"Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access"

Empowering underprivileged students through legal education.

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About us

The IDIA project was initiated to reach out to these marginalized and under-represented groups, sensitize them to law as a viable career option and help interested students acquire admission to these law schools. It is hoped that such access to legal education would go some way towards empowering the marginalized and underprivileged students and the communities that they represent.

Why law?

Legal education is just not about memorizing hundreds of legal maxims and cases. Rather, a good legal education enables the cultivation of personal autonomy, intellectual independence and the development of critical life skills beyond the traditional goals of teaching/training/learning of specific skills.

IDIA Research

The IDIA Project seeks to empower marginalised communities by fostering access to the leading law schools. Along with sensitisation and intensive training programs, IDIA will also attempt to drive policy in the area of “inclusive” legal education and “diversity” within law schools and the legal profession.

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“RUN SO THAT SOMEONE COULD LEARN” | IDIA Sikkim Chapter organises a Mini Marathon

IDIA Sikkim Chapter organises an ecofriendly minimal waste mini marathon with over 70 participants varying from an 8 year old kid to a 63 year old participant! The event was a grand success and helped secure funds for legal education of students from Sikkim.

IDIA Odisha Chapter conducts Sensitisation sessions for over 300 students in Bolangir in 3 days

3 days. 3 volunteers. Over 380 students sensitized about law.

You read that right! Over a span of three days, from 3rd – 5th April, 2019, a team from IDIA Odisha Chapter consisting of first year volunteers Tuku Padhan and Shreyas Alevoor (the author of this post), led by Team Leader (Legal Aid) Shivendra Pandey, conducted a marathon sensitization drive at Bolangir, Odisha.

A promise to return: Sensitisation session by IDIA Punjab chapter

A sensitisation drive was conducted by members of the IDIA Punjab Chapter on the 5th of April, 2019. This time, they headed to the Government Senior Secondary School, Sidhuwal, Patiala where they were greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of students from the 12th grade for whom the new academic session had commenced recently.

IDIA represents India at the Asialawyers football tournament in Thailand

IDIA adds another feather to its cap by winning the Fair Play award at the Asialawyers 2019, the Asian Football Cup For Lawyers. IDIA Charitable Trust has been conferred the Gold Membership of Mundiavocat (World Cup Football for Lawyers) for a significant contribution towards spreading football among Indian lawyers’ community. Every year, IDIA organizes IDIA Football League (IFL), the biggest charity football tournament for the legal community in India. Its message is to promote diversity through sports.

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya: Baghpat sensitisation

IDIA Delhi team conducts a sensitisation at JNV Bhagpat, 50 kms from Delhi, and gets an opportunity to meet some promising young candidates!

A 3-D Perspective on Indian Intellectual Property: Distinct, Diverse and Democratic?

We’re pleased to announce that University of Pennsylvania Law School and IDIA are organising an IP conference titled: “A 3-D Perspective on Indian Intellectual Property: Distinct, Diverse and Democratic?”. This conference will be held on March 5, 2019 and hosted by the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. It boasts a stellar cast of speakers drawn from the IP profession, industry, civil society, academia and government. Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal (Joint Secretary, DPIIT) will deliver the opening address. And Justice Aftab Alam (who delivered the historic Supreme Court verdict in the Novartis patent litigation and section 3(d)) will be a special guest. Given that “diversity” is a core theme of IDIA, this conference is of special importance to us. We therefore urge all of our IDIA champions, donors, partners and well wishers to please spread the word and to attend personally if this topic/theme is of interest to you.

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IDIA Pune Chapter conducts an eye-opening sensitisation at an ashram near Pune

IDIA Pune Chapter visited the near-by ashram called “Punaruthan Samarasita Gurukulam” (henceforth ‘Gurukul’) located at Chinchwad near Pune. It is run by a social worker, Mr. Girish Prabhune, who has been working for the rehabilitation of tribal children since the past 30 years. The Gurukul houses about 300 children from the age group of 3-20 years and they study from 1st- 12th Std in the same place. Most of these children come from the remotest of areas in Maharashtra.

