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.
In 2018, Sanket Palshikar enrolled for an LLM at the Victoria University of Wellington. A graduate of the Government Law College Mumbai (’15), Sanket is currently working as a in-house counsel in New Zealand. In this FPA, he shares his reasons for applying to Victoria University, studying and working in New Zealand, and a whole lot more.
How did you go about selecting just where to apply? And what were your expectations from the LLM course?
I was quite certain about pursuing a Master’s degree at some stage of my career, however I wasn’t quite sure when and how should I go about achieving it. After having worked for close to two years in the profession pursuant to completing my law studies, I had thought to myself, if I had to do it then it has to be now or never.
While I was going through the process of selecting a suitable law school to pursue my higher studies, choosing a commonwealth nation was my obvious choice. The deciding factor for New Zealand was the comparative financial affordability and the reputation of law schools in New Zealand.
My expectations from pursuing LLM were to polish my legal academic skills which is a key skill required in legal profession and to develop a better legal acumen during the whole journey.
Wellington is not the most popular choice for Indian law graduates – what got you looking at this particular university?
After narrowing down my search to New Zealand; Wellington and Auckland were my two probable choices. I had been in regular touch with my education consultants with respect to the universities and the papers it had to offer. I was quite impressed with the high quality of education standards and the academic background of faculties working at Victoria University.
It is recognised as one of the premier institutions in New Zealand for pursuing Masters of Law programme. The study at Victoria University is more of research based and involves critical analysis of propositions as opposed to the usual question answers patterns for exams and this is what got me interested. Thus, for all the aforementioned reasons, I chose Wellington and hands down, I made a right decision.
“The study at Victoria University is more of research based and involves critical analysis of propositions as opposed to the usual question answers patterns for exams “
Any advice on the application process itself? More specifically, the letters of recommendation and the personal statement?
The application process is something which requires careful consideration and a need to dedicate sufficient amount of time towards working on applications. I think it is important to read through a few sample ‘Statement of Purpose’ either from your friends, colleagues or even from those available online as it provides a good insight into the manner of drafting of SOP’s.
As far as the letters of recommendation are concerned, my professors were kind enough to give me a tailor made recommendation letter and that is something which would make your application stand out as opposed to any ‘standardised version of recommendation’. Thus, my advice would be to work coherently on such application procedures and avoid taking a casual approach.
Did you apply for/receive financial aid?
Yes, I received a partial scholarship from Victoria University of Wellington.
How has the LLM experience been? What are some of the advantages of studying in New Zealand from the perspective of finding employment?
The whole LLM experience has been an exciting journey throughout; from getting used to the colder temperatures, giving presentations in classes, writing long academic papers, doing internships and enjoying some coffee by the waterfront at the end of the day.
The greatest advantage of studying in New Zealand is that Masters of Law is listed as Level 9 course of study which is categorised as one of the higher academic qualifications in New Zealand in terms of finding employment after finishing law school.
Lastly, any advice for the Indian law graduate who is considering a Master’s abroad?
My advice to Indian law grads will be firstly to take a call if you actually want to pursue a Master’s degree from a foreign university after considering all the factors. If you are determined to do so then, get out there and make optimum use of the opportunities available while being at a law school. This might include all the curricular and extra-curricular activities and also to make some new connections.
If you would like Amicus Partners to provide some personalised advice on your LLM applications, please fill up this form and we shall get back to you as soon as possible. Do mention your contact details for a speedy response.