The legal education in India is a dynamic field, where the CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) stands as a transformative exam to reshape the journey of aspiring legal minds. The CLAT exam began in 2008 and today it has achieved the status of the best law entrance examination.
It plays a crucial role in streamlining the admission process of India’s top law schools, especially the esteemed National Law Universities (NLUs).
If you have been wondering CLAT exam is for what purpose or why CLAT exam is given, then we have answered it here in detail with facts.
The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is an entrance examination conducted in India for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate law programs offered at prestigious national law universities (NLUs) and other institutions.
It is a national-level law exam that you can take during or after 12th standard to pursue graduation in law from the real best colleges in India.
Like students give IIT exam to study engineering at IIT colleges, similarly students give the CLAT exam to study law at NLU colleges. From NLUs, the students complete the BA LLB degree in 5 years.
Moreover, the CLAT exam is also conducted for postgraduation in law. So, the candidates who want to do LLM from NLUs after doing LLB give CLAT PG exam.
Now that you know what CLAT means, it is time to understand who is eligible for the Common Law Admission Test.
|CLAT Eligibility Criteria
|IndiansNon-Resident Indians (NRIs)Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs)Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)
|Foreign nationals can also apply but must have a valid passport.
|CLAT Age Limit
|No upper age limit for CLAT Entrance Exam.
|Must have completed 10+2 or equivalent from a recognized board/university.
|For General/OBC/PWD/NRI/PIO/OCI Categories:
Minimum 45% marks in 12th Board Exam.
|For SC/ST Categories:
Minimum 40% marks or equivalent percentage in the 12th standard.
|Students of 12th standard appearing exam in March/April 2024 can apply for the CLAT test.
|Submission of 12th standard exam result at the time of admission is mandatory.
|Aspect of CLAT Exam
|CLAT Full Form
|Common Law Admission Test
|Mode of CLAT Exam
|Offline Paper (Pen & Paper Based)
|Language of CLAT Exam Paper
|Types of Questions
|Objective Type (MCQs)
|Number of Sections in CLAT Paper
|CLAT Exam Duration
|2 Hours (120 Minutes)
|No. of Questions in CLAT Exam
|120 (1 mark for each correct answer)
|Yes (0.25 mark deduction for each incorrect answer)
The CLAT exam is conducted for several objectives aimed at achieving efficiency, fairness, and excellence in the admission process for law schools.
The purpose of CLAT include:
CLAT serves as a centralized examination to streamline the admission process for undergraduate (LLB) and postgraduate (LLM) law programs offered by national law universities (NLUs) and other participating institutions.
The centralized nature of CLAT simplifies the application and admission procedures, making it more accessible for aspiring law students.
One of the key purposes of CLAT is to establish a standardized testing mechanism. The examination ensures that all candidates are evaluated on the same set of parameters, promoting fairness and transparency in the selection process.
Standardization helps eliminate biases and variations that may arise from different examination formats, ensuring a level playing field for all applicants.
CLAT is specifically designed to assess the legal aptitude, reasoning abilities, and academic skills of candidates. This focus on legal aptitude ensures that those admitted to law schools possess the foundational knowledge required for legal studies.
Check the complete CLAT Exam Syllabus.
CLAT emphasizes merit-based selection by generating a merit list based on candidates’ performance in the examination. This list serves as the primary criterion for admission to NLUs and other participating institutions.
Merit-based admissions contribute to the overall excellence of the student body in law schools, ensuring that those admitted are among the top performers in the examination.
This is the main reason why CLAT exam is conducted. CLAT helps identify candidates with a strong academic foundation, particularly in areas relevant to legal studies. This ensures that law schools admit students who have the intellectual capacity to excel in their legal education.
By testing legal reasoning and analytical skills, CLAT aids in the identification of candidates with a natural aptitude for the field of law.
This focus on legal aptitude ensures that admitted students possess the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for success in legal practice and academia.
CLAT attracts candidates with diverse talents and backgrounds, fostering a dynamic and inclusive learning environment in law schools.
The examination’s ability to identify a range of talents ensures that law schools have a diverse student body, enriching the overall educational experience.
The standardized nature of CLAT allows for a fair comparison of candidates from different educational backgrounds and regions. It ensures that merit is the primary criterion for selection, promoting equal opportunities for all.
Another important reason why CLAT exam is conducted is to make the admission process to NLUs transparent.
Candidates and institutions can have confidence in the objectivity of the examination results.
CLAT’s emphasis on standardization contributes to maintaining the quality and standards of legal education. By admitting candidates based on a standardized evaluation, law schools can ensure that their student body meets a certain academic benchmark.