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‘Mera Parivar Garib Hai’ (‘My Family is Poor’)

The following is an account of the experience of one of IDIA’s PPIL (Promoting Public Interest Litigation) fellows, Abhay Jain, who has been working in some panchayats of Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, as part of his fellowship. He found ‘Mera Parivar Garib Hai’ (‘My Family is Poor’) painted outside all houses in a village, and decided to get to the root of the situation!

IDIA Jharkhand Chapter Conducts Sensitization Sessions for Over 1500 Students in Schools in Dhanbad

Afsar Raza and Md. Saddam Ansari conducted sensitization sessions in the remote district of Dhanbad, which is 160 kilometers away from Ranchi. They conducted the sensitization sessions during the vacations of Chath puja and Diwali. Sensitization sessions were conducted in both government and private schools, after taking prior permission from the respective School Principals. The schools that were sensitized included Jharkhand Public School, +2 High School Balliapur, Mother Teresa High School, Shishu Vidya Mandir Vidayala and several others.

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IDIA Kerala Chapter Conducts Sensitisation at a Girls’ School in Venganoor

IDIA volunteers Amal Antony and Shinto Matthew held a sensitization session on ‘Law as a Career’ at the Government Higher Secondary School for Girls, Venganoor, Thiruvananthapuram.

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IDIA Ranchi Chapter’s Student Volunteers Collect Funds for Relief Efforts during Kerala Floods

IDIA Ranch team collected funds for Kerala flood relief efforts. They collected the money from inside and outside the University. Kuddos to them!

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IDIA organizes its annual conference on Law & Storytelling in Delhi

This year, a unique and engaging theme has been chosen for our flagship event, the IDIA annual conference: Law and Storytelling. We are excited to announce that this year we have two keynote speeches from two renowned dynamic personalities – Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Javed Akhtar.

Inauguration of NLUO – IDIA Accessibility Lab: IDIA Odisha

IDIA Odisha Chapter has been working tirelessly to create a diverse and inclusive environment in the National Law University Odisha. The team is working on a range of issues on and off campus, to in pursuit of its aspirations. It recently inaugurated NLUO-IDIA Accessibility Lab to promote more inclusive environment in the University.

IDIA Football League 2018 –  A Weekend to Celebrate Diversity through Sport

IDIA organised its 5th annual IDIA #Football League on 6-7 Oct 2018. It started with a fun IFL Night with performances by @AditiRamesh9 and @PoojaNatarajan.
Both days of IFL witnessed nail biting matches as 16 teams were head on for the coveted IFL Cup.

IFL is Back, And it’s Bigger and Better

IDIA Football League (IFL) is back!!

This year marks the fifth-year anniversary of this unique event.

An event that promotes diversity in legal education.  IFL is IDIA’s annual fundraising football tournament in Mumbai that brings together legal professionals to compete on the football field. Funds raised from the league are used for promoting legal education of students from underprivileged backgrounds. It is now a popular league among legal professionals that is conceptualized based on sport’s ability to nurture diversity in the society.

IDAP Interview Series: Interview XVI with Isaac Lidsky

This IDAP interview features Isaac Lidsky, a former clerk for US Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He is also the founder of various startups and nonprofits, graduate of Harvard (cum laude), and New York Times best-selling author of his book ‘Eyes Wide Open’. 

Call for Applications – Disability Rights Fellow

IDAP is a key national vertical of IDIA that attempts to foster a more disability friendly ecosystem within the law schools and the legal profession. It was conceptualized to address the lack of consideration for differently-abled students in law schools and the profession with regard to the opportunities and infrastructure offered to these students. IDAP is looking to hire its first Disability Rights Fellow. The Fellow will be tasked with shaping the very future of IDAP.

Lessons from the Legal Rebel: Lainey Feingold on Structured Negotiation

Leading disability rights lawyer Lainey Feingold wanted to solve problems differently. Rather than the skeptical and distrusting demeanour she feels some American law schools still cultivate amongst their students, Lainey advocates for cooperation, patience, kindness, optimism, and equanimity in her legal practice. She believes that in nearly every field, people are yearning to solve problems without conflict.

Guest Lecture on Ambedkar Jayanti, 2018 – ‘Will the Dalits Survive?’

My name is Trilok Chand and I am proud to be an IDIA scholar. Recently, we organized a lecture on “Will the Dalit Survive?” to commemorate Ambedkar Jayanti 2018 at National Law University, Odisha (“NLUO”). The lecture was delivered by Dr. P.G. Jogdand, a renowned sociologist, and retired Dean – Faculty of Arts, University of Mumbai. Here is an account of this though-provoking event!!

IDAP Interview Series: Interview XV with Judge Ronald M. Gould

This IDAP interview features Judge Ronald M. Gould, who has served on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with distinction since his appointment by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Judge Gould, an alumnus of the University of Michigan Law School, was diagnosed with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis in 1990. While the impact of his disability was initially confined to facing occasional stumbles and numbness in other extremities, his disability has now progressed to a point where he uses a power wheelchair, has no hand mobility and is supported by caregivers around the clock.

IDAP Interview Series: Interview XIV with Tomer Rosner

Tomer Rosner, an Israeli civil servant, developed an optic nerve condition at the age of 13 which eventually led to complete blindness. As a legal advisor to the Parliament of Israel, Tomer’s position is one of great importance and responsibility. He directly advises three parliamentary committees including the committee on internal affairs. This has allowed him to make great contributions to the disability rights movement in Israel. He has played a fundamental role in the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by the Israeli Parliament and inclusion of the copyright exemption in their domestic law. An advocate by qualification, Tomer pursued a Master’s in Public Administration at the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School. In this interview, among other things, he discusses his experience of studying in a mainstream school and the role that the State played in providing adequate support to him during his formative years.

Formal Collaboration between Herbert Smith Freehills and IDIA

We are happy to announce a formal collaboration between Herbert Smith Freehills, a leading global law firm and IDIA. As part of Herbert Smith Freehills India Practice’s wider commitment to “give back” to India, the firm will provide financial, mentoring and pastoral support to a number of IDIA Scholars during the course of their legal education in various law colleges in India. In addition to assistance with fees and ancillary university expenses, Herbert Smith Freehills will also provide practical assistance through other means to the IDIA scholars which it will support, such as providing graduate recruitment support and internship opportunities, which can help the scholars in shaping their legal careers.

IDAP Interview Series: Interview XIII with David Shannon

as an author, activist, lawyer, policy-maker, human rights commissioner, accessibility advisory council founder, first quadriplegic to the North Pole (and accessible parking sign planter!) — and so much more. In recognition of his lifelong work, David was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame, and granted some of the highest citizen honours – the Order of Ontario and Canada. In this interview, David shares that he believes there is a very thin line between people with disabilities, and those without; and that the solutions are often extremely simple. The biggest barriers are often attitudinal — the insidious, subtle lowered expectations of people with disabilities, and the resultant social exclusions. These ultimately lead to what David terms as ‘learned subordination’.

IDAP Interview Series: Interview XII with Judge David Szumowski

Judge David Szumowski. a war veteran, lost his eyesight at age 23 when shrapnel from a grenade hit his face during the Vietnam War. Instead of lamenting over this accident, Judge Szumowski displayed tremendous grit and perseverance to overcome the odds stacked against him.
After becoming blind, Judge Szumowski studied law and spent 12 years in the office of the District Attorney in trial advocacy. Thereafter, he was appointed to the Superior Court of San Diego County in California in the year 1998 and served on the court for 18 years until his retirement. In this interview, Judge Szumowski shatters the myth that a blind lawyer cannot successfully partake in a jury trial as he cannot see the faces of the jurors. While doing so, he provides detailed insights of how he discharged his functions effectively as an advocate and later on, as a judge on the criminal side. Judge Szumowski also shares with us many life lessons on overcoming adversity, in order to lead a meaningful and productive life.

