• 06 June 2017

    IDIA diversity scheme projects 9 out of 50 students to make NLU cut, seeks support for funding

    Exceeding last year’s tally by one, eight Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholars from non-traditional backgrounds have made it to national law universities, with one scholar making it to NLU Delhi.

  • 17 November 2016

    Visually challenged IDIA grad, who was stopped from becoming a judge, wins big in HC

    Arepalli Naga Babu - a former Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholar and 2016-graduate of NLU Odisha - has won the right to take a judicial services exam with additional time to compensate for his disability, after initially having been denied to even sit for the exam in the first place.

  • 21 May 2015

    Clat rank 30: IDIA diversity scholar from Kerala gets into NLSIU

    The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) to legal education initiative has already clinched an NLSIU Bangalore seat this year, with its Kerala scholar Yamuna Menon attaining rank 30 in the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2015 results.

  • 10 November 2014

    CLAT in Hindi this year? Find out why a CLAT online & in Hindi could be ‘disastrous’

    HindiHindiThe Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2015 question paper may have Hindi translations of all questions, below their English language versions, reported Times of India.

  • 05 September 2014

    Jindal: World’s first law school to have more women than men teachers, highlights ‘embarrassing’ global gender balance in academia [Spoiler: It’s not the first]

    Face of legal education: unequalFace of legal education: unequalJindal Global Law School (JGLS) Sonepat now has more women in its faculty than men, claiming to be a more gender-equal law school than any other.

  • 05 May 2014

    IDIA raises Rs 72 lakhs as Mohan Gopal says diversity initiative should become redundant

  • 11 April 2014

    O’Melveny Singapore offers internship carrot to encourage IDIA student volunteers

    Singapore carrotSingapore carrotInternational law firm O’Melveny & Myers (OMM) has committed to select one intern per year from a pool of law students volunteering for the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative.

  • 06 February 2014

    As Shamnad takes backseat, IDIA looks to hire CEO for ‘next phase’ & to build next gen of local community leaders

    Shamnad BasheerShamnad Basheer The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative, which seeks to encourage law students from non-traditional backgrounds to join national law schools, is looking to move into a next growth phase.

  • 06 June 2013

    Eight IDIA diversity scholars make it past first CLAT list, look for donors

    Eight scholars supported by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) initiative secured seats in six national law universities (NLU) after making it past the cut-off for the first university allotment list of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2013.

  • 05 June 2013

    Five Kerala CLAT students allege they were dumped to CNLU despite Nuals preference & one ST ignored

    CLAT complaintsCLAT complaints Six Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2013 LLB aspirants have alleged mistakes in the allotment list.

  • 09 April 2013

    CBSE schools to teach law to kids. Early dis/advantage?

    Gearing up for law earlyGearing up for law early 11th-standard students in 200 Indian schools may have “legal studies” as an elective subject option academic year 2013-14 onwards.

  • 06 June 2012

    IDIA diversity initiative wins 11 students national law university places but faces funding gap

    Eager legal eagles all ears in SikkimEager legal eagles all ears in Sikkim11 out of 40 students coached for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2012 by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) free coaching program, made it to six NLUs in the first admission lists this year, including NLSIU Bangalore, NUJS Kolkata and NLU Jodhpur.

  • 13 October 2011

    IDIA CLAT diversity project’s aptitude test to be five times larger on 6 November

    The IDIA diversity initiative’ second national aptitude test (I-NAT) has scaled up to 19 test centres, aiming to reach more than 400 schools across the country to select students from non-traditional backgrounds to take the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) and enter top national law schools.

  • 16 June 2011

    IDIA diversity initiative achieves 22% NLU-entry strike rate [UPDATE: interview with topper going to NLSIU]

    Diversity-Sikkim-classDiversity-Sikkim-class Eleven students out of 50 trained by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) program have been selected to join various national law universities (NLUs).

  • 23 March 2011

    IDIA diversity project to offer free CLAT prep for 1,000 students

    The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) project is offering free preparation courses for the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) to 1,000 students with limited financial means across 12 cities.

  • 02 July 2010

    Ambitious support / Issue 55

    Legally India newsletterFor a firm that first made its name as a capital markets boutique, the fact that that S&R Associates did not have an office in India's financial capital was always glaring.

    Now, after months of planning and speculation, S&R is finally (almost) ready to open in Mumbai. It clearly means business in One Indiabulls, with co-founding partner Sandip Bhagat rolling up his sleeves and relocating from Delhi.

    S&R's ambitious aim is to continue its diversification from capital markets into mainstream corporate work and even into litigation. With a client base of banks and corporates babysat through years of fund raisings, S&R could potentially really shake up the Mumbai market. Watch this space.

