The Amicus blog began life sometime in August last year, starting off with some (very) rudimentary advice on how to go about the LL.M. application process. Since then, the blog has carried some interesting interviews and posts, with the most popular being the First-Person Account (FPA’s) series.

With this being the blog post number one hundred and one, I thought I would mark the occasion by a summary of sorts.

And why not start with the FPA’s. As they has been (imaginatively) titled, FPAs are meant to give a first-hand account of the master’s (law or otherwise) experience abroad from the point of view of the Indian Law Graduate (ILG).

I believe an educational choice, like most major decisions, ought to be a highly personalized one. And what I like most about the FPAs is that they provide multiple viewpoints. This allows the ILG to pick and choose what is most relevant for her.

Also, it allows Amicus Partners to help a wider audience of ILG’s and law students, apart from those who take up our personalized counselling services. At the same time, with the increase in content, finding just what you are looking for can become a tad difficult.

Which is why I have made a list of what I consider to be some of the most useful advice published on the Amicus blog thus far.

1. On when to go for a master’s

Balu Gopalkrishna Nair (Melbourne Law School, LLM ’19)

Balu Gopalakrishnan Nair
Balu Gopalakrishnan Nair

“The ideal time to pursue a foreign master’s would be when you have a rough idea of what area you want to explore and have some sort of financial safety net – be it in the form of a scholarship or savings. It should be a time when you can embark upon an unhindered intellectual pursuit without having to worry too much about the finances.”

You can read the full interview here.

2. On why to enrol for a master’s

Manasi Chatpalliwar (National University of Singapore, LLM ’18)

Manasi Chatpalliwar
Manasi Chatpalliwar

“I think candidates need to be more worried about how they look at their LLM and whether they are honestly able to place a value on their effort in completing the same. If LLMs are being pursued for some sort of external validation or in the hopes of negotiating a higher salary with a law firm etc. then that’s just silly.”

You can read the full interview here.

Aishwarya Amar (Oxford University, BCL ’19)

Aishwarya Amar
Aishwarya Amar

“My decision to pursue a master’s degree right after my undergraduate study was purely motivated by my passion for the subjects of International environment and human rights laws…I’ve been driven by the notion that these passions were never meant to just convert into jobs or employment, but rather into ideas and inputs that will help me develop as a practitioner and contribute to our society in some way.”

Read the full interview here.

3. On choosing where to go

Kanad Bagchi (Europa Institut, LLM ’14, Oxford University, MSc in Law & Finance ’16)

Kanad Bagchi
Kanad Bagchi

“I knew I loved a particular subject – constitutional law – so I started looking at universities that offered such courses, had good faculty and a focus on research. The problem was that I needed funding. So, the next step was to bring that list down to universities where the probability of funding would be higher.”

Read the full interview here.

Aakanksha Chauhan (Osgoode Hall at York University, LLM ’19)

Aakanksha Chauhan
Aakanksha Chauhan

“If you just want to specialize and head back to India, I would suggest looking at schools like the UK or the USA or even Germany! But if you want to work abroad then Canada is definitely the place to go.”

Read the full interview here.

Yashaswini Mittal (Georgetown University, LLM ’18)

Yashaswini Mittal
Yashaswini Mittal

“When I had applied for an LLM initially, I was running behind big names, instead of figuring out the college and the course that was best for me, given my capabilities and my funding situation. The second time around, I was more careful and made the best choice for myself! I would recommend the same to everyone. In India, we are always fascinated by big names, which is understandable.”

Read the full interview here.

Miki P. Hamstra (Robert H. McKinnney School of Law) 

mhamstra
Miki P. Hamstra

“Really think about how you prefer to learn, not just what that [degree] is going to say at the end of the year. [Maybe] you don’t prefer to learn in a large environment and you prefer practical experiences. You prefer knowing your professors on a first-name basis, and knowing your supervisors, having a small cohort.”

Read the full interview here

4. On writing the Statement of Purpose

Amber Featherstone (Wake Forest University School of Law) 

Amber Featherstone
Amber Featherstone

“We want to know all of the things they have done that make them an excellent applicant to our school. If they don’t tell us about them, we will never know. So, don’t be shy. Tell us why you’re the perfect student for our program.”

Read the full interview here 

Aradhya Sethia (Yale Law School, LLM ’18)

Aradhya Sethia, LLM from Yale Law School
Aradhya Sethia

“It took me a lot of research to get to a point where I could draft a convincing research agenda.  They want you to ask concise, relevant, and thought-provoking questions. Focus on that one big question you are interested in.

Your primary goal shouldn’t be to prove that you have researched a lot, but to ask the right question, show why that question matters, and how Yale could help you answer that question.”

Read the full interview here.

Nehaa Chaudhari (Harvard Law Schoool, LLM ’17)

Nehaa Chaudhari
Nehaa Chaudhari

“When we interacted with the admissions staff of the Graduate Program while at HLS, we learnt that the admissions committee looked to the personal statement to get a sense of the applicant as a person, and what they brought to the table, as well as to see how well (or poorly) they could write. Good writing does not mean complicated writing, or the use of flowery language — quite the contrary in fact. Personal statements should be clearly written, and easy to read.”

Read the full interview here

5. On the Letters of Recommendation

Kanad Bagchi (Europa Institut, LLM ’14, Oxford University, MSc in Law & Finance ’16)

Kanad Bagchi

“When you are applying for a foreign LLM, there is no interview process. The two ways in which a university can know you is through the SoP and through the LoR. Both of them need to be incisive about you as a person.

Therefore, it does not matter ‘whom’ or how ‘big’ a professor or practitioner you take your LoR from, but what that person essentially writes in the LoR. How much does it really depict your strengths and your weakness and how minutely does it lay open your potential for research etc. So the suggestion is go after a person who knows you better and who can comment on your personality from close quarters.”

Read the full interview here

7. Post the LLM, for those interested in doctorate degrees

 Amal Sethi (University of Pennsylvania, LLM and SJD [on going])

Amal Sethi on legal academia
Amal Sethi

“You have at best 6 months during your LLM to convince prospective faculty members to take you under their wings (Note – very rarely will you get into a doctoral program in an American Law School without having done an LLM in the same law school. At least, not a law school of the same rank).

This can only be achieved if you start the process of ‘thinking about applying for a doctorate’ months (in some cases years) before joining the LLM program. You cannot (and should not) start the process of ‘thinking about applying for a doctorate’ after starting the LLM or worse in the second semester of the LLM program (you are very likely to not succeed in such a case).:

Read the full interview here 

8. And finally, on the “other” benefits of a foreign LLM 

Chithra P George (NUS-MIDS double degree programme)

Chithra Powathikunnil George
Chithra Powathikunnil George

“Pursuing LL.M. abroad reforms and refines your personality in multiple ways. It gives you access to the international landscape, facilitates in building contacts, widens your exposure, gives you the opportunity to engage in discussions with world-renowned personalities, sharpens your analytical thinking and above all makes you a global citizen.

Read the full interview here.

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