Creative Destruction at it’s Best: The Death of Manual Scavenging?

IDIA had the opportunity to welcome Dr. Bezwada Wilson at its Annual Conference 2017, where he delivered a powerful keynote address on “Creative Leadership and Social Change”. He had rightly pointed out that with creativity and willingness, it is possible to eradicate manual scavenging with technological solutions. And now, Genrobotics, a Kerala based firm, has come up with ingenious solutions for this problem. Dr. Shamnad Basheer writes about this creative advancement that will change potentially the law and practice relating to manual scavenging.

Creative Fund Raising: Legal Luminaries Evolve Ingenious Ways to Support IDIA!

IDIA has always championed creativity in all of its myriad forms. In fact, the acronym for our training programme “CHAMPS” starts with “C” for Creativity—a value we seek to instill in all our scholars. We’re very fortunate in having some of the most creative minds serve on our advisory board. Two of them just helped us raise money in a rather creative way. Justice Prabha Sridevan, a celebrated former judge and a champion of equality and human rights, has been a long-standing IDIA supporter. But her talents are not...

Creating Inclusive Spaces in the Legal Industry

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Creating Inclusive Places : Empowerment Through Equality | Workshop and Training Program

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IDAP Interview Series: Interview XI with Yetnebersh Nigussie

This interview in the IDAP interview series features Yetnebersh Nigussie, an acclaimed disability rights activist and lawyer in Ethiopia. Her optimism and positive frame of mind is best epitomized by the fact that she has described the fact of losing her eyesight at the tender age of a five as an event which freed her from the potential clutches of child marriage. Born in an era in which the very fact of being a woman with a disability in a developing African country would have sounded the death knell for most, Yetnebersh’s indomitable spirit not only helped her pursue her education in a mainstream school but also to become a lawyer and social worker of great repute. After receiving her postgraduate education at the Addis Ababa University, Yetnebersh devoted herself to using the transformative power of her education to open doorways and create opportunities for millions of fellow Ethiopians with disabilities.

IDAP Interview Series: Interview X with Nirmita Narasimhan

Our next interview in this series features Nirmita Narasimhan, a Policy Director with the Centre for Internet and Society. Nirmita did her LL.B. from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University in 2002. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in German and a Ph.D. in Music. As a part of CIS she has done extensive work on web accessibility and was involved in drafting the Indian National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility. She has worked closely with different departments of the Government of India to bring accessibility into their policies and...

Walk the Talk

We’ve been shocked and saddened by the heinous assault on our IDIA student volunteers from WB NUJS. None of us expected that a court order (to prevent the eviction of slum dwellers in the Subhas Sarobar area) would be breached with this level of impunity. And that our students would be ravaged and mauled in this beastly a fashion. Their trauma will take a long time to heal. But we will pursue all avenues of justice, with due regard to the safety and security of our students. Read more.

IDIA Football League 2017 | IFL Night and Gala Dinner

IDIA announces IDIA Football League 2017, the fourth edition of its annual fundraising football tournament for law firms and corporate legal teams, scheduled to take place in Mumbai over 9th and 10th September 2017 at the Turf Park, Jio Garden, Bandra Kurla Complex. IFL is 6-a-side tournament, in which around 20 teams of 11 players will battle it out for winning the IFL Trophy and IFL Plate. This year, the IDIA Football League features a celebratory IFL Night and Gala Dinner on closing day of the tournament. To add to the excitement, we have...

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More Glad Tidings on IDIA Strikes | Message from Prof. Shamnad Basheer

We had recently announced wonderful news about IDIA trainees making it to top national law schools. Prof. Shamnad Basheer, Managing Trustee, IDIA Charitable Trust has an important message to share as more glad tidings keep pouring in!

