Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
www.barandbench.com
Introducing LSAT in India
Apprentice Lawyer

Introducing LSAT in India

Bar & Bench

Are the CLAT and the LSAT on a collision course in India? With the release of the CLAT dates for 2010, Bar & Bench takes a look at what the LSAT has to offer in India, and the future of both entrance tests. Is LSAT the next big thing? Will the CLAT now yield to the international, standardized law school entrance test, the LSAT?

Shruti Nishtala finds out.

Two years ago, a law school applicant had to write separate entrance exams for each of the eleven National Law Schools. The admission process was lengthy and complicated, since every law school had a different admission procedure. A student had to spend a fortune purchasing separate application forms for each law school. The admission process for entry into law schools desperately needed reform.

The introduction of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) in 2008 relieved some of the burden. CLAT integrated the multiple formats into a single format and the various entrance exams into a single exam. So it was no surprise that the number of students who wrote CLAT this year increased from 13,000 to 15,000 students. The enthusiasm of the students was clear when the 2009 topper, Nidhi Modani, scored 175/200.

India welcomed another entrance exam for law schools this year, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).The LSAT is conducted four times a year (May, June, September and December). The first of these tests was conducted on May 24, 2009 by the Jindal Global Law School (JGLS). The number of students who wrote the exam was around five hundred. However, LSAT India scores are only applicable to Indian law schools, with JGLS being the only law school currently accepting LSAT India scores.

The assistant dean of JGLS, Padmanabha Ramanujam, feels that introduction of LSAT India plays an important role in globalizing legal education. “One of the merits of LSAT lies in its transparency,” he says and is quite happy with the response LSAT India received.

CLAT and LSAT are both essential in providing a clear direction to law school hopefuls. CLAT applications and registration cost Rs.2000 whereas the LSAT costs Rs.3000. CLAT scores are now applicable to eleven law schools around the country. LSAT scores, as mentioned, are applicable only to JGLS although Pearson Vue India, the company that administers the test, is confident that exam will soon overtake the CLAT in popularity.

Bar & Bench spoke to Senthil Kumar, the Business and Marketing activities head of the leading law school entrance tutorial, lawentrance.com, who acknowledged, “We implement different methods in teaching LSAT and CLAT since there are no General Knowledge and legal knowledge sections in LSAT.” He also feels that the LSAT is much more structured and demands better language skills when compared to CLAT.

Prof. Veer Singh, the Vice Chancellor of Nalsar University, Hyderabad, denied ongoing rumors about National Law Schools accepting LSAT scores from the coming year, stating, “The LSAT scores will not be accepted by the National Law Schools as the CLAT will function independently.”

The future of LSAT is uncertain since there is only one Law School currently accepting these scores.  When asked about it, Senthil Kumar was optimistic, “LSAT is the next big thing. I’m sure many more colleges will collaborate with LSAT in the coming years.”

Shruti Nishtala is a second year law student at the University Law College, Bangalore.