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The CLAT Journey:
Most of the students join a coaching center which shows the path to a bright and golden future from a top-NLU. The students are told about the mooting culture, diverse opportunities, and most importantly the lucrative job offers which students usually get after graduating from a top-ranked NLU. Allured by these combined factors, parents end up paying hefty fees to these coaching centers in order to secure a seat for their children in one of these NLUs.
With so many aspirations in mind, when a CLAT aspirant fails to get admission into a top National Law School, he/she is completely shattered. Students are then compelled to make a difficult choice from the options available – getting an admission in a private law school, a lower-ranked NLU or even taking a drop. Dissatisfied with the results, the coaching centers convince such students to take a drop. Various promises are made to convince the students including that they will definitely get into a top-NLU by taking a drop.
Should I drop a year?
Taking a drop year is the most difficult decision in a student’s life because there is a lot of pressure from family and society. So, if you have just cleared your 12th standard and are not satisfied with your CLAT rank, then you may take a year-drop for your preparation. But keep in mind; take a drop only if you have confidence in yourself that you deserve better. This confidence should not be extrinsic i.e. external motivation coming from coaching institutes, parents, peers, etc.
A drop year is a journey that requires a lot of commitment, hard work, and most importantly patience. Many thoughts would revolve around your mind especially- whether I will get into a top NLU or not? But trust me guys, whatever may be the result, a drop year teaches you a lot more than just your syllabus for CLAT.
After being dissatisfied with the first drop many students even go for another drop year. In my opinion, it is usually unfruitful. Also, you must consider that despite being so much popular, the CLAT Examination has always been a subject of controversy.This is not just related to the question paper but the technical glitches and the way in which the exam is conducted. So, are you willing to risk your drop year?
The concept of Opportunity Cost is also very important in this scenario. It is the loss of other things in order to gain the alternative. So, if you are taking a year or two as a drop then keep it in mind that you are losing the 1 or 2 years of your income which you could have gained if you had begun your law career earlier.
So, if you are going to give it a try next year then you should consider certain things before finalizing it:
- Your Mental health status
- Family’s Opinion
- Financial Condition
So, a drop year can help you in a lot of ways but before taking a drop think wisely and be cautious.
NLU v. Non-NLU
Which college is better NLU or Non-NLU? This is a big debate that is ultimately of no use. Even students from lower NLU’s fall into this trap and compare their college with that of the known top NLU’s. This is because the coaching centers usually boast about the bright future only from top NLU’s and never from any other college or university. However, when you actually come to work in the legal industry you would know how brilliant and diligent some people are despite being from a Non-NLU.
We agree that there are some inherent benefits of getting into a top National Law School but we would be wrong in saying that you won’t have an illustrious law career if you don’t land into one of these known law schools.
Many people in the legal fraternity are of the opinion that there is a huge gap between how law schools prepare the students and what the industry demands. It would be cherry on the cake, if a law student learns these practical skills which the industry demands along with his/her law school activities. This way even a non-NLU student can multiply his chances of securing a job.
Why do you want to get into an NLU?
So, you prepared for the CLAT Examination but could not get into an NLU or if you got into one, is getting into that one dream NLU the only goal why you are going to study law? Is the lucrative package you heard of is your motivation to get into a National Law University?
A student must ask himself/ herself, the reason for studying law. You must have a good ‘Why’ in order to succeed in this competitive profession. CLAT is just the first step towards a career in law.
Just reflect upon the successful legal career of Harish Salve, Sr. Advocate Supreme Court of India and Queen’s Counsel. Harish Salve is a qualified Chartered Accountant and he completed his LLB from Nagpur University? Nagpur University was not that keen on attendance and so Mr. Salve used to intern at Dadachandji & Co., a Delhi-based law firm during his law school. Eventually, he started his career with the same law firm. Similarly, other legal stalwarts had their own ways to make a mark in the profession.
NLUs- The way to a secured Law Firm Job?
