ECA+: The Extra but Extremely Significant Things Which Matter in Law School [OR] It’s Your Burger, Make it Large!

Samarth Sharma, Lawctopus Campus Manager from NUJS Kolkata pens down the importance of undertaking extra curricular activities at law school.

Read on for an engaging piece which will give you food for thought.

Introducing ECA+

Instead of getting into the intricacies and pointlessly debating on the differences between extracurricular and co-curricular or what may constitute a co or an extra?

Let’s just plainly assume and accept the fact that in a law school apart from the conventional extracurricular activities (sports, dance, vocals, creative, painting/writing) there is much more to it.

I know not many people may approve of the fact that mooting, academic writing along with their publication and paper presentation, attending conferences, debating, MUNing, organizational activities in (college journals, fests, events) and off (at NGO) campus, constitutes ECA .

I mean I know all these are academically oriented. But trust me, provided the fact that, you:

1. Are 17+ and a law student.

2. Want to do something substantive which might be relevant to your field.

3. Have almost sorted what you might possibly be doing 5 years down the line and even if some of you haven’t, you would like to do something worth adding to your CV’s.

4. “+” as the definition of ECA is been broadened (AUTHOR’S PRIVILEDGE) to the extent of any activity apart from listening theoretical lessons taught in the scheduled college hours.

ECA is undeniably an important part of a law student’s life. In fact, it is this larger bracket, which I love to call as ECA+, that tends to amplify its significance.  Let’s just take them individually.

It's your burger, make it large!

It’s your burger, make it large!

Why is ECA+ important?

A. Mooting:

In order to put it in the simplest way possible provide the magnitude of its significance. IMAGINE!

In what position you would be in, while cooking, when you have all the ingredients required for a receipt but you don’t know the right combination or the way to make a perfect dish.

I know that’s a lame metaphorical explanation but that’s how Mooting works in a law students life. More importantly:

1. Prior to your speaking rounds, you learn law in the most crisp and comprehensive way possible, build up and priorities your arguments after giving them a structure, learn team work and an academic way of writing (off course I am referring the MEMO!).

2. During the pleading, you actually go through the exact same emotions which you might experience if you take up litigation after graduation, plus you learn to put up your argument and convince the judge in the most crisp and comprehensive manner.

You also get an hint as to when to be rhetoric, use euphemism and when not.{I mean, at least that’s what the experience holders told me}

B. Academic writing:

I know, not many people would approve of the fact that how come academic writing an ECA+. But please, stick to the definition and hear me out!

Not to mention, but one thing that definitely most of the law firms do look in your CV is the number and the quality of research papers you have written. How many of them have been published in recognized journals.

By the way when I mention “academic writing” it’s an understood fact that it includes- research papers, essay writings and also the presentation of those papers in conferences. Hence, in toto, it gives you a golden opportunity:

1. To do an in depth analysis/study of particular subject/issue. You also have an extra room to pick up the subject of your choice (Most of the times).

2. Also, if the particular subject is a part of your curriculum, which it happen to be always, definitely acts as bonus to your CGPA.

3. Undeniably, as it is categorically subject/issue oriented, it enhances your knowledge and makes you think more constructively, skim out loopholes and have an opinion about almost everything out there unresolved.

4. Of course, it also teaches you the research techniques, academic way of writing, structuring your write up etc,,.

5. And as I mentioned earlier, lots of good research papers, essays, publication and presentation definitely earns you a wild card during recruitments.

C. Debating, MUNing, Organizational work in&off campus:

To be honest, stuffs like hardcore parliamentary debating and MUNing(participating in Model United Nations) at National and international level are something which I had never thought about, before coming to a law school.

But then I realized how useful these activities are to sharpen your oratory skills and spontaneity without compromising with the logic and profundity of the knowledge.

Organizational works like being a part of an OC of PD, MUN, Cult fest, sports fest, moot or a member of legal Aid society, IDIA, Pro bono cells, journals, academic societies,  NGO’s(WWF, UNDP, HRC and other worthy claimed NGOs) etc….all of these help you a lot in building up your personality.

You get the real-time experience of how to handle different people, how to get the work done, you learn the practical field work ethics, you manage people and you get the chance to do a lot many different activities which might not be a milestone in your life but ethically and experientially helps you to earn a milestone.

There are many other miscellaneous activities in the list of ECA+, which do, in some way keeps you buckled up! Like online journalism, working for a media houses, managing content for both on & off line portals, be a junior researcher to some big hot shot, writing blogs etc. But since all these are in some way interlinked with the above mentioned list of ECA+. Let’s just not ponder upon them categorically.

Why should ECA+ be a part of Legal CURRICULUM?

It might sound insanely dramatic and a lame ineffective thought just like the “NDTV campaign of Marks for sports”. But this is not the first time someone has come up with an idea to gain grades out of what he does outside the defined curriculum.

Universities like NALSAR grant credit for mooting to the first year students. ILNU has a requisite mandate to work in an NGO in their first year. NUJS had a credit system for these activities sometime back to encourage academic writing and mooting among the students.

All I have to say is, evidently the goal behind our curriculum is to systematically learn and build our arsenal of knowledge that may be used after graduation to survive and earn for our livings through this profession.

Hence, it is time that the BCI and the think tanks of the Universities should realize the fact that it’s not only the theoretical mugged up text which entirely help you in your life further. But also many other indispensable skills that can’t be achieved unless you moot, write, present, debate, MUN and practically work.

It’s like a plant can be grown anywhere on land with constant watering but sooner or later it dies off due to absence of proper care. But when you want to be secured about your plant/tree to be perfectly shaped, fresh, healthy and ever green, you got to provide it with calculated and customized manure, water, sunlight and constant pruning.

It is these extra but extremely significant things that matters a lot. In the same way the practical experience, management, structuring, argumentation, knowledge, presentation, spontaneity, accommodation, negotiation that you learn out off ECA+ is indispensable for your future in toto. In fact these are undeniably the most important skills that a person need in his profession specifically when it’s LAW.

Now, if something holds humongous importance in a person life and will be used by him to outshine in the international/national arena, why can’t they be provided incentives in the form of marks/grades which may definitely give them the leverage and optimum reason to work as hard as possible in each and every field specifically the ECA+ 😀

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