    Another firm that has so far strangely been absent from Mumbai is Induslaw, which this week took Nishith Desai Associates' former Bangalore office and funds head to strengthen its offering in the space. Nishith Desai meanwhile, saw the return of its senior Silicon Valley-based partner who will take charge of Bangalore.

    Elsewhere, lawyers from Krishnamurthy and Co, Trilegal and Wadia Ghandy have done the socially responsible thing and pledged to fund and support NUJS Kolkata's new diversity project IDIA. Law students, now from across three colleges, have been visiting youngsters from disadvantaged rural areas and teaching them how to crack an opening to India's national law schools.

    And supporting the project could even make financial sense in the long run if it results in a deepening of the graduate talent pool.

    Also little surprise this week that a sixth writ petition has been filed against the bar exam, this time by a Nalsar Hyderabad student.

    Meanwhile, the government also notified the new service tax regime yesterday. We have dissected and summarised the details.

    Earning fees

    Luthra & Luthra is representing Sony TV against the BCCI int a cricket IPL media rights dispute against the licensee WSG.

    Also, two AZB M&A deals for the World Bank's sustainable investment arm and a $253m IPO of Ind-Barath Power for AZB, Luthra & Luthra and Jones Day. And more deals this week with Khaitan & Co in the private equity and Link Legal in the Maldives projects space.

    Comment of the week

    Solicitor general and BCI chief Gopal Subramanium engages with students about the bar exam: "i am not in the least intending to harm anyone's professional career. on the contrary i need to tell you the truth about the exam..."

    Forum discussion of the week

    napster gives his view on whether a company secretary course can help your legal career: "I have known a few seniors who got jobs just because they had a cs degree apart from the llb degree." What is your take?

    The best of legal blogs

    nandiireywal: Have you ever wondered how Nandii, everyone's favourite Indian lawyer in exile, bagged that high-paying job at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP? He worked the famed Reywal charm on surly Miss Janine of course. Beware!
    LegalPoet explains what exactly makes NUJS' new diversity project IDIA so worthwhile (as well as rhyming about a frog in a pot)
    socialmath: If India's 1975 emergency were to happen today, would you do your lawyerly duty?
    john2010 celebrates baby Thackeray's decision to study in English.
    Legalbeagle with another catchy, amusing and insightful rhyme on how to survive a reluctant internship.
    RK Mathur argues for a reform of junvenile justice lest society goes to the dogs.
    A great guide to acing CLAT's 2011 GK section.
    And finally, False News With Balls reports on Parival Legal, where legal accumen lies in the genes.

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  • 01 July 2010

    Trilegal, Krishnamurthy, Wadia Ghandy, two law schools, CLAT coach, Gov't join NUJS diversity project IDIA

    Diversity-Sikkim-classDiversity-Sikkim-classThe law ministry, law firms Krishnamurthy and Co, Trilegal and Wadia Ghandy, CLAT coaching institute IMS and law schools NLSIU Bangalore and NUALS Cochin have pledged financial or other support for NUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer's project to increase diversity in the legal profession, which visits poorer rural secondary school students to train and encourage them to apply to top law schools.
    Diversity-Sikkim-classDiversity-Sikkim-classThe law ministry, law firms Krishnamurthy and Co and Trilegal, CLAT coaching institute IMS and law schools NLSIU Bangalore and NUALS Cochin have pledged financial or other support for NUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer's project to increase diversity in the legal profession, which visits poorer rural secondary school students to train and encourage them to apply to top law schools.

    The IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education) project was launched in March, as first reported on Legally India, and will identify bright students in disadvantaged areas and teach them for free to tackle the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) to enter national law schools.

    Trilegal founding partners Karan Singh and Sridhar Gorti have personally pledged Rs 5 lakh to the project, which will pay for learning materials.

    Singh said that while currently it was personal funding by him and Gorti, Trilegal would be fully involved once the project was approved internally, also offering internship places to students selected by the programme.

    "At this point in time its personal - I wanted to be involved in the project at the personal level and they needed the funds pretty quickly," explained Singh. "The idea is that once this reaches some scale, while I will continue to do it on a personal basis, we will bring in not just firm support but also support from the wider community."

    Bangalore law firm Krishnamurthy and Co and Mumbai law firm Wadia Ghandy and partner Ashish Ahuja have also pledged varying financial and logistical support to IDIA, including personal donations and offering internships.

    Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) coaching institute IMS has also agreed to provide unlimited free CLAT coaching places and learning materials for students selected by IDIA.

    IMS national product manager Rajneesh Singh said: "It is actually a very good combination – [IDIA] are the best people to increase the awareness of law and to find talented good students, and it is our area too."

    He added that eight students from Pelling in the North-Eastern state of Sikkim will be attending free CLAT classes in Kolkata and that there were no constraints on the numbers of the programme. "Even if we select 100 or 200 students, it is not a problem."

    According to sources close to the law ministry, law minister Veerappa Moily and will make an announcement next month while also launching a separate training programme for lawyers in rural areas.

