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.
Shambhavi Shekokar is part of the Class of ’22, at the Notre Dame Law School where she is pursuing an LL.M. in International Human Rights. In this FPA, the GLC Mumbai graduate shares her reasons for choosing ND Law, the challenges of LL.M. applications and a whole lot more.
Notre Dame is an interesting choice, more so for Indian law graduates. What got you to look at ND? Any other law schools that you applied to?
ND Law was a natural choice for me as the law school has the best faculty, reputation and resources in the area of Human Rights Law worldwide.
The LL.M program focuses on getting as many diverse perspectives as possible to learning, and this is precisely why Indian students, students from varied jurisdictions (specifically third world countries where discrimination is majorly practiced through dominant patterns of social behaviour) are encouraged to apply.
The focus of ND Law has been to educate a ‘different kind of a lawyer’, one with both compassion and competence. It was a fresh and welcome perspective, considering that the goal is to make a difference and not just making money.
When did you start considering a foreign LL.M. yourself? Was this something you always planned to do?
I started thinking and specifically searching for programs in the Fourth year of Law School. For some background, I have completed BLS-LL.B from GLC, Mumbai in 2020). I somehow never saw myself working a Corporate job.
I turned to giving back to the community by working for Legal Aid, Access to Justice, Statelessness and that led to the understanding that Human Rights is the niche area that I want to pursue my interest in.
When it comes to the application process itself, any advice for prospective applicants?
Graduate Law School applications can get pretty overwhelming for prospective applicants. The key is to adhere to timelines and start preparing well in advance. Keep a track of deadlines and ask for help (people are more than willing to share their perspectives and experiences)
What are some of your expectations from the foreign LL.M. experience?
I think the course would help me gain a better understanding of Human Rights Law from a both theoretical and practical perspective.
Early days but how easy/difficult has the moving process been? Again, any advice from a practical standpoint on moving to a new country?
The first few days are difficult in the sense that you’re dealing with a new territory, new norms, new people. It’s nicer to move in a week before your classes start, as that helps your acclimatise better.
Know the weather of the place that you’re moving to and carry appropriate clothing.
Please ask for help, don’t be shy if there’s something that you don’t understand. Explore, make new friends, visit new places and don’t limit yourself.