Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bar Exam Coaching Already?

For those of us harbouring notions that Indians aren't entrepreneurial enough, think again. Previous posts highlighted an Indian bar exam in the offing. Despite the lack of any indication from the Bar Council as to what form such exam would take and the likely timelines for its implementation, we already have websites that are beginning to offer coaching for potential bar aspirants!

With coaching centres mushrooming this early in the game, we can be sure that is the next big money spinner in the "legal" arena.

The advent of such coaching centres ought to alert us to the fact that a bar exam cannot be a proxy for effective regulation and accreditation of proper law schools/colleges. For students would simply focus on such bar training through centres, without bothering about the quality of legal education that they receive from the various law schools/colleges.

Secondly, a bar exam simply tests one for his/her capability to practice the law (whether in a court room or in an advisory capacity). A good legal education on the other hand ought to do much more in terms of encouraging one to think critically, drive social change etc . Lastly, the pass or fail rates at the bar exam may not be much of an indication for how good the candidates' law school or college is. Rather all it might tell us is how good or bad the particular bar exam coaching centre (that the candidate went to) is!

3 comments:

Jayant Raghu Ram said...

I totally agree with Prof. Basheer's comments.

There are quite a few problems associated with CLAT. There are not many law school entrance exams like there are for engineering. Effectively, a law school candidate has just one chance in a year to make it, whereas under the earlier system, if a candidate didnt do well in a particular exam, he had other chances. Thus there is more pressure on the candidate in the CLAT system, than in the previous system.

In that way, I consider my self fortunate as my batch was the last which had the the system of each law school conducting its own entrance exam. Speaking from my own experience-for some reason, I hadn't performed well in the NLS entrance exam, whereas I had done quite well in NLU-J's entrance exam...and was successful. Now looking back then, Im glad my NLS entrance exam wasnt my CLAT.

Another drawback with CLAT is that it reduces the scope of law schools to choose candidates of their standards.Under the previous system, these standards were reflected in the entrance exam. For example, NALSAR's exam did give some weightage to essays, whereas NLU gave equal importance to all sections. Thus law schools were able to select the kind of candidates they wanted to.

I seriously think that the current law school entrance exam system should be revamped to have a more holistic approach.

Techtalk said...

Nice piece of work, as usual. Bar examinations in India is not a simple aspect. There are lots of hurdles as well as challenges that BCI would face during this exercise. In the absence of public information in this regard speculations and fears would keep on surfacing. As far as the coaching centre you mentioned in your post, it has already started the enrollment procedure [http://ptlbnews.noads.biz/moodle/] and the same seems to be very promising. However, there is an emergent need on the part of BCI to release public info regarding bar examinations as soon as possible so that the students may have some concrete guidance.

Shamnad Basheer said...

Thanks for your comments Jayant,

CLAT was in effect the result of a SC ruling where the petitioner alleged severe difficulties in having to write so many different exam. You seem to propose moving back to that system? Also, you're right--that we must think through whether the existing CLAT structure is optimal enough or we ought to have other testing parameters as well.