The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Future men in black in reality test

Calcutta, Nov. 22: If you thought practical exercise-books were for biology students only, think again.

Goaded by the recent changes in the Calcutta University’s L.Lb syllabus, which make development of practical skills an important aspect of the under-graduate law curriculum, the city’s law colleges have started making students prepare practical khatas that will be assessed during the university examinations.

“Students will, henceforth, have to submit detailed reports of their practical training in the exercise-books,” South Calcutta Law College principal Tapati Sengupta told The Telegraph. “We have already designed special exercise-books for the students,” she added.

The changes in the syllabus, besides prompting the college authorities to go in for special exercise-books, have also made the students hit the road.

The students of the south Calcutta college, for instance, are going to areas around their institution in auto-rickshaws with microphones blaring requests to attend a day-long free legal counselling camp tomorrow.

Sengupta said the most likely attendants, besides people from the poorer classes, would be women. “Very often, they cannot express themselves freely — particularly vis-à-vis family problems — in the presence of the male members,” she said, adding that the camp will be an ideal opportunity for them to get to understand and clarify legal complications.

Besides campaigning on three-wheelers, the students and college staff are distributing leaflets near their own neighbourhoods to ensure a full house.

“It’s imperative for the students that a full house is there tomorrow,” Sengupta said. “The more the attendance, the more the chance of securing higher marks in the assessment that is going to count a lot during the university exams.”

The fourth practical paper, according to the updated syllabus, carries a 50-mark section on a student’s “experience” of “real-life situation” before he/she dons the black coat.

University officials said the most important aspect of the session — and one that would be closely watched by officials —would be the student’s ability to deal with a client.

Lawyers of repute from all the branches — criminal, civil, consumer protection and environment — will be there to guide the students in their first interaction with the real world of law but they will have to show that they are up to the task when it comes to talking to a client, making them see the finer points of a case and convincing that what’s being suggested is the best way out, said officials.

The changes in the syllabus are also making students attend lectures by eminent lawyers, said officials; last week, for example, former Bar Council chairman Saradindu Biswas spoke to students about the relation between the bar and the bench.

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