Animesh Anand Bordoloi, a recent graduate from National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam is pursuing Masters in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution from National University of Singapore. He has been interviewed by EBC/ SCC Online Student Ambassador Stuti Dwivedi.
- Please introduce yourself, your areas of interest and share your achievements vis-à-vis your acceptance to the LLM programme?
Hello. I am Animesh Anand Bordoloi, a recent graduate from National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam and currently pursuing my Masters in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution from National University of Singapore. My interests lie in Arbitration and Sports law.
I feel it is very difficult to point out things as achievements. I would however say that I did try to maintain a good balance of co-curricular activities that I knew would help me in my LLM applications along with my academics. I headed the Legal Aid Clinic in my University and before that was a part of the same for four straight years. I led the North East Chapter of IDIA and had worked with the Assam Government for a funded project on poverty reduction.I think being from one of the ‘newer’ National Law School actually gave me the chance to take initiatives that I feel I would not have been able to get in any other place. For example, I got the chance to be part of team that started a Journal on Sports law, Policy and Governance under the aegis of the University. Apart from these, I was quiet passionate about debating and somewhere I feel all those factors do come into play in your application process eventually.
- What motivated you to pursue LLM in the chosen field of law? What were the major hurdles you had to overcome?
I was exposed to arbitration in a few of my internships and later started to develop an interest while I had taken a compulsory course on the same. I later went on to write a few articles on the subject area which further helped me affirm my interest on the same.
Coming from a young National law school, I did not have the luxury of a strong network of people pursuing LLM abroad and given the different criteria in the Universities, I had to reach out to people, mostly strangers, to help me with my doubts. That, however, helped me in networking with a lot of students and professionals from different jurisdictions some of whom guide me even today. Additionally, I have to say many of my friends, seniors as well as faculties were very supportive of my decision and actively supported me throughout the application process.
- When is the ideal time to set your mind on pursuing LLM? How did you decide on the college?
The ideal time would be very subjective and would depend on the reasons for which one is applying for a masters. I had made up my mind on an LLM by the end of my Third year and had to take several factors into consideration while deciding on pursuing it directly after my under- graduation. But I have witnessed a varied range of reasons for people deciding to pursue a Masters. For some, such a degree might be because they want to change their area of practice or because they would want to shift to a different jurisdiction. These are only a of the few reasons I highlighted and every individual might have a different reason for pursuing an LLM which makes ‘ideal time’ very subjective.
I had taken three things into consideration while choosing NUS: reputation of the college, faculty in the area of my interest and cost of living. NUS has a very reputed course on International Commercial Arbitration and Singapore being one of the hubs of arbitration, NUS seemed a natural choice.
- Tell us something about the timeline of the application and the commitment it requires?
For NUS, it had its deadline around the first week of December and needed all the documents to be mailed (posted) to them along with a submission of same in their online portal.
The application has to be started well in advance. Although the SOP’s are only 500-1000 words, it takes a lot of time. Think of it this way, you only have that many words to tell your entire story to convince the Universities to take you in. It is often difficult to decide what to say and what not to. Moreover, you have to give enough time for people to review your application. The entire process requires a lot of introspection and several rounds of drafting and hence is better to start well ahead. Universities also require Letters of Recommendations (LoR) which is also very time consuming as you will have to not only identify people from whom you would take such recommendations but will also have to help them in the process especially in recognizing your strengths and weaknesses.
Other than this, many universities also require your TOEFL/IELTS score, your University Transcripts and several others documents. Further, these requirements maydiffer with the Universities one is applying to. Therefore, it is better to prepare well ahead.
Also, I feel that LLM requires a lot more research about the place you are going to study including, but not limited to, the job market there, the culture you are putting yourself into, your accommodation there, estimated living expenses. It is always better to get such things sorted before you apply so that you can manage such an experience within your budget.
- What should be kept in mind while writing SOPs, essays etc? What according to you made your application stand out?
There are several factors actually. One has to be thorough with ones research. You have to know why you are applying in a particular course and then try to write your essay that would convince the selection committee. This is very subjective and depends on each individual as to how they want to put their application.
One of the most significant aspect that I feel is often undermined in the language and spelling errors. Spelling errors are a big no in these processes and it is therefore advisable for a future aspirant to make their initial drafts go through several rounds of review. Not only does that help you with improving your writing but also helps you get a new perspective to your application which I feel was important when I improved my applications.
Other than this I think one has to tailor their Resume, help people with the drafting of their LOR so that one can identify the areas which you would ideally want them to stress. This is because it would be ideal to not want highlight all your achievements in an LoR but only those which the candidates feel will further their cause. One has to remember that the entire process is intentionally made to be long and arduous to identify the commitment of the applicants as well as to curb out the number of applicants.
No idea about what made it stand out as they never reveal it, but I focused a lot on my co-circular and leadership work during undergrad, which I believed to a certain extent did work in my favour.
- Not quite related to the LLM, but how do you think Indian Law Schools can better equip their graduates to compete and excel on a global scale?
There are several ways through which this can be achieved. Encouraging the students to participate in International moots and seminars can be some ways. The Indian Law schools can also think of having exchange programmes, which from what I have witnessed here can be very beneficial for the students. These are just a few of the options that I feel can be beneficial, there are however several other options which I am sure all law schools might consider.
- Lastly, would you recommend an international LLM to an Indian law graduate? What are your future aspirations? Any messages to all other LLM aspirants?
I would definitely recommend an international LLM primarily due to the kind of experience it provides you. Not only does it expose you to a different style of teaching but also gives you a different cultural experience all together.
I plan to work after this, primarily in the field of arbitration and would ideally want to join a firm or an independent chamber.
For the LLM aspirants I think it is very important for one to understand the purpose of doing an LLM. Foreign LLM is expensive and a practical approach on why one would be investing that money is very necessary.
Another point to consider is one’s area of interest. Any Masters course is very rigorous and it is always better if one is sure of the area in which they are pursuing the same. I have seen quite a few people leave the course mid-way because they were not sure of investing such resources and time for the subject matter.
Lastly, I feel one should identify and apply for the best colleges according to their area of interest, not merely by getting influenced by some higher ranked college. Be very wise in choosing the college and take all relevant factors into consideration while doing so.