Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA)
Empowering Underprivileged Communities Through Legal Education
Creating Community Leaders

Empowering Underprivileged Communities Through Legal Education

Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar and Nelson Mandela. What did they all have in common? They were all trained lawyers who leveraged the law to revolutionalise society and make it more equitable.

Many such Gandhis and Ambedkars are waiting to be discovered..in various nooks and corners of India, particularly in the marginalised communities. Our mission is to find them and then groom them to become exceptional lawyers and community leaders.

In this way, we hope to break the growing elitism in top law schools and in the legal profession, and build a more inclusive India, where we truly empower the underprivileged… by creating capacity from within.

Who we are

IDIA started out as a student run movement in 2010. Today, it is a registered trust, comprising the following trustees: Justice Ruma Pal (a former Supreme Court judge); Prof. (Dr.) M.P. Singh (a leading legal scholar); Shishira Rudrappa (a leading legal entrepreneur); and our Managing Trustee Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer, the founder and the brain behind IDIA.

Our operations team comprises an Executive Vice President and a team of directors; and a strong network of more than 500 student volunteers across 23 different states of India. We are also guided by a strong body of advisors and partners, comprising leading names from the legal profession, academia, industry, civil society and government.

What we do

Sensitisations

IDIA runs on the backbone of its 500+ student volunteers, drawn from leading law universities across India. These student volunteers travel across the length and breadth of India (from the Sunderbans in West Bengal to Baramulla in Jammu & Kashmir) to identify and sensitise underprivileged students to the power of the law, and the diverse range of career options that await them.

Training

Interested students are screened through a basic aptitude test (carefully designed to test logical reasoning and critical thinking abilities). They are then put through a rigorous training schedule for 2 years, including classroom coaching from India’s leading law entrance (Common Law Admission Test or CLAT) coaching centres and trainers.

Scholarships

Once an IDIA trainee is admitted into a law school, IDIA arranges for scholarships to support their education.

Creating CHAMPS

IDIA’s job does not end with merely facilitating law school admissions for underprivileged children. Rather, the ultimate goal is to produce leading lawyers and community advocates who are “creative, holistic, altruistic and maverick problem solvers” (CHAMPS). To this end, IDIA has conceptualised a rigorous training and mentorship programme to help each IDIA Scholar to blossom to their fullest potential.

Our Impact

We’ve had some modest success over the years. While it is impossible to reduce our transformative work into mere numbers, here are some of the “data driven” highlights:

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plus students sensitised to law as a career option
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plus students rigorously trained for the leading law entrance examinations
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IDIA Scholars in top Indian law schools
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percent IDIA Scholars with disabilities

Catch us on Twitter!

Very sad to hear about the passing of Dr Shamnad Basheer from @IDIALaw. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
We spoke to Shamnad a few years ago regarding the wonderful work of @IDIALaw:
https://t.co/R65Dz17SD8

IDIA Sikkim Chapter organized a prayer meet for Prof. Shamnad Basheer at Mamtalaya, a shelter home. The team narrated stories about him. The children and the women from the shelter home sang local songs and some danced as well! A fitting tribute to him!

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