Have you heard that once you secure a seat at a National Law University, you will get placed with a package in lakhs? We hear this statement a lot of times, during a CLAT Preparation. Maybe it is to motivate the aspirants during the CLAT journey. The good Placements at NLUs can’t be denied completely. However, only students from the top 5-6 NLUs have the privilege of getting recruited at a Tier- 1 Law Firm or Foreign Law Firm on Day Zero. Does that mean others don’t have a chance to get recruited at a Top Law Firm at all? Certainly Not.
Top Law Firms are recruiting about 30-50 freshers each year. If you are not one of those studying at a Top National Law University, you can still make it to a Tier -1 Law Firm as a fresher through PPOs. Even starting with a boutique law firm is not a bad idea. You can always try to get recruited at a Tier-1 Law Firm through Lateral entry.
Important Things you should look for in a Law School
The Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed the outlook of parents and students for selecting a perfect law school. The online education era drastically affected the amenities and infrastructure a law school has to provide for the overall development of its students. During these tough times, the quality of education is continuously losing its essence due to online mode, moreover, law is such a profession that requires practical experience more than theoretical learning. Students while selecting the law school should keep this factor in mind and ask their friends, seniors about the quality of education in their law school.
Taking admission into NLU these days is no different from taking admission into a State Government University or private university. As the teaching process is completely online-based which gives them no different exposure for the field. However, good faculty and professors play a vital role in distinguishing the standards of law school. The guest lectures, seminars, and workshops give the students additional experience of various fields of law which may not be available to students who joined any random law school.
The campus recruitment agency/cell/committee is the most vital one when it comes to securing future job and internship opportunities. Parents and students should look for an active recruitment cell in a law school that helps students secure internships and placements. A Law School should definitely provide time to intern at Law Firms, Law Chambers, and other organizations so that the students are exposed to the practical world.
Selecting a University becomes easy if you have already decided which path you would like to travel after your graduation. So, for someone who is looking to enter into litigation, a college with good mooting culture would be preferable. Similarly, if you want to start preparing for the judiciary exams from your first year itself, it would be better to enroll in a university that does not frequently bother you with exams and assignments. These were some of the essential things students should look for in a law school while planning to take admission in a particular University.
How to select a private law school
Many students who are looking for a good private law college just look at the college rankings by different ranking agencies. Also, a lot of websites will show you the ratings of private colleges, and trust me most of them are not at all reliable. Therefore, we advise you to talk to someone who is currently studying in that particular college or has been its alumnus. The reason why I am saying this is because this would let you know the reality or the present condition of that particular college to which you have decided to take admission.
Now, how to contact a student or alumnus of a particular college? It would be good if you have a friend, cousin, or acquaintance in that particular college. But if don’t know anyone then LinkedIn is the best place. One can contact people through LinkedIn and there are people who would definitely come to help you.
Tips for the new batch:
1. It is strongly recommended for the students who are going to start their life at law school that you should never compare your law school with that of other known law schools. This would only frustrate you, instead, work on improving yourself and prove the name of the college in which you are studying.
You should always do a basic background check and research on the academics, opportunities, and resources that are provided in the law school which you are going to choose.
2. There are a lot of coaching institutions that suggest you choose a particular private college instead of choosing an NLU which is not on the top list, but one should always go for a background check about the recommended college. To know about a college you can take opinion from its alumnus or students.
3. You can also approach any of your friends who are currently studying in an NLU or in a non-NLU. This would give you a clear picture of the features in an NLU and what to look for in a Non-NLU.
4. This pandemic has affected the mental status of many CLAT aspirants and one might feel depressed while not getting a seat into the top NLUs. However, Life is all about the next chance, so don’t ever get upset with your performance in CLAT (it is just a step to your legal career) rather be optimistic about your law school life and work hard.
Please, stay away from the maze of NLUs v/s Non-NLUs. It totally depends upon the hard work of a student. Many students are doing a great job (professionally) in their life despite not being from an NLU. The reason lies in their hard work and commitment to achieve something big. When you enter college, you will see the real challenge and competition among the students. I would suggest you have proper planning and guidance, in order to ace in your law school as well as in your life.
We wish you Good Luck!
Note: The opinion of the authors is based on their experience. The readers are free to disagree or deviate from the same.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of Legally Flawless or its members.