Drowning in exam cramming coffeeAn NUJS Kolkata student has launched a non-profit social network for CLAT takers to encourage more diversity at law schools and economically less well-off students to succeed in the exam.

Ramanuj Mukherjee has set up the social website myclat.ning.com under the name CLAThacker which targets takers of the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) and the Symbiosis Entrance Test.

He explained: "It is a non-profit effort to create a platform for CLAT aspirants and teachers to come together and help each other. I get law students to write articles and blogs for law aspirants, and this makes a lot of useful study resources available to those who can not afford coaching classes for economic or other reasons."

He said that the site was completely free and would remain that way, with plans to create an "open source movement" and social media collaboration to CLAT.

"There are numerous students who have already cracked the entrance tests who can help CLAT aspirants with minimal effort, if they can be brought together," claims Mukherjee.

"Eventually I plan to provide an open source substitute for coaching classes and paid materials available in the market for preparation for law entrances," he added.

"I believe if resources related to preparation can be made available online free of cost, that can help a great deal to increase the diversity of students in law schools, as a lot of students who can not pay for the coaching classes may not get through the entrances to the big league law schools despite their ambitions."

"Personally I believe that so far CLAThacker has provided some very good Legal GK [general knowledge] resources. I hope to provide material on other subjects too as I find more people willing to help me on this project. There is a plan to upload videos of classes in the style of OpenCourseware to make distance learning on the web possible, and this should happen by March."

CLAThacker was conceived by Mukherjee and started in January 2010, although he adds that since then many volunteers have come forward to make it a success.

The site currently has around 100 registered users.

NUJS professor Shamnad Basheer has also started a diversity initiative independent of CLAThacker in January 2010 that aims for law students to visit villages and help prospective students directly with CLAT preparations.

Commenting on CLAThacker, Basheer said: "The platform really leverages the power of web 2.0 to help a diverse section of students to take a good shot at CLAT. And the fact that it is run by someone  who, despite having studied in a non English medium school managed to top NUJS entrance, lends it a lot of credibility. And offers hope to a number of students." [The above two paragraphs were added to the article 5 March 2010 to clarify. -Ed]

Visit CLAThacker on myclat.ning.com to contribute.

Read Legally India's article collating advice from CLAT preparation professionals and a continuing discussion on preparation strategies. Also read on for an article on past students' CLAT experiences and techniques - some more successful than others.
Photo by Hryck

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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 06:39
gr8 job dude...but hw ru going to make ur target-peopeople aware of dis endevour??i told abt it to aspirants frm my village but dey regretted d fact dat dey dont kno hw to use internet and learning it wud be expensive for dem but dey definitely want to prepare for CLAT
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 07:32
Great effort... All the best wishes...
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 08:42
Do economically less well off students use the internet?
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 09:15
Mukherjee, I wonder why you didn't mention Shamnad's name in this. CLATHacker was your creation, but its aim never was 'to increase the diversity' of students entering law schools.

The noble idea belongs to Shamnad who has started the 'diversity' project. This, everybody in NUJS knows.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 10:47
AN innovative effort, it require ample advertisement.I will apprise aspirants known to me It may have an elitist reach but certainly it is commendable.Well done Ramanuj
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 12:08
@#5

the aim of CLAThacker is to make resources available for everyone from the first day it was created. 'increasing diversity in law school' is a really nice phrase, and definitely not conceived by me, but i remember how difficult it was for my parents to finance my law entrance coaching, and i always wanted to do something about it.

Shamnad sir has a brilliant project in the pipeline with respect to increasing diversity in law schools. it could address the problem of outreach to those who do not have access to internet and are located in villages. I am involved in it and proud to be so. Shamnad sir is a man of much bigger calibre and i am absolutely glad to be of any help at all to his work.

having said that, i am not writer of this article and I hope u understand that i do not control what is written here. If i wrote a blogpost on diversity in law schools i'd surely have mentioned Shamnad sirs initiative.

i may have created the forum, but it is the members who have contributed to it and made it sustainable and useful. i think it will be silly to fight over who's idea is what. I'd completely love it if someone hijacks the idea and make something better and more useful.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 12:16
way to go ramanuj bhaiya
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Like +1 Object -0 LegalPoet 05 Mar 10, 13:06
NUJS students seemingly are very entrepreneurial. First it was Ashish Arun with his LPO and now we have Ramanuj with CLATHacker.

