Robin Sharma recently completed his L.L.M. from Tel Aviv University. After completing his B.A., L.L. B from NALSAR University in 2018, he worked as a strategist providing advise for legal, policy, and other crucial campaigns related issues to a senior politician.
In this interview conducted by Pranjal Risal, a mentee in the UPeksha Mentorship Programme, Robin Sharma discusses his journey, reasons for opting for Tel Aviv University, the LL.M. application process itself, and a whole lot more.
Can you tell our readers about yourself, your areas of interest and share your achievements vis-a-vis your acceptance to the L.L.M. programme?
I graduated from NALSAR in 2018 with a B.A., L.L.B. (Hons.) degree. I recently completed my L.L.M. degree from Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel. In my Master’s, I specialized in business law. Though I specialized in business law, I had also taken several courses in the area of socio-economic issues which are also my areas of interest.
To list out my achievements, I have penned a few articles in national dailies and US-based portals; was a Teaching Assistant at NALSAR for a semester. Also, I have work experience with various government organizations, policymakers, leading law firms and regional organizations such as the SAARC Secretariat.
As I had the fortune of working on important projects at different institutions in various capacities, holistically it helped in developing my personality, which did a lot to enable me to get an L.L.M. acceptance.
What has motivated you to pursue L.L.M. in the chosen field of law? What were the major hurdles you had to overcome?
For me choosing an L.L.M. in Business Law was simple because it was not only one of my areas of interest but also highly sought after degree.
To be frank, I would not describe the issues faced in law school as “hurdles”, but challenges. Improving grades, landing a good internship, balancing moot court activities, project and exams in a very tight schedule etc. were few challenges I faced over the years.
Also, in the initial days of law-school I was not very comfortable and had a tough time, but as I started exploring and getting comfy with NALSAR’s environment, it turned out to be quite a smooth ride.
Could you tell us about how you went about deciding which course to pursue?
Deciding the course is the simplest yet the most difficult task.
I suggest before you think about anything else, figure out yourself properly, i.e., understand your strengths, weaknesses, goals. Based on that, decide whether pursuing an L.L.M. helps your case or not or whether it is the correct time or not.
Once you decide to go ahead, then start narrowing down the list of the institutions where you want to apply and accordingly tailor your curriculum vitae and statement of purposes.
If you are still uncertain about a specialization, you can always apply for general L.L.M. and explore as you go on with your course at the institution.
When is the ideal time to set your mind on pursuing L.L.M.? How did you decide to choose Tel Aviv University (TAU)?
Look, there is no ‘ideal time’ for an L.L.M.; everybody has their own take on the matter. Like I mentioned in my previous answer, figuring out yourself and the relevance of an L.L.M. in your long term vision is what you need to consider. Once you are clear, it doesn’t take more than a month to work on your application.
But it is crucial to know the general application deadlines of the institution you intend to apply to.
Initially, I thought of doing an L.L.M. right after NALSAR but later decided to gather some work experience . Hence after working full-time for a year, and I started to apply for L.L.Ms.
On Israel and the L.L.M. at TAU, I never had a long-term plan to apply at TAU or go to Israel; it just fell in place. In recent years, I have garnered interest in the world of start-ups, and this introduced me to Israel, a nation that is evolving as a global start-up hub. When I was researching on institutions for an L.L.M., I found courses at TAU to be more flexible than what traditional universities were offering, i.e. I could take credits from other law tracks and other programs like M.B.A., International Relation etc.
This was the major factor in deciding TAU as was the generous financial aid and the warm response from the administrative staff during the application process.
Tell us something about the timeline of the application and the commitment it requires?
There is a variation in application timelines across the jurisdiction. Usually, applications for the U.S. start around November and December. In many other countries, the deadline is a little later in the year, but it all differs on institutional practices.
If you are clear in your mind, it doesn’t take much time. I finished my S.O.P., essay, CV and other documents within a month of deciding.
For your essay, just express yourself, back your application with appropriate reasoning as to how an L.L.M. would help you and your goals. Just articulate clearly why the institution should accept your application.
What according to you made your application stand out?
The selection process at TAU involved a written application which included the S.O.P. and other documentation and an interview via Skype. In both my application and interview, I gave an honest assessment of myself, about the course, my achievements and strongly put forth why they should select me.
Over the years, I had built my curriculum vitae working within the private sector, government organizations and regional bodies. Therefore, I had an experience and understanding of working in diverse fields and interesting projects, which must have weighed out my application.
My academics were important but not a deal-breaker, therefore develop your personality holistically and express it. I am sure your application will succeed.
What are your future aspirations? Any messages to all other L.L.M. aspirants?
Well, it’s a very deep question, especially in the times of COVID-19. I am thinking about starting a legal start-up and along with that teaching at some institution for the time being. Then once things settle down then let’s see, I am always open to opportunities that come my way.
My suggestion to L.L.M. aspirants is that-don’t apply just because your colleagues and friends are applying. Get clarity on why you want to pursue an L.L.M. or how it will help you in life.
Pursuing an L.L.M. in a foreign university will broaden your outlook, thinking and network but don’t do it at a serious financial cost. Brainstorm and if you have any queries regarding admission don’t hesitate to send the university an email, they are mostly helpful.
Just don’t feel shy from applying, apply to as many as you can..