    NUJS professor Basheer commented: "The law minister has agreed to support this project in principle and will also look towards creating a scholarship fund for this."

    Basheer noted that the project was progressing well: "Sensitisation programs finished in Bangalore, Tumkur, some districts in Kerala, Sundarbans and Howrah. Also in a blind school in Hyderabad."

    NLSIU Bangalore has also come on board to support IDIA, with Adithya Banavar overseeing the project locally.

    NUALS Cochin student Raghul Sudheesh is co-ordinating the project in Kerala, with 50 students having volunteered to assist with their time.

    NUJS students Diptoshree Basu, Ramanuj Mukherjee and Arnab Roy are leading the initiative in Kolkata.

    Trilegal's Singh said that Trilegal would be supporting IDIA for two main reasons. "There's corporate social responsibility and I think the social responsibility element of it is not just for organisations but for each of us in the profession.

    "Second, we need to widen the net if you look at the other career options and other mainstream opportunities – whether engineers, doctor or MBA grads. Right now [law] is very mainstream: access is to people who have lineage or to bright sparks who feel that profession is at the right time to get into it."

    "But you can not build profession just with bright sparks – you have to go into non-core areas to go a little broader," said Singh.

    IDIA's website and further details are at http://idially.blogspot.com/

    If you wish to fund or get otherwise involved in the project, click here.
  • 31 March 2010

    'Mass movement' for more diverse legal profession kicks off at NUJS

    Diversity-Sikkim-classDiversity-Sikkim-classNUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer has begun a pilot project to increase access to the legal profession to those from poorer backgrounds, seeking to grow it into a mass movement with funding and involvement from lawyers and students across India.
    Diversity-Sikkim-classDiversity-Sikkim-classNUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer has begun a pilot project to increase access to the legal profession to those from poorer backgrounds, seeking to grow it into a mass movement with funding and involvement from lawyers and students across India.

    Basheer and four NUJS students visited a government senior secondary school in the town of Pelling in the North-Eastern state of Sikkim last week, with visits to further towns and villages on the agenda.

    They gave career advice lectures and administered an aptitude test to around 120 year 11 students in order to prepare them for the possible taking of the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) and entry into law school next year.

    "The current student composition at many of the NLUs lack any serious diversity and comprise mainly of English medium educated students from middle class or upper middle class families," said Basheer (pictured below left). "The numbers from rural areas, small towns, lower income groups or non-English speaking schools are deplorable."

    He explained that the principal arguments of why one would want more diversity were very simple.

    "One is the argument that law is an instrument of power and can be wielded to effectuate social justice and change.  Why should a large section of the population not be given access to that power?" he asked, adding that armed with a good legal education these marginalised students would have a  much better shot at improving their lot and the communities they represent.

    "Second, law schools ought to value diversity for its own sake. A more diverse student community engenders a more diverse set of views and discussions in the classroom and makes for better legal education in the process."
    NUJS teamNUJS team{/ppgallery}Current NUJS second year students Tanuj Kalia and Javedur Rahman, and fourth year students Diptoshree Basu and Radhika Sarkar, and (pictured second l. to r.) accompanied Basheer on the first trip to Sikkim, which Basheer self-funded.

    But Basheer said that although this started out as an NUJS group, it would have to turn into a "pan-India mass movement" to become successful.

    One of the main challenges faced, he explained, was cultural. "Some of our brightest students [in Sikkim]who had done well in the aptitude test and seemed eager to seriously consider law as a career faced resistance from parents and teachers because they would want them to be doctors or engineers.

    "There is a huge cultural bias against the law and there has to be a huge sensitisation programme, preferably from people who have some kind of personal nexus [to rural areas]."

    "But students really loved it," he added. "Even the science guys."

    A second obstacle, which affects budding engineers to a far lesser degree, was the level of English language skills, which the ongoing programme is meant to address with classes and practice sessions to "crack the CLAT".

    The third large obstacle, according to Basheer, was the tuition fees charged at the top law schools. Around 10 years ago when Basheer was a student at NLSIU Bangalore, tuition fees were tiered and based on a means-testing system where less well-off students paid lower fees. But he lamented that most law colleges had now abolished this system and charged uniformly high fees that were unaffordable to those from poorer backgrounds.

    However, NUJS has now tentatively agreed to give preference to students from poor backgrounds in the scholarship funds it can provide to up to 10 per cent of students, said Basheer.

    "We want to make it into mass participatory collaborative movement," he added, although he admitted this would require funds and support from a large number of lawyers, law firms and spirited public individuals across India.

    Earlier this year NUJS student Ramanuj Mukherjee independently launched an online social networking platform to help those from poorer backgrounds to "crack" the CLAT online.

    If you wish to assist with funding, time or learn more about Basheer's programme you can email him at

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