IRAP is a wing of IDIA that focuses on high level research and policy advocacy

in order to create a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem overall. To this end, it continually engages with stakeholders such as universities, law firms, and government agencies.  

Evolving a more optimal framework for legal education

The IDIA Research and Policy (IRAP) wing has carved out a niche for itself by acting as the brains behind several IDIA policies. The initiatives undertaken by IDIA are backed by research conducted by the team at IRAP, which relies on primary and secondary research materials, and other methods of information collection such as petitions and complaints.

IRAP intends to bring about much required change in the system by acting on IDIA’s initiatives and other policy issues that will benefit the cause in the long term. 

Research Spotlight

Reforming CLAT

The Common Law Admission Test or CLAT, which was aimed at creating a uniform basis for selection into Indian National Law Universities (NLUs), has failed to achieve this basic goal. Pursuant to the note by IDIA, the CLAT conducting institution in 2011, announced a change in the detailed syllabus and did away with ‘legal knowledge’ and static general knowledge (GK) questions. IRAP has also advocated for a disabled – friendly entrance examination and the CLAT Core Committee agreed to our suggestions, and allowed differently-abled candidates to avail of scribes.

Study of Law Firms

The IRAP team also conducted a study on the statistics relating to recruitment by the ‘Big Five’ law firms from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 batches of the NLSIU, NALSAR and WBNUJS, and the presence of diversity markers within the students recruited. The study showed that there is a marginal presence of students from low-income backgrounds and students from reserved categories among those recruited by the Big Five law firms.

Diversity Surveys

The National Law Universities have become increasingly elitist over the years due to a variety of factors –  high fees charged at these institutions, an entrance examination that requires extensive and expensive coaching, and most importantly, a lamentable lack of awareness about law as a career amongst low income students. The net result is that many of these law schools comprises mainly of English-medium educated students from middle class or upper middle class families. Prof. Basheer and others have argued that unless we fix the diversity deficit at the law schools soon, we’ll be faced with a serious diversity crisis within the top echelons of the legal profession. Please see below for the results of the IDIA Diversity Surveys.

Others

Some of the other work that IRAP has undertaken include investigating the legal position in India on leeway granted to dyslexic students during competitive examinations and recommendations to TRAI on its consultation paper on ‘Making ICT Accessible for Persons with Disabilities’.

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