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.
Nidhi Jhawar recently completed the Masters in Intellectual Property jointly offered by the University of Turin and WIPO. A 2018 graduated of Symbiosis Law School in Pune, Nidhi enrolled for the master’s right after her undergraduate course. In this FPA, she discusses the benefits of the course, shares some advice for prospective applicants, and a whole lot more.
At what point in time during your undergraduate days did you decide to enrol for an LLM? Did you consider working a few years before the LLM?
The seed of pursuing an LLM right after graduation was sown in my mind while preparing for the prestigious Oxford Price Media moot court competition in my third year at law school. Multiple internships and publications in the intellectual property sphere later, in my final year, the idea was ripe and ready to be executed.
I had had a brief brush with Media and Entertainment Laws as one of my electives during my college years. However, I firmly believed I needed a more solid knowledge base before embarking upon a career in my chosen field.
For law students, the conundrum almost always exists between the two – whether to gain work experience prior to the Masters or to pursue the course right after graduation. The experience and what you choose to take from the Masters, inevitably, is subjective.
“For law students, the conundrum almost always exists between the two – whether to gain work experience prior to the Masters or to pursue the course right after graduation. The experience and what you choose to take from the Masters, inevitably, is subjective.”
Speaking from personal experience, the LLM was a period of intensive academic growth in my life and provided me with a range of opportunities and exposure, which continue to play a huge role for me on the professional front.
How did you go about university selections? And how did you narrow down on Turin and the WIPO LLM?
My prime focus during university selections was on the course module, faculty and economic viability of pursuing an LLM right after graduation. Consistently ranked amongst the top courses for intellectual property rights around the world with a highly competitive selection procedure and limited number of seats (a total of up to 40 participants are admitted to the program), the WIPO-University of Turin LLM (“WIPO-Turin LLM) proved to be an ideal fit.
Apart from the unique course structure of the WIPO-Turin LLM (three components spread over nine months- distance learning, face-to-face and the research/thesis period), one of the factors that makes the course stand out is the mix of people from different disciplines who pursue it.
Since IPR cannot be studied in isolation, the exposure to people from varied professional and personal backgrounds provided the possibility of a truly international forum for exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Any advice on how to go about the application process? More specifically, writing the SoP and finding referees for the LoRs?
Since the LLM is offered jointly by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the University of Turin, the applicant can apply to either of the two to be considered for admission. I’d say 2-3 months prior to the application deadline would be a prudent time to start getting your documents in order. A list of documents required for application is available here.
The most taxing part of writing my Statement of Purpose was acceptance of the fact that when I put ink to paper, it is likely that the early drafts are going to be embryonic at best. My two cents for writing the SoP can be best summed up by the following quote- “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
“My two cents for writing the SoP can be best summed up by the following quote- ‘Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.'”
With reference to LoRs, as is often recommended, one should attempt to get them from direct supervisors/professors as they are in a better position to vouch for your abilities.
The LL.M. course has an online component for the first three months – could you describe the course load during this phase?
Since the course attracts participation of people from lawyers as well as non-lawyers, the first three months of the course are designed to provide each participant with a preliminary and homogeneous background in Intellectual Property Rights and to prepare for the intensive classroom learning period.
The course load during this phase requires you to dedicate a couple of hours towards learning per week and I’d say, working professionals should be able to balance the first component along with their job.
Did you apply for financial aid of any kind?
Yes, I did apply for financial aid which is offered both by WIPO and University of Turin in the form of full and partial scholarships.
If one submits their application via WIPO Academy, it is automatically considered for a scholarship. A full scholarship would typically cover your tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses and transportation.
While all candidates are eligible to be considered for grant of the scholarship, applicants working in the public sector (Government, Ministries, Intellectual Property Offices) in their respective countries are generally given preference for such consideration.
However, one always has the option to directly apply to the University of Turin for a full or partial waiver of tuition fees.
Lastly, would you recommend it to other Indian law graduates?
I highly recommend the course to lawyers and non-lawyers alike for three primary reasons – a nuanced understanding of intellectual property rights; prospective internship and career opportunities post-graduation with WIPO, EUIPO and distinguished professors; and excellent networking opportunities.
Of course, getting to do so in the old capital city of Italy: Torino (often referred to as the Paris of Italy) has its own perks.