Posts by Diwakar

IDIA Scholar shines at Vis East

By on Apr 16, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

IDIA Scholar shines at Vis East

The following post was written by IDIA scholar Shivam. He is a student of NUJS, Kolkata and his team recently reached the semifinals of the prestigious Vis East Moot Court Competition. It was 19th September 2014, when the result for moot internals at NUJS was released and I was selected to go for the 12th Willem C. Vis (East) ICA Moot. A total number of 108 law schools from all over the world participated in the 12th edition in which the NUJS team featured in top four teams. The moot proposition was released during the October vacation, and started preparing for it immediately. Working for the moot itself was an enjoyable experience as the problem was very practical; it was a perfect blend of arbitration and commercial law. In this year’s edition of the problem, the procedural aspect of the dispute is based on the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), while the substance of the dispute centers around the interpretation and application of the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The oral rounds were more interesting, as we had to plead in front of practicing arbitrators from different countries and jurisdiction (common law and civil law). I learnt new things in every single rough right down to the semifinals. En-route we faced touch challenge from teams from New York University, Florida University, Chicago University and the likes Apart from the moot there were a number of fancy dinners, parties and ferry rides. One of the most interesting part was that we met a lot of people, both participating teams and arbitrators, and I enjoyed explaining to them about the legal system in India and the law relating to arbitration. It was a six month process altogether, but I should say it was a very challenging experience, as it taught us a lot. At last, I would like to thank Shamnad Sir and the whole IDIA family for being so supportive, this would not have been possible without your help. Had it not been the relentless support of the IDIA family, financial or otherwise, I would have never been able to participate in such...

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IDIA Scholar gets placed: Our First.

By on Apr 6, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

IDIA Scholar gets placed: Our First.

Arindam Bhattacharjee, an IDIA Scholar from our first batch, is presently in his 4th year at NLIU, Bhopal, and has just secured a job at Khaitan & Co., one of India’s premier law firms! We asked him to share his thoughts on his commendable achievement and his journey over the last 5 years. His post follows.   4th April, 2015 was a memorable day in my life. On this day I secured a job at Khaitan & Co. and fulfilled my aspirations of having a better life for me and my family. The result of the placement process was beyond my wildest imagination. While on zero-day I secured a job at Khaitan & Co., one of the best law firms in the country, I had also been offered jobs by two other prominent institutions. My immediate reaction was one of awe, disbelief and eventually relief! The whole journey started when I accidentally came across the CLAT brochure and took an instinctive decision to give CLAT. With the help and guidance of IDIA, I cracked CLAT with a rank of AIR 343. I got admission in National Law Institute University, Bhopal. Since then the journey has been memorable. During my life in law school, I always remained focused on maintaining a good academic record. I interned with prestigious organisations like Samvad Partners, JSA, Crawford Bailey & Co. and the Chamber of Protik Prokash Banerji. All these internships were great learning experiences and helped me in growing academically and as a person. I was also involved actively in student activities like NLIU Law Review, Placement Coordination Committee, Alumni Cell. I also took part in co-curricular activities like Moot, ADR, Client Counseling competitions. Recently I participated in the 7th Symbiosis B. Krishna Memorial National IPR Moot Court Competition held at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. During this entire journey IDIA has been a constant companion and has helped me by providing me with career counseling, internships and preparing me for job interviews. I really believe in the goal of IDIA and remain committed to the cause of IDIA, looking forward to helping other IDIA Scholars like me in their pursuit of...

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Unfinished Business: Reforming ‘Testocracy’?

