In this interview Ms. Suzann Dinu a fourth year student of Law at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies(NUALS), Kochi and EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador, interviews Ms. Diksha Ranjan who has bagged LL.M. offers from both Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge and London School of Economics. She studied Commerce at Dyal Singh College (University of Delhi) and went on to pursue her passion for Law at Law Centre-II, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.
- Firstly, Congrats on securing the dream offer of most law students! Can you walk us through what an admission procedure for LL.M. looks like to a fresh graduate?
Thank you so much! To apply for an LL.M. abroad is a major career decision and should be taken only after proper deliberation. The application procedure is long and challenging and I would recommend to start early. The first step is to have a clear understanding of why do you want to pursue the LL.M. Based on whether you are looking for a specific course, a specific university or a specific country/ geographical region you can make an exhaustive list of universities and programs that fit in your needs. This ensures that your works and efforts are concentrated only in a particular direction. After shortlisting the programs and the universities, the next step is to research and acquire maximum information possible about the university, course and their application process. While researching it is important to make a note of the documents required to be submitted for different courses and the deadlines for submission of these documents. Most admission procedure require a Statement of Purpose, the CV and two or three Letters of Recommendation along with Official University Transcripts and English Language Test Scores. A few courses also ask you to submit one or two academic essays.
- We have often heard how important a personal statement is while applying to foreign universities, is this true? What pointers should we keep while writing them?
Absolutely! A Personal Statement is really important as it is a document that allows you to introduce yourself and convince the admission committee to select you without even meeting you in person. To stand out amongst thousands of other applications and to compel the admission committee to review the SOP in its totality, it is important to plan carefully, present your ideas and to invest generous amount of time in writing the SOP. One must be aware that drafting a SOP takes a lot of time and there will be several drafts before it is finally ready. There is an entire process of revising, reviewing, and editing between the first draft and the final SOP but one must ensure that the final SOP is be a true and honest image of the student’s personality and the student must strive to answer why he/she is passionate about a particular course at the law school and how will the LLM studies help him/her achieve his/her future goals in the SOP.
- What type of Recommendations do foreign university’s look into? How are they different in college applications as compared to our normal CV References?
Recommendation requirements differ from university to university. The applicant must read the instructions published on the website of the law school they are targeting. The things that an applicant must make a note of while reading the instructions are the number of letters that they need to arrange for every law school, whether the law school he/she is applying to prefers academic or professional letter and the mode of submission of the letter of recommendation.I would suggest to approach a person with whom the applicant has worked with closely, like your professors or your employer, because the recommendation letter for college applications should reflect about the abilities, work, goals and aspirations of the applicant clearly and only such a person will be able to elaborate them honestly.The entire process takes time and the applicant should start to arrange the letters of recommendation few months before the deadline.
- Can you tell us a little about the events that you did while in college which added colour to your application (Moots/Publications etc)?
In my three years of pursuing LL.B., I actively participated in several moot court competitions and even won one of them which ultimately helped me earn my first internship under the Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice Gita Mittal. I was also associated with a project that worked on the issue of Caste discrimination in the country where I was In-charge of the online and offline campaign to enlighten the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes about their legal rights and legal remedies under the Indian Statutes. In my final year, my friends and I also floated a website BeingBrief.in with an aim to provide law students with academic notes and case briefs that would aid them in their examination preparation and research. Apart from this, while pursuing my degree in commerce, I was the Organizing Head and the Coordinator of the Commerce society and also worked in the Editorial team of the Official Newsletter of the Commerce Department. However, academics was always my priority and I tried my best to attend my classes regularly and to maintain a balance between academics and extra-curricular activities.
- You did not do a conventional five-year law program, in fact you pursued law after finishing your bachelor in commerce. Did this have a bearing on your application?
I am not sure if pursuing a three-year law program had any positive bearing on my application or not but at least I can safely say that it does not have any negative impact on the application.
- You went on to work for a year after graduation while doing your applications side by side. How far did this help and does work experiences help in securing LL.M. admissions?
Yes, that is correct. I worked as an associate lawyer with Mr. Amit Khemka, a senior lawyer practicing in Economic, Constitutional, Commercial, Tax, Corporate & Technical offences under Black Money Act, PMLA, Benami, Companies Act, PC Act, Income Tax etc., for a year after graduation. In fact, I had even interned under him in my final year of law school. The experience and the exposure at work did help me in my personal growth and in understanding about my interests and likes, however, for the work experience to play a role in securing LL.M admissions it should be of some substantial years. A work experience of less than two years, I believe, does not have any major impact on your LL.M application.
- What are your areas of interests? Can you tell us a little about general and specific LL.M.?
My area of interest is around Tax and Economic Laws and I would like to choose a mix of modules that cater to my interests.
Coming to the second part of the question, in a general LL.M., in the UK, you can pick and mix the units and modules which means that you can either cover a diverse collection of law areas, or choose to gear your choices to focus in one particular direction. A specific LL.M.also usually involves a choice from a list of modules. However, these modules cover very specific, at times niche topics relating to the LL.M. subject, with the aim of giving the student in-depth knowledge of only that particular area.
- Lastly, is there any advice you’d like to impart to future aspirants?
I would just like to say that you should plan early, prepare efficiently,work effectively and have faith in yourself during the entire admission process and I am sure that you’ll achieve what you desire.