Prerna Deep- LLM Graduate from The University of Edinburgh Answers 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions of LLM Aspirants

ABOUT PRERNA DEEP

Prerna Deep is the recipient of British Council GREAT Scholarship (2019). She holds LLM in Criminal Law from the University of Edinburgh, UK; LL.B. from Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi and English Honours from Miranda House, University of Delhi, India.

Prerna Deep is a qualified lawyer who comprehends law as an interdisciplinary and normative tool capable of promoting justice and enriching lives. She is currently working as a Law Clerk-cum-Research-Assistant under Hon’ble Justice of Supreme Court of India. As an avid reader and writer, Prerna has authored several Nationally and Internationally published research papers.

She believes nothing describes her best than Virginia Woolf’s words:
“I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond the daily life.”

Prerna provides legal consultation, mentorship, research and copy-editing services. You can also reach Prerna for collaboration on publications, workshops and interviews.

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LLM ASPIRANTS:

1. Many students are often confused on which area of law they should pursue their LLM in? Because even if they know their area of interest, they are getting confused on which one to choose because today there is immense competition in the market and due to the rise of technology it creates uncertainty about the future of certain jobs. How did you decide and what would you say to the students who are confused about it?

This dilemma is close to home. When I decided that my primary area of interest in law was criminal justice, I was often asked if it was wise to pursue a specialisation in the subject. To all the LLM aspirants, I must emphasise that you must keep in mind that it is not just a matter of a year or two of post-graduation that you invest in a subject you do not appreciate fully; it is more likely that you would work in the chosen field for the rest of your life. While it is pragmatic to select a financially profitable area, it is equally important to have picked an area that rewards you mentally and emotionally. You do not wish to wake up one day and regret not taking chances with the discipline you love and are passionate about in fear of failure. You might not like your job for the rest of your life. I opt to take my chances with the subject I was absolutely inspired by and in awe of and would highly recommend to the students that they select LLM in the area of their interest and not what is in vogue.

2. Students who have already decided that they want to do an LLM are often confused about whether they should pursue LLM after getting some work experience or before. What would you say to these students?

During my LLB, I consulted several professors, seniors, and fellow mates on the topic mentioned above. Both the choices are right; it is more about where it fits in your career goals. For instance, some people do not realise there is a need for specialism until they have worked for a while, while others are determined to pursue LLM since undergraduate. I was confident that I wanted to do LLM, and I was also certain about my specialism, so I went with it.

To the students who are not sure about LLM or confused about their specialism, it is wise to work a few years after your LLB, find out the legal field that most interests you, and when you think there is a need for an in-depth study of a subject, go for LLM. It would save you a lot of pain, confusion in the future.

Some students are sure about their specialism and find it easier to pursue academics in continuity than taking a break and returning to it. If you are worried you might not be able to return to university after work, or you would like to complete your post-graduation first and then enter the professional work arena, it is best to pursue LLM directly after LLB.

Think thoroughly before making a decision; both options are great. It all boils down to what would suit you the best.

3. Can you guide students about financial aid/scholarships as many are confused on how can they get a scholarship and what are the basic requirements to get a scholarship for studying abroad for Indian students?

There are various funding opportunities available to Indians applying for LLM abroad. It varies subject to the country, university, and often the preference of specialism. Since I only applied to universities in the UK, my response is limited in the context. There are primarily two types of funding available, internal (The University) funding and external (Other organisations like the British Council). When you select your university and course, the webpage often has links to the scholarship opportunities available to prospective students. Some universities automatically consider your scholarship application; for others, you have to follow different mechanisms.

I would suggest the prospective LLM aspirants go through the funding and scholarship websites of the university of interest. If you have further doubts, you can also email the university asking about any scholarship opportunity available. Further talk to your professors, your seniors who applied abroad; they may know more scholarship programmes. I often checked Lawctopus for any scholarship announcements; you could keep an eye too. Be careful that you have sufficient time in hand as the scholarship applications often close six months prior to the usual deadline of the admission application.

4. Do grades matter as many students are worried whether their law grades are enough for applying for an LLM? What do you think about the importance of grades for getting a seat in a good college for LLM? How can a student without good grades frame a good application?

In my opinion, law school gives substantial importance to grades more than many other disciplines. There is often a non-waivered academic requirement in the UK to make an LLM  application, and all the top law schools require you to have the Indian 1st division in LL.B. to make an application. While very few law schools might allow an exceptional application if the lack of marks is compensated by a great CV, unfortunately, that’s not the usual case. I applied to the University of Edinburgh, and my offer was conditional on LLB marks that had to be above 60%. I had secured a full scholarship (British Council’s GREAT Scholarship) before my LLB results were announced, and yet the University made my scholarship and admission conditional on my LLB grades.

I would highly recommend the students who would like to secure a place in postgraduate courses in one of the top law schools in the world to pay sincere attention to their grades. Try and maintain your marks above 60% in your undergraduate degree. While grades alone are not sufficient to secure your place, it is highly challenging to secure one without good grades. If you do not have good grades, you should utilise your SOP wisely to explain your stance of why you do not have the grades you require and how your application stands out despite the average marks because of your overall extraordinary work.

5. What according to you are some key things the students should keep in mind who have decided to do an LLM? What final advice would you like to give to LLM aspirants?

LLM is a considerable commitment, and one should be sure of their choices before making this commitment. Firstly, you should ask yourself what purpose would LLM serve for you? No point regretting pursuing LLM mid coursework. Secondly, finalise your specialism in LLM if you want one. Thirdly, decide whether you would like to pursue LLM in India or abroad. The country you choose may depend on several factors, including the ranking of law school, courses offered, living cost of the city, scholarships available.

You need to elaborate the database of all these conditions to choose the best course in the best law school for yourself. It is challenging and time-consuming. I would recommend starting at least 2 years in advance; you would probably need to give IELTS, the applications are sent a year in advance of the course, and every university has its own requirements and procedures. Make sure you have read everything correctly. Consult your professors, seniors and reach out to alumni of the college you are interested in. Give your best, and don’t give up.

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