In this piece Arslan Munawar shares his experience of applying for an LLM, working and life in general.
Some might dread the thought of spending another year at a university, doing even more reading, writing longer essays and sitting even tougher exams. They would rather go into practice as soon as possible and learn law the “hands-on” way. Others might be eager to engage in some further study, left unsatisfied with the lack of in-depth coverage of their favourite law subject during their LLB, and the remainder might see an LLM degree as something to give their CV more clout.
On whichever side of the fence you are standing (hopefully, you are not sitting on it – lawyers need to be opinionated people), I could honestly say that no one really “wins” in this debate. It all comes down to answering the simple yet difficult question: “What is it that I want to get from LLM or why do I want to do it?” Once this is decided the next task is to figure out what is the complete process to get into a university. Unfortunately, in Pakistan this whole process to apply in a university abroad can be quite exhausting but it’s certainly worth the effort!
My journey on this path to get admission for an LLM degree had started for many reasons, some of which are mentioned above. However, primarily my father’s wish and stepping in to the professional environment made me realise how valuable it is for me to pursue this. Therefore, I had decided in my second year of LLB (Hons) that I will do LLM in the field of commercial or corporate litigation.
Once I finished doing my LLB (Hons) I decided to do an internship or look for a job as an associate because I knew that the application process would take time. Moreover, having a job reinforced my belief in doing LLM so that I can have more in depth knowledge of the field of law that I am interested in. I had to face a few challenges but Alhamdulillah (All praise is to Allah) all went well. I had started the application process in the last year of LLB; mostly all the applications need similar requirements and the most important part of the process is the personal statement.
The personal statement should reflect why one has chosen the particular field, your achievements related to that particular field, what you can contribute and any previous work experience. In a nut shell it should reflect how ardent we are about that particular field.
Likewise there was an uncertainty whether I should do the IELTS proficiency test or not? Whether it is compulsory or not? Most universities will require IELTS. I was of the opinion that since I have done a degree which is taught in the English language then why is it compulsory to do IELTS? When I sent them an exemption letter stating that I am competent in reading, speaking, listening and writing English. I also mentioned that I had done a research essay in my third of law school which involves all the tasks that are associated with IELTS. Furthermore, due to the fact that I was working I could not manage to study for IELTS; therefore they agreed and gave an exemption on this requirement. After this was done, it was all smooth sailing from there on. I just had to apply for the visa and fulfil the necessary formalities.
“My institution’s role has also been eminent in my student and working life. The way they have groomed me, when I myself had no faith or hope. Their constant support and guidance along the way has helped me immensely. I have learned that sheer hard work is the key to success.”
My institution’s role has also been eminent in my student and working life. The way they have groomed me, when I myself had no faith or hope. Their constant support and guidance along the way has helped me immensely. I have learned that sheer hard work is the key to success. Obviously, there were moments when I used to get frustrated, but with the help of Allah Almighty and the support and prayers from my family, loved ones and teachers I was able to achieve this aim.
I believe if a law student who is in their last year and is on the fence in deciding whether he or she should apply for LLM then you should think it through because this journey and process requires devotion, hard work and determination. One should be absolutely sure in what field they want to do it and should be mentally prepared to accept any possible outcomes from universities. It is not that easy but with proper commitment and blessings of Allah, hard work will not go to waste.