First Person Accounts (FPA’s) are meant to provide a first-hand account of law graduates who have pursued, or are pursuing, a post-graduate course (LL.M. or otherwise) from different universities across the world.
Romil Mehta is an LL.M. candidate at the Queensland University of Technology where he is pursuing the LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law. A graduate of Pravin Gandhi Law College, Mumbai (’16), Romil also has a Master’s in Business Law from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
This is the second master’s course that you have taken up. Could you share a few reasons for signing up for the master’s programme at NLSIU? And how did you manage both, your undergraduate and the post-graduate courses at the same time?
Someone once told me education never goes waste and knowledge is something that cannot be stolen away. While I was still studying the graduate course, I was keen on pursuing masters. However, in 2014, I came to know about the Masters of Business Law, which is a 2-year distance education course from a prestigious law school i.e. NLSIU. I further inquired about the same and they allowed me to pursue simultaneously as I was already a graduate of Bachelor in Legal Science (integrated part of LLB) by 2014.
“Someone once told me education never goes waste and knowledge is something that cannot be stolen away.”
The Business Law course was designed to cover an exhaustive list of the subjects like Companies act, Taxation Law, Intellectual Property Law and others which attracted me to pursue this course and it was quite helpful to understand the subjects in a more detailed fashion. This course helped me understand subjects like Securities Law and Insurance Law which was not covered in my graduate coursework.
Now coming to your second part of the question, since masters coursework was a distance learning course, all I did was study over the weekends and appear for the examinations.
However, at certain times it did became difficult to manage the master’s course along with graduate coursework and working in a law firm. I will not be reluctant to say that I did get few backlogs in the master’s coursework but I did manage to clear it.
Your current LLM is an extremely interesting choice – what were some of the other schools you considered applying to, if any. And what go you to narrow down on QUT?
Being passionate about Intellectual Property Law since the early years of law school, I always wanted to be an IP lawyer. The industry of Intellectual Property has always fascinated me due to various reasons.
This might be surprising and unbelievable but I had no other immediate backup plan other than Queensland University of Technology (QUT). I had applied to only one university i.e. QUT.
“This might be surprising and unbelievable but I had no other immediate backup plan other than Queensland University of Technology (QUT). I had applied to only one university i.e. QUT.”
The reason being that QUT was the only university in Asia Pacific region which offered Masters in Intellectual Property in association with the apex organization of Intellectual Property, the World Intellectual Property Organization.
I had done two distance learning certification course with WIPO in my early years of law school and this was the best opportunity for me to pursue Masters coursework designed by the WIPO. Although I had thought about applying to a few universities in Sydney and Melbourne and a few others in the United Kingdom.
Any advice on the application process itself?
I had applied through an education agent so it was quite straight and simple for me. I had received an offer letter within a week or so. I would recommend that students should consult an education agent for making the applications to the universities. It helps in streamlining the process and saves a lot of time for the students.
“I would recommend that students should consult an education agent for making the applications to the universities. It helps in streamlining the process and saves a lot of time for the students.”
Before applying to any of the universities, a student shall be well-aware about the coursework and each subject in detail, faculties, fees and campus location. It is recommended that one should speak to alumni and obtain a basic understanding of the university and coursework.
From what I have seen and observed, universities abroad have a very different culture than Indian universities. Students may also write directly to universities, course coordinator or respective faculty if they wish to obtain clarification regarding the course and this proven to beneficial in better understanding.
One tip that I can think about is one should always try to ask the respective university to waive off the application fees, if any.
How has the LLM experience been thus far? What have been some of the highlights along the way?
My experience so far has been wonderful. The main highlight I would like to say is that the QUT-WIPO LLM course is one of a kind course in IP and it cannot be categorised with other LLMs. It is designed so well and beautifully that each class that I take here leaves me with awe-inspiring knowledge and experience.
“The main highlight I would like to say is that the QUT-WIPO LLM course is one of a kind course in IP and it cannot be categorised with other LLMs. “
I am studying with students who are or have been IP officers in their respective countries, and professionals who have practised in the IP sphere for years. Due to this diversity, each opinion expressed in class has been enriching for me. Further, the said course has been taught by the experts of the IP disciplines like WIPO officials, Australian Government officials, partners of the renowned IP law firms, thereby giving the real-world experience in each sector of IP. I have made friends and connections for life.
In addition to the above, Australia itself is such a beautiful country and a land of happy and smiling people. Being a traveller myself, I have fallen in love with this country.
What is your reading of the recruitment market in Australia for international lawyers?
Australia does not allow an overseas lawyer to practice as a qualified lawyer in the country without an appropriate licence.
Like every other country, Australia has its regulations in place for allowing overseas lawyers to practice law. It might sound unfair to overseas lawyers (in terms of scoring employment) but, logically, you cannot practice law with the license from overseas jurisdiction (as laws are different in both jurisdictions). However, one may work as a legal assistant, legal secretary paralegal or intern.
In terms of remuneration, Australia pays an average qualified lawyer quite higher than compared to India. Most of the global law firms have their offices in all major cities i.e. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. So, I would suggest there is a zero possibility to practice as a lawyer with overseas qualification unless you apply to the local law board and obtain a licence to practice (which is again a very slim chance).
Lastly, any advice for the Indian law graduate who is considering a master’s abroad?
The students who are planning to pursue masters abroad after graduation, don’t rush for the masters immediately. It is recommended that one takes experience in the real and practical world. The work experience is highly valued abroad and you’re in a better position to find employment.
It is sad to know that many universities are losing their value and purely working as a business model i.e. degrees against money. Therefore, the student should carefully consider each aspect like choosing the right country, university, course, subjects and finances, before making applications.
“It is sad to know that many universities are losing their value and purely working as a business model i.e. degrees against money. Therefore, the student should carefully consider each aspect like choosing the right country, university, course, subjects and finances, before making applications.”
Also, it is advisable to the students, those who wish to develop their career abroad, they may choose a country which allows the student to stay back for a longer period after the coursework is finished.