There are a total of 26 NLUs in India. Of these, NLU Delhi doesn’t accept the CLAT score. Rest all the NLUs accept your CLAT score. NLU Delhi accepts the AILET score.
|National Law School of India University(NLSIU), Bangalore
|National Law University (NLU), Delhi
|NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
|West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS), Kolkata
|Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar
|National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur
|National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal
|National Law University (NLU), Lucknow
|Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNLU), Patiala
|National Law University (NLU), Guwahati
|National Law University (NLU), Odisha
|Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna
|National Law University (NLU), Kochi
|National Law University (NLU), Ranchi
|Trichy, Tamil Nadu
|National Law University (NLU), Trichy
|Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Nagpur
|Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
|National Law University (NLU), Visakhapatnam
|Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Mumbai
|Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Aurangabad
|Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
|National Law University (NLU), Shimla
|Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
|National Law University (NLU), Jabalpur
|Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU), Raipur
|National Law University (NLU), Tripura
|National Law University (NLU), Meghalaya
|Dr. B. R Ambedkar National Law University, Haryana
|Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Silvassa
Below you can see the salaries that candidates get after pursuing law from the top NLUs in India, which is possible only if you crack the CLAT exam:
|Name of NLU
|Average Annual Salary
|Highest Annual Salary
|National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore
|Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
|The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS), Kolkata
|Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar
|National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur
|National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal
|Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
|The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNLU), Patiala
|National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi
|National Law University and Judicial Academy, Kamrup
These numbers represent why CLAT exam is given and why you must prepare for this law entrance exam.
Several types of recruiters, businesses, law firms, and government organizations visit NLU colleges to recruit law graduates. It is one of the top reasons why CLAT exam is given.
Here is a short list of some popular businesses, public sector companies, and law firms that hire law graduates who complete LLB or LLM after CLAT:
Here are several career paths that individuals can choose after pursuing graduation in law from CLAT colleges:
Many CLAT graduates choose to become practicing lawyers. They work independently or join law firms, handling various cases ranging from criminal law to corporate law.
Corporations require legal expertise for compliance, contracts, mergers, and various legal matters. CLAT graduates can work as in-house counsels or legal advisors for corporate entities.
Some individuals aspire to become judges by entering the judiciary services. After gaining experience as lawyers, they choose to appear for judicial service examinations conducted by state or central governments.
CLAT graduates can pursue a career in the civil services, particularly in roles related to law and administration. This includes roles in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS).
Individuals interested in legal research and academia can pursue careers as legal researchers, scholars, or professors. They can contribute to legal literature, teach at law schools, and engage in academic research.
CLAT graduates can work in the public interest sector, advocating for social justice, human rights, and environmental causes. They can work with non-profit organizations, NGOs, or international agencies.
Providing legal consultancy services is another avenue. CLAT graduates can offer specialized advice on legal matters, working as consultants for businesses or individuals.
Combining legal knowledge with communication skills, CLAT graduates can pursue a career in legal journalism. They may work for newspapers, magazines, or online platforms, covering legal issues and developments.
A growing field, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), offers opportunities in arbitration and mediation. CLAT graduates can become arbitrators or mediators, facilitating resolution outside traditional court settings.
With the globalization of legal services, CLAT graduates can explore careers in legal process outsourcing. LPO firms handle legal tasks such as research, document review, and drafting for international clients.
CLAT graduates with an interest in intellectual property law can work in this specialized field, helping clients protect and manage their intellectual property rights.
Many industries, especially in finance and healthcare, require legal professionals to ensure compliance with regulations. CLAT graduates can work in compliance and regulatory affairs roles.
Given the increasing importance of technology, CLAT graduates can specialize in cyber law or technology law, addressing legal issues related to the digital realm.
CLAT graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit may choose to start their own law firms or legal consulting businesses, offering specialized services to clients.
Law schools use CLAT scores to generate merit lists, ranking candidates based on their performance in the examination. The merit list becomes a key reference for selecting candidates for admission.
CLAT scores are a crucial factor in determining a candidate’s eligibility for specific law programs. Higher scores provide candidates with better chances of securing admission to their preferred institutions or programs.
Law schools assign different weightages to the various sections of the CLAT exam based on their program requirements.
National Law Universities (NLUs) use CLAT scores to set admission cut-offs, establishing minimum score requirements for eligibility. This ensures that candidates admitted to law schools meet a certain academic standard.
CLAT scores play a crucial role in the counseling and seat allotment process. Candidates with higher scores have the opportunity to choose from a broader range of law schools and programs during the counseling sessions.
CLAT scores are used to allocate seats under reserved categories, such as those for economically disadvantaged students or specific social groups. This ensures that law schools adhere to government-mandated reservation policies.
By admitting students based on CLAT scores, law schools maintain a reputation for selecting high-caliber candidates through a competitive and transparent process. This enhances the overall prestige of the institution.
The examination assesses candidates’ legal aptitude, reasoning skills, and academic abilities, contributing to the production of law graduates with a strong intellectual base.
Successful performance in CLAT is indicative of a candidate’s academic excellence and ability to meet the rigorous standards of legal education.
Law schools, particularly national law universities (NLUs), focus on nurturing and developing the potential of students admitted through CLAT, thereby contributing to the production of high-quality law graduates.
