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.
Adya Aishwry is a recent graduate of the Wake Forest University, where she had enrolled for an LL.M. specialising in International Business Laws. A graduate of the Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyala (BA LLB, ’17), Adya spent some time as a litigator in the High Court of Jharkhand before embarking on her LL.M.
What got you to take up an LLM, and was this something you were considering doing right after your undergraduate degree?
The idea of studying abroad struck me while I was still in my second year of undergrad. I was not very satisfied with the academics and curriculum of my law school. I remember watching shows like Suits and Boston Legal during the same time.
It may sound silly, but that was my first encounter to how rewarding my profession is specially in other countries. The swanky offices, exhilarating everyday challenges and of-course the fat pay cheques (which is not always true) led me to become a buoyant dreamer. As a starry-eyed fan, I was fascinated.
The LL.M is a course that paves the way to become an attorney in a different country. It offers the theoretic knowledge and exposes to a new set of legal standards. It is a well-rounded experience of meeting people from different cultures, learning under prolific professors and a promise of rigorous but very fun curriculum. It is an absolute win-win!
Although I had plans to gain experience before pursuing my Masters but as soon as I started working, I realized I wanted to learn more before finally starting to work. Fortunately, I got accepted for the programs and I went for it.
“Although I had plans to gain experience before pursuing my Masters but as soon as I started working, I realized I wanted to learn more before finally starting to work. “
How did you go about selecting where to apply, and why did you narrow down on Wake Forest?
I had applied and gotten through ten colleges in the UK, NUS in Singapore and George Washington & Wake Forest in the US.
In narrowing down colleges in the UK, I just went for the top Russell group universities. I chose to apply to NUS, GWU and Wake Law based on their reputation, scholarships and what the program had to offer. Along with the aforementioned factors, the fact if I would be allowed to work after the program was also a major factor to consider for me.
The United States being the land of opportunities and the beacon of freedom enticed me as a country. At Wake, I was a recipient of the International Merit Scholarship. The program was very attractive to me due to its small classroom, interesting courses and sought-after professors. It was an easy choice for me and now when I look back it was one of the best years of my life.
“The program was very attractive to me due to its small classroom, interesting courses and sought-after professors. “
Did you apply for/receive financial aid of any kind?
I was a recipient of the International merit scholarship which covered a decent percentage of my tuition. The nominal amount of tuition and living expenses were partly covered through a loan and by my parents.
Any advice on how to go about the application process, more specifically the personal statement and letters of recommendation?
While choosing universities, one must take a lot of factors into consideration depending on what they want from of the program. Factors like courses and specializations offered, diversity in the classroom, research opportunities under professors, reputation, financial aid etc. should be taken well into consideration by an applicant.
According to me, personal statements are a reflection of you as a person and as a professional. It basically is an answer to all the questions you might be asked in an interview if there was any. Therefore, one must very articulately present their personal statements their achievements, experiences, and how one is a good fit for the university.
The Letters of Recommendation are also a major aspect of one’s application. Therefore, one should always try to get recommendations from the professors who know them well and can vouch for their achievements as a professional and dynamism as a student. A recommendation from a professor of a course one wants to pursue as a specialization could be an attractive aspect of the application.
“A recommendation from a professor of a course one wants to pursue as a specialization could be an attractive aspect of the application. “
How has the LLM experience been thus far? Any highlights along the way?
The LL.M. has been one of the best decisions so far for me. It was an all rounded experience full of rigor and fun at the same time.
I wish I could choose one highlight but everything through the year ranging from midnight library study meetups to numerous batch dinners at Professors’, from getting cold called in the class to discussing twenty different legal systems in the same classroom, all of it has been an immensely enriching journey for me.
Apart from the course itself, what have been some of the benefits of enrolling for the LLM?
An LLM does not only offer the course but it’s a wholesome experience in its own. Learning under one of the most renowned erudite of their field to making friends from so many different cultures, it has all to offer.
The experience to study in an American university has been very surreal, insightful and exuberant for me. The diversity in the class helped me gain a perspective of different avenues of law and society. It helped me understand how laws on a particular issue could be so different in other countries.
“The diversity in the class helped me gain a perspective of different avenues of law and society. It helped me understand how laws on a particular issue could be so different in other countries.”
Along with the courses, depending on your interest you get exposed to so many different aspects of life including cultures, fashion, cuisine and of-course how American (or English) society works.
Lastly, any advice for the Indian law graduate who may be considering an LLM abroad?
First of all, I would suggest choosing the university and the specialization wisely after taking various factors into consideration.
Secondly, moving to a different country can be very exciting but it comes with its own challenges. One should be ready to adapt and embrace the good and the bad.
And thirdly, during the program try to connect very well with the professors. They are a great source of guidance at any point and can be helpful in building future professional connections.