Guide to LLM Admissions and Scholarships Abroad, Shireen Moti, Universal Law Publishing (2017)

Saranya Mishra reviews this book which is intended to demystify the LLM Admissions and Scholarships in the United States and the United Kingdom.

  • Guide to LLM Admissions and Scholarships Abroad by Shireen Moti

India encouraged an academic trend of pursuing studies abroad. In case of law, a very obvious career plan is to complete LL.B. or B.A.LL.B. and pursue LL.M. abroad with a view to either settle abroad or return to India to receive a more competitive package and career opportunities. Needless to say, that degree from abroad gives a certain vantage point by increasing career prospects and enabling an international outlook and often a comparative perspective at times (especially while specializing in a field during LLM).

This book is by Shireen Moti, who has pursued Masters from Queen Mary University of London in 2016 and was awarded the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chevening Scholarship1. It is more like a friendly advice from a senior in college, who shares her learnings from her practical experience.

As is also addressed in the Introduction, the author “intends to help students on how to prepare their statement of purpose, curriculum vitae, letter of recommendation, and writing samples for their admission and scholarship applications”. It is however limited to LLM opportunities in US and UK and as is acknowledged, is not exhaustive but best efforts at compiling guidance on all aspects related with LLM admissions and scholarships.

Knowing her audience psychology well-enough, she has meticulously divided the chapters of the book into the obvious questions every aspiring LLM student has. She has dedicated chapters on:

  • Law School rankings, which takes into account 5 world rankings i.e. Quacquarelli Symonds 2016 United States News & Worlds Report 2017, Above the Law, 2016, The Guardian 2017 and Complete University Guide, 2017;
  • Statement of Purpose;
  • Curriculum Vitae, discusses the stages from pre-drafting to drafting and also pointers for a good CV;
  • Letters of Recommendation, focuses on the role and utility of LoR in LLM Applications and main components;
  • Law School Admission Council, their role and services available to LLM applicants and validity and acceptability;
  • Fundamental Information on top few colleges in US and UK, giving preliminary information, eligibility requirements, selection criterion, application material, financial aid support, estimated financial expenditure, important dates, contact information and website links;
  • External Scholarship/Fellowship, with focus on the 5 most prestigious Scholarships/Fellowships, like Rhodes Scholarship for University of Oxford, Chevening Scholarship and Commonwealth Scholarships for UK Universities, Fulbright-Nehry Master’s Fellowship for US Universities and lastly Inlaks Scholarship for US, UK and European Universities
  • Scholarship Essays, deals with the essays which are part of the scholarship applications;
  • Research Papers, focuses on the how should applicant proceed with Research Papers; and
  • English Language Test Examination, which discuses TOEFL and IELTS, both of which are to be given by applicants since India is not native English speaking nation.

The chapter on Statement of Purpose lists down 4 stages, logically starting from pre-drafting stage of shortlisting of law school and brainstorming to drafting and stage of revision, review and edit. She also points out the details that should be included to make the statement of purpose robust and appealing and goes onto give an exhaustive list of do’s and don’t’s. The best part is that there is a sample Statement of Purpose also provided for guidance.

Similarly, all the other chapters deal with stages of drafting CV, Scholarship Application, essay and research paper and practical insights as mentioned above.

One of the good things about the book is the emphasis that is placed on post drafting stage i.e. revision, review and edit, because that is often the most understated stage, but can make or break the deal. Another good thing is the sample writings which provide a starting point and a fair idea as to how the final writ-up should be, while emphasising on uniqueness of each student and recognising that it can be different. Another, good aspect is the emphasis placed on evaluating committee’s outlook and perspective.

Overall the book is a short and sweet guide for students applying and interested in LLM abroad.