By on Mar 4, 2015 in Blog | 2 comments

India stands on the foundation of promise of equality and equal opportunity. Our colleges and universities are meant as tools of achieving social mobility. But are they really performing their role? Acclaimed civil rights advocate Lani Guinier in her recent book, The Tyranny of the Meritrocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, argues that the merit system which guides the admission criterions of the American Institutions are functioning to select privileged elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies. The term ‘meritocracy’ has been coined by British Sociologist, Michael Young, who envisages a group of elite that has received its pedigree from test scores and not from ancestry. The term ‘testocracy’ has been used by critics of current admission criteria as a means of highlighting the ways in which selection policies heavily dependent on standardized tests are neither fair nor functional. Testocratic merit makes the assumption that the test scores are the best evidence of applicants’ worth, without paying attention to the surrounding circumstances that shape an individual. Essentially, the ‘test’ criterion is fraught with two difficulties:First, the testing pattern envisages a single uniform way to complete the job, and then tests applicant on qualities that are in tune with this status quo method of completion. Therefore, the approach negates the various approaches that can be used with equal dexterity to complete the job. Second, it ignores several built in biases that privilege those who are already quite advantaged. It discriminates against women, people from the lower caste and class across a nation. The divide caused by this system is further accentuated by the psychic consequences imbedded in a ‘meritorious’ individual and the society in general.First, it inculcates the idea that people who are left behind are somewhat less worthy thereby creating a new form of inequality. Second, people who have risen through this system of meritocracy tend to have a greater sense of entitlement to all the fruits of their effort. What is interesting about inequality in the meritocratic societies is not the fact that they exist in reality, rather it is the society in general and people at the top who believe that those at the top deserved what they had. They fail to realise that their educational background and their grades are perhaps a better indicator of their parent’s income and their upbringing than their performance in college. While some might argue that the testing standard by itself is not flawed, but it is rather a reflection of the stark reality of an unequal society that we continue to live in. Although the veracity of the claim cannot be rejected, but it still remains our duty to ensure that access to higher education is not perpetuating the inequality by keeping out students who have grown up in underserved communities. As a part of the reformation, Professor Guinier advocates the replacement of ‘testocratic merit’ by a ‘democratic’ definition of merit that considers among other things, the character of an individual. Her idea of democratic merit is based on the conception of education, as a public good. She believes that admission criterion should be based on the degree to which they help the institution and its constituent contribute to the society. She believes that skills like leadership, the ability to collaborate with other, resiliency serve as much more important traits for a person’s success in a democracy. One of the methods by which such skills can be tested includes the test of character. An apt example for such an assessment would unquestionably be the Bial-Dale Adaptability Index developed by Posse Foundation. It is designed to...

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New Beginnings: IDIA Mumbai Chapter Launched

By on Feb 27, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

New Beginnings: IDIA Mumbai Chapter Launched

  It gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of the Mumbai Chapter of IDIA. The Government Law College Legal Aid Committee has been extremely supportive of IDIA’s intent to start operations in Maharashtra, and played a crucial role in the formation of the Chapter. The students of Government Law College, Mumbai, were very enthusiastic in responding to the call for student volunteers, and the Chapter was constituted quickly. On February 15, 2015, the members of the newly formed Mumbai Chapter met to discuss the way forward. Under the stewardship of Arnab Roy (Director In-Charge), Shachi Jain (Team Leader), and Ekta Verma (Deputy Team Leader), the team conducted a brainstorming session. The team decided to organise a promotional rally, starting from Churchgate Station and culminating at the Gateway of India with the enactment of a street play depicting the objectives and agenda of IDIA. The team also discussed creative ideas to make the rally more effective and discussed plans to approach schools for sensitisation programmes. At this occasion, the team also had an opportunity to meet and interact with Mr. Shaswata Dutta and Mr. Arpan Narayan Chaudhuri, lawyers from J. Sagar and Associates and Amarchand & Mangaldas respectively. Mr. Dutta and Mr. Chaudhuri passionately explained the driving force behind their continued association with the IDIA. They emphasized the importance of keeping the bigger picture in mind at all times and not getting caught up in the mere delegation and fulfillment of duties. They inspired the team to put in their best. On February 20. 2015, the Mumbai Chapter conducted their first sensitization at the Marwari Commercial School, Chira Bazar, Marine Lines. The IDIA team addressed the students at the Marwari Commercial School about the life at a Law College and the entrance exams to gain admission into the various law colleges across the country. The discussions also included necessity of rules and regulations in life and the role of a lawyer in the society. After a productive session, the students were informed about the IDIA Aptitude Test to be held at Government Law College, Mumbai on the 28th of February at 12 pm after a walk to awake. The Mumbai Chapter is all set to inspire many others and help them pursue their dreams of becoming great lawyers! Come join...

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Just a little nudge

By on Feb 4, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

We’re often overwhelmed by the enormity of building an inclusive society through education..something we seek to do at IDIA. And yet small and simple “nudges” and “ideas” can make a huge difference. We don’t need to always start big. We can think big, but perhaps start small. And small is how we started at a tiny little school in a tiny quaint hill station called Pelling. Today, we can speak proudly about a list of things we have done over the years, which has resulted in us reaching out to thousands of people. We are handholding and supporting over 50 underprivileged students in pursuing their dreams. From a classroom in Pelling, we have snowballed into a Pan-India movement. We must keep reiterating this story, so that we don’t forget the impact of small things. In a wonderful article, Ms. Susan Dynarski, discusses the power of a “nudge”, which could substantially alter the lives of people. We’re great fans of the concept of a nudge  and have used it in our piece for a Harvard law project.  The article is a great read for everyone. We need to come up with small innovations of this sort that will increase our reach. Helping a wider pool of candidates. In fact our experience shows that CLAT form filling itself can be a huge bottleneck. So going forward, we could think of various nudges to help to a wider set of candidates (even those not necessarily trained by...

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