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.
Tenzin Kunsel is currently an LL.M. candidate at Fordham Law School, and a 2017 graduate from the M.S. Ramaiah College of Law in Bangalore. In this FPA, Tenzin shares his reasons for narrowing down on Fordham, the LL.M. experience thus far, and a whole lot more.
At what point in your career did you consider a foreign master’s? Did you ever consider applying for the LLM right after your undergrad?
The idea of doing LLM in United States was always there in the back of my head but I wanted to have work experience before I go for my LLM. Having work experience helps you to get a better law school and also when you look for any job here in the United States.
So, I am not saying applying for the LLM just after your graduation is wrong, I just feel having a year or two of work experience has advantage over others while doing an LLM.
Fordham is a very interesting choice – what got you looking at this particular law school, and what were some of the other (if any) schools that you shortlisted?
I had few law schools in mind when I was applying for my LLM. Since I wanted to see myself working in the New York City, I cut down the list to those law schools which are in New York City. Location of the school plays an important role. In the US, each State is sovereign, has their own constitution, rules, bars and way of practicing is different
Fordham is one of most reputed law schools in United States and especially in New York City. Name and ranking of the law school matters a lot. Among the many law schools which were equally good, Fordham gave me the best offer which I couldn’t refuse.
The law school I shortlisted were Fordham Law, NYU School of Law, Cardozo in New York City. UC Berkeley, Georgetown University, UCLA.
Did you apply for/receive any financial aid?
Yes, Fordham offered me the best merit scholarship among many others.
Any advice on how to go about the LLM application process itself? For example, how much time do you think one should devote to the personal statement?
First collect the information about the law schools, and your master concentration. Then put down the list of law schools of your choice. Prepare your documents one by one including SOP, Degree Certificate, Marks Sheet, TOEFL score etc, and start sending the applications. You have to create LSAC account for some law schools, and for some you can send the application directly to the law schools.
Keep in mind the deadlines.
It takes roughly 2-3 months with the law school and once you are admitted, you will have visa and immigration work which will take more time.
What are some of your expectations from the Fordham LLM? And have any of these expectations been met?
Yes, the Fordham faculties and lecturers are really impressive and cooperative in many ways. So, I feel education quality herein Fordham law school has met my expectations. The law school offers an amazing campus with a good library, and places to meet. The school is situated at the one of the best locations possible. You will have access all that New York City has to give including the major courts, law firms, non-profit organization etc.
In a similar vein, what have been some of the most rewarding aspects of the LLM thus far?
First thing first, meeting students from different countries from all over the world with different law background is such a nice feeling. You will learn a lot of new things. New York City itself is a rewarding enough, you will get the feeling of “lets build the dream”.
Lastly, any advice for the Indian law grad who is considering a master’s abroad?
I know it’s a lot of work and a heavy investment but if you really want to have an international mind and dreams then I think you should try. Those investments will pay off in no time.