IDAP Interview Series: Interview IX with Rajesh Asudani

In this IDAP interview, we interview Rajesh Asudani. Born into a family with four blind siblings and limited means, Asudani has displayed immense grit and determination throughout his life to beat the odds against him. Despite having an academic record par excellence in his law college and many awards and honors to his name, Asudani began his career as a railway announcer. Not one to lament, Asudani quickly turned the tide in his favour and secured a job of an Assistant General Manager at the RBI. Asudani speaks to us...

IDIA Scholars Strike Again!

As the sweltering sun summers on, straining the sturdiest of us, here is a piece of news that is sure to rejuvenate. As with earlier years, our IDIA trainees whip up an impressive CLAT strike rate! Out of the 50 students that we trained this year, 8 of them made the cut in the very first CLAT list. And one more made it to the NLU Delhi, which runs its own entrance exam (AILET). These scholars represent a wonderful diversity of talent, hailing from Pattan in Kashmir to Surpura Khurd,...

Nikita Shukla – A Story of True Grit and Determination!

“Nothing can dim the light which shines within” – Anonymous On this note, we are pleased to introduce to you the latest addition to the IDIA Family – a young, bright and highly inspiring girl! A visually impaired aspiring lawyer, her spirit and attitude towards life and the challenges it throws are worth emulating! It is in the rarest of rare circumstances that IDIA takes on a scholar mid-way through his/her journey through law school. However, a student as exceptional as her deserves all exceptions to be made for her! Nikita Shukla is a third-year law student at Government Law College, Mumbai and has seen her fair share of hurdles in life. Her parents wanted to marry her off right after she finished school. However, Nikita was adamant on pursuing further studies so as to become financially independent and fight her own battles! Sadly, her parents refused to support her decision and she was asked to leave the house. Its been three years since – in this period, she made her way to law school and has been performing exceedingly well! Unfortunately, her family continues to sever ties with her and and she has not had any contact with her parents and her siblings. Read on to know more …

In the Backdrop of a Heritage Site, IDIA Reaches Out to a Minority Institution | Sensitisation Stories

IDIA visits New Horizon School, an unaided minority institution in the backdrop of the Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. The team had an exciting Sensitisation workshop, and conducted the aptitude test which garnered the interest of many students in law when none of them had considered law as a career option before. IDIA’s mission is to reach more and more communities to ensure greater availability of legal resources, and for a more diverse legal profession.

My Tryst with the First National Constitutional Law Olympiad | Scholars Achievements

We’re very happy to announce that Yamuna Menon, a 2nd year IDIA scholar at NLSIU, Bangalore, won the first National Constitutional Law Olympiad amongst great odds! She takes us through her exciting journey through this blog post, focusing on the types of challenges she faced and the arduous Constitutional Law exercises she went through to win this. Read on below!

Call for Applications – Fundraising Director

IDIA Charitable Trust is currently seeking applications for the position of ‘Fundraising Director’. We are looking for a committed, passionate and dynamic director to be a part of our small, focused team for taking IDIA to new heights.

IDAP Interview Series: Interview VIII with Senior Advocate SK Rungta

We began this interview series with the principal objective of curating insights from lawyers with disabilities who can serve as ‘waypavers’ and ‘pathmarkers’ for law students and young lawyers with disabilities, in India and beyond. It would be no exaggeration to state that few people fit that description better than our next interviewee, Senior Advocate Santosh Kumar Rungta. Blind since birth, SK Rungta has surmounted challenges most would consider insurmountable and has successfully defied, and continues to defy, what most would consider incredibly difficult odds. Senior Advocate Rungta’s accomplishments would be noteworthy even if he was merely a practicing lawyer – he was conferred with the prestigious senior advocate title by the Delhi High Court in 2011 – but what sets him apart is the fact that he has generously devoted his skills and energy to breaking down many barriers that have prevented the disabled from realizing their full potential.