 selection in NLSIU Bangalore and 69 out of top 100 ranks in CLAT 2019. The seat allotment of CLAT 2020 will be done on the basis of merit-cum-preference. This means both CLAT 2020 rank and choices opted (in the order of preference) will be considered for allotment. The CLAT 2020 Exam will be held on 10th May 2020. CLAT 2020 result will be released on 24th May, 2020. The first merit list of selected candidates is expected to be released by last week of May, 2020.
CLAT results can be accessed by individually logging in to the registered account on the official CLAT website. In the result, the candidate will be able to check their score, All India Rank and category rank (if published). CL Jammu will be providing free form filling service for CLAT and ALIET aspirants.
In the last week of May, CLAT will also publish the College Allotment List, after which the candidates who have been allotted the seat in an NLU, will be required to pay the counselling fee of Rs. Fifty Thousand Only, within the stipulated dates, failing which the candidate will lose his/her seat and will not be considered for further process of admission in 2020.
CLAT 2020 Syllabus
CLAT 2020 shall be conducted in offline mode where the paper will have 150 questions from five different subjects including English (Comprehension), General Knowledge & Current Affairs, Elementary Mathematics (Numerical Ability), Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning. Scope and coverage of questions under different subject areas:
English Language: The English section will test the candidates’ proficiency in English based on comprehension passages. Students will be given passages of about 450 words each and such passages could be fiction/ non-fiction, contemporary/historical etc. Candidates will be questioned on their understanding of the passage and its central theme, meanings of words used therein, etc. Inference would be key here, candidates will have to comprehend the main idea discussed in the passage including any counter-arguments used in the passage.
Current Affairs including General Knowledge: This section would again consist of passages instead of direct questions which were asked earlier. The passages would again be of 450 words each and the same would be derived from news, journals etc. Questions based on such passages would be asked. Such question can cover static portion as well, candidates are therefore advised not to forgo the static portion entirely. Reading Newspaper daily, specifically articles containing any Bill or Judgments or legal information should help in preparing for this section.
Quantitative Aptitude: The Quantitative Technique or Maths section will include short sets of facts or propositions, graphs, or other textual, pictorial or diagrammatic representations of numerical information, followed by a series of questions. The questions will be in the form of Data Interpretation i.e. candidates would be required to infer information from the given passage and answer accordingly.
Legal Reasoning: This section will test candidate’s interest towards study of law, research aptitude and problem solving ability. Questions would again be based on passages relating to facts or scenarios involving legal matters. The passage would contain certain rules and principles which should be identified and accordingly applied to the questions. The passages would be of approximately 450 words each.
Logical Reasoning: The purpose of the logical reasoning section is to test the candidate’s ability to identify patterns, logical links and rectify illogical arguments. The questions would be based on passage of 300 words.
(The author is Director Career Launcher Jammu)