Nice work guys!
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 13:55
being a nujs alumni i wonder if nujs's progressively unimpressive performance in moots has anything to do with the generation of new and innovative ideas among its students. perhaps, and i would like to think so, the nujs student community has over time stopped caring abt its collective ego and the need to compete and concentrated more on broadening their horizons. whether that makes them better lawyers is debatable, but it does make them very interesting individuals. Amen.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 16:06
@ 7 - The blog/website is a nice effort, as something that may contribute towards a students' CLAT preparation. But, -

(@ Kian AND Ramanuj):
It's disappointing that Shamnad Sir's name does not find mention here. While Ramanuj has been blogging on CLAT preparation for sometime, Mr Shamnad Basheer, one of our finest teachers at NUJS, put together a community outreach program to increase the diversity of students taking the CLAT which he announced as a working model in January, 2010. His indeed is a unique and commendable effort, quite different from what we have seen from other organizations which provide sources of information for CLAT preparation.

Whether it is sloppy research before publishing this article, or false pretense, it's definitely a little shocking to see Ramanuj being credited for that! Yes, it may not matter who conceives an idea as long as others can chip in with action. But it is wrong to not give credit to someone where it is due. Even wronger to credit someone else.

@ 10 -
The moots were a disaster this year, in part because we see students doing many other things apart from mooting, but mostly because of other internal matters with the MCS (politics/money matters). But, all those internal matters seem to be issues which should drag down the performance of this year alone. Next year will definitely be better.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 21:04
a brilliant idea, and well executed! all the best wishes for its success!
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 22:29
Hey ramanuj. Good job. visited the site and was very impressed with work. A small suggestion - was wondering, since there is a possibility that people who are not very well versed with internet will be using this site, a small tab helping them go around and understanding the website will be helpful. They will be able to do much more then just wandering around aimlessly. I am obviously referring to the lot who do not have much resources and unlimited banwidth!
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Like +0 Object -0 kianganz 05 Mar 10, 23:18
Thanks for your feedback. I understand that CLAThacker and Shamnad Basheer's initiative were conceived completely independently of each other and just happened to coincide in terms of timing. They also take a different approach to the problem, although there is considerable overlap.

We had also ommitted to include a comment from Basheer in the original article, which we have now added above.

Basheer commented: "The platform really leverages the power of web 2.0 to help a diverse section of students to take a good shot at CLAT. And the fact that it is run by someone who, despite having studied in a non English medium school managed to top NUJS entrance, lends it a lot of credibility. And offers hope to a number of students."

I accept that this should have been included in the original copy of the article and regret any confusion caused.

Best regards,
Kian
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 05 Mar 10, 23:56
thank you for the clarification kian.

CLAThacker has been online since December 2009.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 06 Mar 10, 22:02
Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam while laying the foundation stone of H.N.L.U. Raipur had expressed his concern about national law schools being inaccessible to everyone. his concern was th force behind a state quota in h.n.l.u. Today h.n.l.u has students from some of the remote tribal belts of chhattisgarh. our alumini is going places in the legal and corporate circle, these include many for whom before h.n.l.u, law was jst an impossible dream.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 07 Mar 10, 11:28
this is a good effort. it will especially help ppl from the lower middle class who cannot afford expensive tuition. but i'm not sure it will help village students as most of them don't know english (i'm not being elitist here)

anyway, well done!!
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 07 Mar 10, 21:41
ENTREPRENEURSHIP in any institution, educational or otherwise is always a GREAT sign. It indicates the taking of 'THE NEXT BIG STEP' towards evolution. Congrats to Ramanuj and others in NUJS who have taken this wonderful step. Other law schools could take a lead and follow the model proposed by Mr. Basheer.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 08 Mar 10, 01:46
I fail to understand what basheer has done yet. his ideas are still in pen and paper, and even a single student is yet to benefit from it. I will congratulate ramanuj because he went ahead and id something instead of 'announcing' a project and doing nothing about it.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 08 Mar 10, 03:00
@ 19

Setting up a website and getting your friends to post on it is one thing. Putting together a program to actually GO to rural areas and to give access to those who can't even think of accessing the internet is an altogether different thing. Both the initiatives are good - hell, any initiative in this regard would be a step in the right direction. Which one will be more effective is a matter of opinion and something that we'll find out with time. Personally, I feel that Mr Basheer's would be qualitatively successful and CLATHacker quantitatively.

As for what Mr. Basheer has done yet, #19, things don't happen overnight. The model requires partnerships and a lot of work. Eager to get it done earlier? Volunteer.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous guest 11 Mar 10, 13:15
so how many villages are you covering this year?
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Like +0 Object -0 LegalPoet 15 Mar 10, 04:23
For the latest on this read Prof. MP Singh's (the VC at NUJS) letter here http://www.nujs.edu/downloads/vc-letter.pdf
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Like +0 Object -0 rana rathore 13 Sep 12, 02:44
all paid news.
is there any personal setup between Ramanuj mukherjee and legally india.
these all are fake.
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