First Person Accounts (FPA’s) are meant to provide a first-hand account of Indian graduates who have pursued, or are pursuing, a post-graduate course (LL.M. or otherwise) from different universities across the world.
Shruti Iyer is a 2010 graduate of ILS Law College, Pune who enrolled for the double masters NYU@NUS programme. She completed the course in 2013, and is currently a Partner at SA Law in New Delhi.
It has been a while since your LLM, but could you tell me a bit about your expectations from the course?
I chose to pursue a Double Masters in Global Business Laws from National University of Singapore conducted in collaboration with New York University (NYU@NUS), with a focus on Asia and the East. My expectations were to learn more laws in different jurisdictions and not just the US.
The NYU-NUS LLM is an interesting choice to make. How did you go about selecting where to apply?
I was sure I wanted to come back and work in India. So, I wanted a course that would enrich my knowledge and would be useful in India when I returned. When I look back, I am happy that most of the subjects I chose have helped in some way or the other.
I did Indian Business Laws, Comparative Constitutional Law, Competition Law, International Arbitration, International Taxation, Investment Arbitration, etc. to name a few and all of them have helped me in my practice in India.
Did you apply for/receive financial aid of any kind?
Yes, I received the Deans Award which was a 50% tuition fee waiver.
Looking back, what were some of the biggest benefits of the LLM itself?
There are many tangible and intangible benefits of LLM and sometimes the intangibles can have more value over time. One of the biggest plus points for me has been developing this network of friends all around the globe who are all doing extremely well. No doubt it is a great asset to have from a business perspective, but it holds far greater value to me personally.
“There are many tangible and intangible benefits of LLM and sometimes the intangibles can have more value over time. “
I would say my biggest takeaway was the experience of the LLM itself. Studying an LLM abroad is a totally different experience from what we are used to in any law school in India. The emphasis on practical learning, the Socratic method of teaching, all go a long way in shaping our career as a lawyer, in developing our analytical and writing skills, or simply in preparation of a case.
Apart from that the experience of studying under world class Professors like Prof. Sornarajah, Prof. Alvarez, Prof. Umakanth Varottil, to name a few was truly an enriching experience.
The other benefit, of course, was the subjects. I don’t think any LLM in India has the variety of subjects that I could study in the NYU@NUS LLM and almost all of them are relevant to my practise and profession today.
As a recruiter, would you give more weightage to candidates with a foreign LLM? Why?
I believe, in India, having a foreign LLM is more a question of whether the person has the resources to do it rather than the skills or ability. So, I would not judge any candidate for not having an LLM. But it is definitely a great plus point to have on the CV.
Would you recommend an international LLM to current or future Indian law graduates?
A lot of people look at LLM from a return on investment perspective. Foreign LLMs are very expensive unless you get full scholarships which are far and few. If the candidate has the resources to do it, they should definitely do it.
A lot of people have asked me was it worth spending so much money?
I think it is important to look at it from a long term and life skills perspective more than how much salary one earns when you come back. Many people also say it is cheaper to go on a world tour to travel the world and make friends. Sure, I won’t take away the benefits of travelling, but a world tour and a masters are two totally different experiences.
“I think it is important to look at it from a long term and life skills perspective more than how much salary one earns when you come back”
To sum up, yes, I would definitely recommend an international LLM to current or future law graduates.