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.
Yashasvi Tripathi is a 2017 graduate of the National Law University Delhi. Immediately after her undergrad, Yashasvi enrolled for an LL.M. at New York University. In this FPA, she discusses the importance of networking, the value of an LL.M., passing the NY Bar and a whole lot more.
From your profile at NLU D, it appears that a master’s was almost a given. But did you ever consider working for a few years before enrolling for a post-graduate degree?
I was always sure of pursuing master’s from the beginning of my law school. I wanted to have few work options, like judicial clerkships, for me just in case I couldn’t make it to a good university for my masters right after law school. However, I would add here, it’s always better to have work experience before pursuing masters.
When did you start the application process, and how did you go about shortlisting where to apply?
I began the application process in August. I shortlisted colleges based on the faculties that they had, programs that they offered, and their general ranking.
Any tips on the application process itself, more specifically the written requirements?
Having a list of colleges, their deadlines and their requirements in terms of SOP, LORs etc. served very well for me. It’s nice to get SOPs reviewed by someone who has gone through the process.
Further, it’s important to personalize a SOP and write it in form of a story having past-present-future components of one’s law career and academics. Also, it shouldn’t seem to be iterations of the resume.
Not quite connected to the LL.M. but how early did you start researching on rentals? Was it relatively easy to find a place close to campus?
I opted for the university’s housing. However, I am aware that few students got through the FB housing pages.
How was your LL.M. experience? Looking back, what have been some of the toughest bits about the course?
The LL.M. experience for me has been very enriching, professionally and personally. I will always remain grateful for the opportunity. I got to learn from the academicians whose pieces I would read in my law school in India. I had the opportunity to study with some of the best legal minds in the world, and had some of the most vibrant academic discussions in our lectures. I always enjoyed the diversity of our LL.M. batch and each one of us had something interesting to offer.
The toughest bit of the LLM in New York City for me was to simultaneously manage my LL.M. curriculum, networking and career events, academic events, the newness of the city and the culture. Initially it was overwhelming with so many deadlines, but by and by we learn to master it.
NYU does have a large LLM intake – any tips on how to make the most of the course?
I would recommend studying and learning as much as possible, and networking with people, both in and out of the university in one’s filed, as two most important aspects of an LL.M. program.
Hence, it’s very essential to choose course load wisely, to be able to maintain the balance between in class and out class essential activities. I would also recommend active participation in class given the lecture method in NYU is Socratic.
You have also managed to clear the NY Bar – any advice on when to start prepping for this?
I believe it’s enough if one follows the bar prep courses schedule. They usually begin in May after the LL.M. course. I didn’t appear for the July bar exam but I appeared for the February bar exam. I had fewer days to prepare for the exam as I was working by that time.
I believe time duration doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we are preparing for it. It’s essential to practice as much as possible and cover everything under the syllabus at least once.
What is your reading of the US legal recruitment market when it comes to international LLM graduates?
I believe work experience is really important for recruitment for LL.M. graduates. US legal market has good work opportunities for corporations, tax and immigration fields for foreign LL.Ms. I cannot overemphasise the importance of networking in the US.
Lastly, any advice for the Indian law grad who may be considering a master’s abroad?
It is a very enriching opportunity. One grows as a person multi-dimensionally. I would always recommend few years of work opportunity before pursuing a master’s abroad.
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