Studying the post-graduate preferences (LLM or otherwise) of Indian law graduates

With LLM application deadlines fast approaching, Amicus Partners has largely been kept busy with the counselling side of things. Which is unfortunate because one of the goals of Amicus Partners is to conduct research on the career trajectories of this country’s law graduates. More specifically, on where they choose to pursue higher education, if at all, where this takes them, and how do they view the Indian and non-Indian learning and working experiences.

Lofty (unattainable?) goals perhaps, and I don’t think we have come even close to capturing enough data to make accurate predictions. But, you have to start somewhere.

And that somewhere is here.

Thus far, we have managed to compile partial data on just under two hundred (one hundred and ninety-six to be exact) Indian law graduates who completed their Indian study of law in between 1998 and 2017.

And based on this data, there are four questions that we can answer. It goes without saying that there are strong elements of bias in this data set, a flaw most glaringly exposed with question number one.

Question No. 1: Where do they complete their Indian law degree?

Nearly one-third of the individuals hail from my alma mater (NUJS), something that is statistically at odds with the sheer number of graduates that older law schools (NLU or otherwise) have churned out.

After NUJS, you get NLSIU (27) then NALSAR (24) and then both, GLC Mumbai and NLU Jodhpur (11). Some of the other graduates that were tracked graduated from ILS, NLU Delhi, and Delhi University.

UniversityNumber of graduates
NLU Jodhpur11
GLC Mumbai11
Delhi University8
ILS Pune8
NLU Delhi6
SLS Pune4
KIIT Law School3
Ambedkar University3
Allahabad University3

Question No. 2: Where do they go for a master’s course?

In terms of geographies, the United Kingdom is the most popular destination by a fair margin. And when I say “fair” I mean a big, big margin.

Just to give you some perspective on this, as per official LSAC figures, around 470 applications were made by Indian students for an LLM in the US between June 2017 and June 2018. Even if you presume that half of all American schools accept non-LSAC applications, that would mean about 1,000 applications were made.

On the other hand, according to official figures released by Cambridge University, there were 177 applications from India for the LLM program for the academic year 2017-2018. In other words, Cambridge University’s LLM course received more than one-tenth the number of applications received by US Law schools in total!

That is a staggering statistic.

Institution-wise, Oxbridge remains the strong favourite with forty-five Indian law grads choosing either the universities of Oxford (32) or Cambridge (13). Then you have the big guns from the US like Harvard Law School (18), Columbia Law School (16) and New York University (15) being the most popular choices.

University/Law SchoolNo. of Indian graduates
Oxford University32
Harvard Law School18
Columbia Law School16
New York University15
Cambridge University13
Geneva Centre for International Dispute Settlement6
National University of Singapore5
Queen Mary University of London5
Duke University3
University of Chicago3
Yale Law School3
Stanford Law School3
Edinburgh University2
Univ. of Miami2
Univ. of Missouri Columbia2

Question No. 3: When do they go for their post-graduate degrees?

This was a particularly interesting question for more than one reason. After all, the “when” question is one the most commonly asked at Amicus Partners, and also one that has no “one size fits all” answer. Two, this opens up the door to better understanding the motivations behind the master’s program, and is a great pathway to understand the career trajectories of Indian law graduates.

At what point in time do they decide to do a post-graduate course, and are there any trends that we can spot along the way?

Now, out of the one hundred and ninety-six law graduates in the study, I have PQE data on only one-hundred and nine of them.

PQENumber of law grads
0 years26
1 year19
2 years20
3 years17
4 years10
5 years4
6 years4
7 years5
More than 7 years3

Based on this, one could argue that interest in a master’s course peaks within the first three years following the Indian law degree. After that, interest of the actionable kind declines until. At the cost of repetition though, it needs to be said that this is a rather small data set to play with. And perhaps, with more data, you could actually come down to a more accurate representation of just when Indian law graduates opt for higher education.

Question No.4: Is it only an LLM?

Like some others, I believe that a law degree can be a great liberal arts degree to possess and not one which is only meant to serve the needs of the legal profession. However, I don’t really have the statistical data to back this assertion at least as far as higher education choices are concerned.

The majority of those studied for a postgraduate course in law, but there are some notable exceptions. One of those is an MPP degree, another would be the MBA. As this study expands in scope, I am sure there will be a few other popular non-LLM options that will be churned out. I also think that today’s law graduates

Question No.5: What do they after the foreign degree?

Well, I have not really gotten around to figuring out just what sector of the legal profession, if at all, do Indian law graduates end up at after their master’s course.

Broadly speaking, of the data that has been collected, 82 have returned to India while 67 are working outside the country. For the remaining, I still haven’t been able to collect enough data.


Like I mentioned at the start of the piece, this is very much a work in progress and I think I will only get a more accurate picture with greater data. More specifically, data on what prompted them to pursue a master’s course, did they end up paying for the entire course, and how satisfied were they at the end of the program.

Those, to be honest, are the more important questions.

Far more important.


Always happy to hear your thoughts, please feel free to write in at: 


%d bloggers like this: