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.

Aishwarya Mysuru Sagar

Aishwarya Mysuru Sagar recently graduated with an LLM in Intellectual Property from the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. In this FPA, the 2018 graduate of JSS Law College, shares her reasons for applying for an LLM abroad, the LLM experience at Franklin Pierce, some advice for prospective applicants and more.

You enrolled for the LLM right after your undergraduate course. When did you start the application process, and how early would you recommend applicants to start?

I decided to do my LLM course right after my undergraduate course for various factors. I would like to add that I started giving [the LLM] some thought around the 3rd year, and it took a long time to reach a firm decision.

I started applying when I finished my 9th semester as I opted for Fall opening which was approximately 8-9 months before the academic start. I shall strongly recommend this time frame for the applicants since that’s when the Universities start their application process either for the Fall/Spring term.

“Apply as soon as the application process starts.”

I would also advise the applicants to be never late for the application process as it takes away their chance of getting good scholarships even if they have high academic records. Apply as soon as the application process starts.

You opted for a specialised degree – what were some of the other schools that you applied to? And what got you to narrow down on Franklin Pierce?

I chose Intellectual Property Rights as my LLM specialization. I sent out applications to very few US law schools along with Franklin Pierce and received my acceptance offer from all the universities. The other schools were Dayton School of Law, the University of Cincinnati College of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law.

The prime facts that narrowed me down to Franklin Pierce were its strong academics for IP with extensive courses, and the school’s history. The law school has been ranked 5th amongst the top 10 law schools for the IP program in the US and their strong faculty. Also, Franklin Pierce had been a dream law school for me and my first preference from the initial days of my research relating to IP law schools.

“Franklin Pierce had been a dream law school for me and my first preference from the initial days of my research relating to IP law schools. “

Any advice on the application process itself?

This is the utmost important stage where the applicants shall have to set all documents right. It could be from mailing the required documents to LSAC, writing your own SOP precisely and lastly looking out for the scholarships.

Please do write your SOP with honesty; write about yourself and your future plans. Remember that the SoP represents you in your absence.

Once you have shortlisted the desired Universities, start working on the further requirements. Accumulate the transcripts, degree certificate, passport and recommendation letters from the faculty. Also, do not delay mailing the documents to LSAC, which is very important. Lastly, keep a track of the deadlines.

Did you apply for/receive financial aid?

Yes, I did apply for financial aid and received it from Franklin Pierce. The financial aid is usually based on merit and overall performance of the applicant in their undergraduate course, and work experience.

How was the LLM experience at Franklin Pierce? What were some of the most exciting or challenging aspects of the LLM experience?

My experience was a dream come true since I always wished to pursue my masters in abroad law school and particularly at Franklin Pierce. It was balanced with realistic and theory blended courses throughout. I participated in all lectures where I had the privilege of listening to speakers from all over the US.

The most exciting aspect was when I took a course taught by Mr. Micky Minhas (Vice President & Chief Patent Counsel at Microsoft), who’s also an alumni. Through his course, all the students had the privilege of having conversations with the Chief Counsel/Patent strategists of Apple, Samsung, Rockstar and Johnson & Johnson through video calls.

“The challenging part was to cope up with the whole system and getting acquainted with a lot of courses since it was a lot to cover over a year program.”

The challenging part was to cope up with the whole system and getting acquainted with a lot of courses since it was a lot to cover over a year program. I am extremely proud to have attained my degree from Franklin Pierce which is a highly respected institution globally for IP.

Given the short length of the course itself, how do you think LLM candidates can make the most of the course?

Most of the LLM programs are designed for a year which is quite a short term for Masters, but on the bright side, you will get to learn a lot from the several courses being offered by the law school.

It’s a roller coaster ride as it’s for one year that allows a person to grow personally and achieve great heights in the program. The best part about the Masters is the networking that the candidates get to do and a huge amount of exposure. I would like to tell future candidates to make the most out of the program and utilize the resources available.

“The best part about the Masters is the networking that the candidates get to do and a huge amount of exposure.”

Amidst the tight schedule, you’ll also get to have co-curricular, school community’s activity and cultural festivities in every university which will fade away the homesickness.

Lastly, any advice for the Indian law graduate who is considering a master’s abroad?

There are several scholarships and funding opportunities available for the students. It entirely depends on the students how they will get it through their application process and SOP.  The main factor is getting the financial options in order. The scholarships play a vital role, so keep in mind every factor, and then go for the Masters.

Don’t be under the impression of getting a job as soon as you finish the Masters, it’s difficult to have a permanent job right after the masters. I would conclude by saying there are very few job opportunities for foreign LLM graduates in the US as per my knowledge.

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