CLAT: Common Law Admission Test
Sometime back when students were still figuring out the prospective paycheck capabilities of law schools most of them noticed (some of us included) that they had to write a lot of entrance papers. Bengalooru and its vintage style requiring aspirants to write briefs; Hyderabad with its essays and Raipur with its short notes meant a somewhat disconnected and unreasonably diverse preparation. Not to mention that if it wasn't enough, then the cherry on the cake was the fact that there would be a conflict of dates and timings between law schools and on some of the more comic occasions, people were spotted shuttling across Delhi and Kolkata streets to make it from the end of one paper to the beginning of another. The middle class aspirant also found to his agony that he had to shell out quite a bit of the green paper currency for registration at each law school separately. Amidst all the preparation for being a lawyer on one bright sunny day a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court claiming that a common entrance needs to be conducted for all the unreasonable factors including financial considerations.
Needless to say, that the Court agreed with the sorry tale of the "harrowed law aspirant". So it happened, from the hallowed annals of the Supreme Court was born one of our country's most suave, stylish and utterly attractive professional examinations: The Common Law Admission Test or as we more popularly know it: The CLAT. Of course nobody really knows what the 'A' in CLAT stands for; is it 'aptitude', 'admission' or just plain and simple 'arrogance!'.
Following quickly in the footsteps of the "Jyeshtha Putra" (Eldest son) tradition of India it was decided that the CLAT shall be conducted by the National Law Schools in descending order of their age, starting with the oldest and by far the most successful: National Law School of India University, Bangalore. In 1988 the quite suburban Bangalorean locale of Nagarbhavi had rechristened itself as the new hub of the gen next Indian youth, the aesthetic home to the hottest new academic fortress of India in the form of NLSIU. Two decades later, in 2008 as the first CLAT was being hosted by NLS, the spotlight was on "Nags" (as nagarbhavi is fondly referred to by NLSites) even brighter than usual.
It was a huge overhaul and the surprises reminded everyone of Forrest Gump and Tom Hanks famous line "Life is like a box of chocolates". The entire legacy of the subjective section was thoroughly wiped out for an all-objective, 200 question sprint-marathon of 120 minutes. There were liberal amounts of the various traditionally strong areas including English, GK, Maths, Logic and Legal Reasoning. The paper reflected maturity and demanded in-depth knowledge of most of the fundamental concepts.
Then came the year 2009. NALSAR University of Law, widely regarded as the closest thing to those crazy law schoolites in Bangalore, hosted the paper. A last minute glitch in the form of a paper leak meant that the law professors for a change had their hands full. To the credit of NALSAR the paper was still quite wholesome especially considering it was made in a short burst of 15 days. The cut-offs soared higher though because of the slightly easier nature of the paper.
The 2010 paper has been very much in line with the non-predictability idea. There was surprising depth in terms of legal aptitude section which in my opinion could have been cleared without substantial preparation.
Now it seems like CLAT is here to stay. It's proven to be a fair and effective method of testing the mental aptitude of the candidates before they get to their dream Law Schools.
For the Law school rankings refer to "The Sorting Hat"