Hello.I am Harleen Sethi, a 2016 batch passout from Symbiosis Law School, Pune.I am currently doing my LLM in Intellectual Property and Technology Laws from National University of Singapore.
As per my experience, there are three major steps to deciding the path to take to pursue your masters in law.
1. The reason as to why you want to do your masters and the 3/5 Universities which are top priority on your list.
2.Figuring out the finances to support your masters i.e.the various options available amongst a few like: are you going to get financial support form your family/ whether you have enough saved up for the same/ whether you are solely looking for a scholarship/ whether you are going to take a student loan to finance your LLM.
3. Making sure you are well aware in advance about the application process for each of your chosen Universities along with the separate list of documents, approvals etc. you need for each of these applications.
My number one advice to any aspiring LLM applicants would be to be a 100% sure as to why you want to pursue your masters and what value addition will the course bring to the table. LLM is not a way out to delay or take a break from work life. It is definitely not as simple as it seems to be, especially for applicants with work experience. It is important to fathom the value addition of the program in terms of the return on investment but more importantly, the academic value addition it will bring to the table. I had three years of work experience before I decided to pursue my masters and specialize in the field of IP and Technology Laws. The reason for choosing this specilization and NUS is two fold. Firstly. I had been exposed to a variety of IP and privacy law issues at work which paved a way for me to explore my interests in the field of law. It is only because of my work experience that I could be sure as to what kind of an LLM I wanted to pursue and the scope for the same in the current market scenario. Secondly, Singapore is considered to be the hub of technology and IP law issues with it’s fast growing development in the field of AI and the likes of it, which is why NUS was my top priority.
It is extremely important to start your process early, I would say start a year prior to the commencement of the course. It takes time to get all your documents in order i.e. your SOP, letter of recommendations, transcripts, college documents, so on and so forth. You need to be thorough with the application processes and the deadlines for the Universities that you are applying to, as each University will have a different application process. Be sure to read what kind of documents are acceptable, how they are to be sent for e.g. NUS demands that you mail them all your documents by post including a set of your original transcripts, which was not the case for the other UK universities that I had applied to.
I can’t stress this point enough but figure out your finances as soon as possible especially if you plan to take a student loan to fully or partially fund your LLM. You need to do your research to decide on the kind of bank you want to go with, the ROI that comes with it and the repayment scheme. Moreover, the loan process needs to start early as there are a number of steps to the loan process itself.
Lastly it is also important to decide as to what your future plans are. If you do plan to work in the country you are going to pursue your LLM from, then you need to look up the work visa requirements for the same, the opportunities available and the feasibility of getting a job in your chosen field of law, the average remuneration level and the standard of living in that country. Personally, I don’t think that it is a given that you should do your LLM from outside India only if you want to work there. This is solely a personal choice based on way too many considerations and you should follow your best interests at that.
As for me, I think it was an extremely good decision to go with NUS and specilaize in IP and Technology Laws. The course and the modules that I have had the opportunity to explore here have made my brain juices flow and how! The course forces you to think outside the box and understand various IP concepts in relation to one another. When I say I am doing an IP and Technology LLM, it means that along with IP subjects I am also studying about IP w.r.t relevant issues in Information technology, Competition law, Artificial Intellegence, Cybersecurity, Privacy law, Regulation etc. I think especially for Indian students, the course offers a range of subjects and the kind of assessment criterion that we are usually not exposed to and even though that is way outside our comfort zone, it is so important to cope with the same and experience a different system of education altogether. It not only enhances your academic and professional growth, but also serves as a booster for your personality.