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IDIA gets Herbert Smith support for scholars in formal tie up for money, internships, jobs

Roddy Martin
Roddy Martin

Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholars will now have a direct route to internship and job opportunities in Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), in addition to financial support during their LLB courses, according to an IDIA and HSF press release.

The press release stated that HSF’s formal collaboration with IDIA was a part of its “commitment to give back to India” and explained:

the firm will provide financial, mentoring and pastoral support to a number of IDIA scholars during the course of their legal education in universities in India. In addition to assistance with fees and ancillary university expenses, the partnership will also see Herbert Smith Freehills providing practical assistance through other means to the IDIA scholars which it will support, such as providing graduate recruitment support and internship opportunities, which can help the scholars in shaping their legal careers.

IDIA supports law school aspirants from the marginalised and underprivileged communities of India in getting access to legal education at an equal platform as their more privileged peers.

HSF partner Roddy Martin commented in the release:

Laudably, the Constitution of India legislates for equality for all in India - equality before the law and non-discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. However, as in many other countries, social and economic exclusion remains prevalent.

Through supporting the excellent work of IDIA, we very much hope that we can help those most in need and most deserving to join the legal profession and improve its diversity and, through that, to help serve India well and also help to foster an environment in which there can be a permanent change in attitudes towards the underprivileged as they begin to make their marks within the legal profession.

As a committed partner, Herbert Smith Freehills looks forward to building a long-term supportive collaboration with IDIA as well as promoting IDIA’s values and goals to Herbert Smith Freehills clients and contacts worldwide.

IDIA founding and managing trustee Shamnad Basheer added:

It is a matter of great honour for us that Herbert Smith Freehills, one of the leading law firms in the world has chosen to partner with us on this important mission to make the planet a more inclusive one. What better way to do this than through the medium of legal education and the consequent creation of leaders from within underprivileged communities.

Herbert Smith Freehills was one of our earliest institutional supporters and had in the past permitted our scholars to partake in their excellent legal training programmes in India. We are truly grateful that they have now proposed to ramp up this support. We are certain that the several IDIA scholars that benefit from this support will make us all proud and help create an ecosystem that is worthy of the best ideals of law and justice.

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) core committee currently doesn’t even provide a subsidy or exemption to IDIA scholars from the hefty application fee for the exam.

One IDIA spokesperson posted on Facebook in March: “The CLAT application form, at Rs 4,000 is about as much as the monthly family income of some of our trainees! And when you consider that students need to take more than just one entrance exam (such as AILET, or regional CETs), to make sure they get in somewhere decent - even this first step to law school is not an easy one.”

HSF has often taken up India-specific charitable endeavours, such as its involvement in the HSF-NLU Delhi International Negotiation Competition (INC), the International Lecture Programme jointly organised in India by HSF and Oxford University (ILP), the annual NUJS-HSF National Moot Court Competition, and the HSF Community Engagement Awards (designed to recognise and champion meaningful and high impact community engagement activity among law students in India).

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