CLAT’s multi-section format, including legal reasoning, logical reasoning, and general knowledge, ensures that law graduates are well-rounded professionals with a broad skill set.
Graduates from CLAT-qualified institutions are equipped not only with legal knowledge but also with critical thinking, research, and communication skills.
CLAT-qualified students often become future leaders in the legal profession. The rigorous selection process and competitive nature of the examination contribute to identifying individuals with leadership potential.
Law schools play a crucial role in shaping the character, ethics, and leadership skills of CLAT students, preparing them for significant roles in the legal community.
CLAT and the subsequent legal education emphasize the importance of professionalism and ethical conduct in the legal profession.
Graduates from CLAT colleges are expected to uphold high standards of integrity, contributing to the positive reputation of the legal community.
CLAT allows candidates to choose specialized areas of law for their studies, contributing to the development of legal professionals with specific expertise.
Graduates pursue careers in diverse legal fields, such as corporate law, criminal law, human rights law, and more, thereby shaping the future of the legal profession in various domains.
A high number of CLAT-qualified graduates contribute to legal advocacy and play a role in shaping legal reforms in the country.
They engage in public interest litigation, advocacy for social justice, and contribute to legal research that informs policy changes.
Many CLAT-qualified individuals choose academic careers, engaging in legal research and teaching at various institutions.
Their contributions to legal scholarship and education have a lasting impact on the development of the legal community by producing future generations of legal professionals.
Graduates from top law schools, selected through CLAT, gain international recognition for their legal acumen and contributions.
They may participate in global legal forums, contribute to international legal research, and represent India on the global legal stage, enhancing the country’s standing in the international legal community.
CLAT exam has a relatively recent history but has quickly become a crucial examination for law aspirants in India:
CLAT was first conducted in 2008, and it marked a significant departure from the previous system where each national law university (NLU) had its separate entrance examination.
The idea behind CLAT was to create a centralized entrance test, simplifying the admission process and reducing the burden on students who had to prepare for multiple exams.
The Consortium of National Law Universities was formed to oversee the administration of CLAT. This consortium consists of the participating NLUs, and its formation aimed to create a collaborative and standardized approach to legal education admissions.
The first CLAT in 2008 had 11 NLUs participating. Over the years, the number of participating NLUs has increased, reflecting the acceptance and success of the common entrance test model. In 2024, there are a total of 25 NLUs that accept CLAT scores.
CLAT has undergone several changes in its exam format over the years. The number of sections, types of questions, and the overall structure have evolved to better assess the aptitude and skills required for legal studies.
Changes often aim to make the examination more relevant and reflective of contemporary legal education needs.
One significant evolution was the introduction of a common counseling system, allowing candidates to apply to multiple NLUs through a single application process.
This change streamlined the admission process, making it more accessible and less burdensome for students.
As the number of NLUs in India increased, so did the number of participating institutions in CLAT. The examination expanded to include newer NLUs, providing students with more opportunities to gain admission to prestigious law schools.
The eligibility criteria for CLAT have been revised over time to ensure that it aligns with the changing educational landscape and legal profession requirements.
Adjustments to the CLAT age limit, educational qualifications, and other criteria have been made to reflect the evolving needs of law schools.
The Consortium of NLUs regularly reviews the CLAT exam structure, content, and administration based on feedback from stakeholders, including students, educators, and legal professionals.
This periodic review process ensures that CLAT remains relevant and effective in identifying deserving candidates for legal education.
CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is for admission to undergraduate (LLB) and postgraduate (LLM) law programs offered by various law schools, including National Law Universities (NLUs) and other participating institutions across India.
CLAT is for the field of law. It is not specifically aligned with any particular academic stream but is designed to assess candidates’ aptitude for legal studies and their ability to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate law programs.
CLAT exam is for doing graduation or postgraduation in law from India’s best law colleges, especially the National Law Universities (NLUs).
CLAT is of 120 marks.
CLAT is conducted once a year.
CLAT is open to candidates who have completed or are in the final year of their 10+2 (for undergraduate) or have completed or are in the final year of their LLB or equivalent degree (for postgraduate).
CLAT is conducted by the Consortium of National Law Universities. The Consortium is a body of NLUs responsible for organizing and managing the CLAT examination.
Individuals take the CLAT exam to secure admission to some of the top law schools in India. The examination serves as a gateway to pursue quality legal education and embark on a career in law.
CLAT opens doors to prestigious law schools, offering an opportunity to receive quality legal education. Successful performance in CLAT is a stepping stone to a career in law, providing a solid foundation for legal professionals.
CLAT PG refers to the postgraduate-level examination. It is for candidates seeking admission to Master of Laws (LLM) programs offered by NLUs and other participating institutions.
Absolutely. For those aiming for a career in law, particularly in top law schools, CLAT is a valuable and prestigious examination that opens avenues for quality legal education and diverse career opportunities.