With students from top law schools getting placed at top national/international law firms, companies and consultancies at salaries as high as over Rs. 13.5 lakh per annum and that also while studying in final/pre-final year, LAW arguably has emerged as one of the finest career options in India in this decade.
What started as an experiment in legal education at National Law School of India University, Bangalore in the year 1986, has become a nationwide phenomenon of high quality legal education in the country being offered presently at 14 National Law Universities, each set up by a special State Act of State Legislatures in various States.
Naturally, admission to top law schools is becoming increasingly competitive with each passing year. For example, the number of CLAT-takers is expected to double only within 4-5 years of its existence. Since National Law School, Bangalore had conducted the first All India Admission Test for admission to its 5 years B.A.LL.B. course in the year 1988, Law Entrance Exams like CLAT have become one of the most popular entrance exams for class 12 students and pass outs seeking distinguished professional careers.
Age-limit & Eligibility for Law Entrance Exams
A candidate should be below 20 years of age as on 1 st July of the year of the entrance exam to be eligible for CLAT and many other law entrance exams. However, the age-limit is 21 years in some top law schools like NLU Delhi, NLU Orissa, G.G.S.I.P. University, Delhi (including Amity Law School), Faculty of Law, Jamia Milia Islamia, etc. Candidates from SC/ST/Disabled category are given a relaxation of 2 years in the age.
Any student who has passed class 12 th exam with minimum 50% marks or has appeared in class 12 th exam is eligible to write CLAT and other law entrance exams. As per a recent directive from Bar Council of India, students who have passed class 10 th and 12 th from Open schools or correspondence are also eligible to write the exam.
So, these are five subjects or tests, which a candidate needs to master for law entrance exams:
a. English - Language & Comprehension
b. General Knowledge including Current Affairs
d. Reasoning - Logical & Analytical
e. Legal Aptitude & Legal Reasoning
Start with Past Papers
It is advisable for every law aspirant to get past papers of CLAT, NLU Delhi, NLU Orissa & Symbiosis Pune which are available from respective law schools on payment. Solving the past papers and doing a careful study of them helps a law aspirant in two ways:
- Candidates know what type of questions are being asked in each area, and
- Where the candidate is lacking and needs to work hard.
Analysis of Past Papers & Advisory in each area
1. English including Comprehension
Based on past papers analysis, we may summarize the syllabus of English for CLAT as follows:
- English Comprehension
- Fill up the blanks
- Spelling Test
- Vocabulary - Synonyms, Antonyms including Latin, French and Legal terms
- Phrasal verbs, Idioms and Phrases
- Para jumbles
- Sentence Correction Tests
- High School English Grammar and Composition by Wren and Martin .
- Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis .
- Objective English by R.S. Agarwal can also be considered for practice purpose.
2. General Knowledge/Current Affairs
As notified by CLAT committee, this section will only test students on their knowledge of current affairs (broadly defined as matters featuring in the mainstream media between May 2010 and May 2011). Reading a good newspaper daily and taking notes are the best way to build GK. Reading a good competition magazine like Pratiyogita Darpan (English) or CSR could be your safest bet (at least six past issues). Candidates must focus on global economic, trade and finance related issues also like developments relating to UN and its agencies, WTO, World Bank & IMF etc. Candidates should go for a good GK book like Pearson's coupled with a latest yearbook like Penguin or Manorama or India 2011 of Publications Division. However, candidates must note that in all exams other than CLAT, static GK will remain important.
This section will test candidates only on "elementary" mathematics i.e ., maths that is taught till the class 10. The areas you need to be comfortable with are percentages, profit and loss, ratio, proportion and variation, simple equation, averages, time and work, time and distance, i.e ., arithmetic and nothing else. Just master the concepts and formulae and practice from an Objective Mathematics book like that of R.S. Agarwal would suffice. You may check NCERT text-books of class 8 to 10 also to recapitulate past learnings.
4. Logical Reasoning
The purpose of the logical reasoning section is to test the student's ability to identify patterns, logical links and rectify illogical arguments. It will include a wide variety of logical reasoning questions such as syllogisms, logical sequences, analogies, etc. However, visual reasoning will not be tested.
Students may rely upon a good textbook on analytical reasoning like that of M.K. Pandey or R.S. Agarwal. A thorough practice on selected areas based upon past paper analysis from any one of the mentioned book would suffice for this section. Time management is very important in this section and it is always prudent to move on to the next question without wasting too much time on one particular question. Students must practice a few hundred questions under strict time-limit to master this area of exam.
5. Legal Aptitude/Legal Awareness
This area asks either legal reasoning or legal GK questions. For mastering legal reasoning questions, candidates need to learn and understand legal principles relating to laws of torts, contracts, crimes, family law and general principles of law. Candidates may opt for a good guidebook like Universal's Guide to LL.B. (21 st Edition, 2011) and the Civics / Political Science text-book of class 11 th /12 th . For Legal GK, Universal's Legal GK is a safe bet. Practicing past papers would also be of great help in this regard.
Top Law Schools without Law Entrance Exams
If you secure good marks, say above 85% in 12 th Boards, in addition to the above entrance exams, also keep a watch on law school admissions of GLC, Mumbai, ILS Law College, Pune and Bangalore University College of Law.