INTERVIEW: Ritambhara Singh Tells You All About Doing an LLM for the University of Sheffield

  1. Why did you choose Sheffield?

I chose the University of Sheffield because it is amongst the top 100 universities in the world and especially because the School of Law takes international and comparative approaches to the emerging and cutting edge areas of law, including corporate governance, e-commerce, cyber security etc.

Sheffield Law School is ranked within the top 10 UK universities in terms of research output, so you get the opportunity to be taught by Professors who are at the top of their fields.

Secondly, Sheffield is a great city to live in – it’s smaller and friendlier than places like London and Manchester, but there’s still lots going on. It has a good reputation for being a safe city.

It is also very cost effective as compared to the other cities in the United Kingdom, especially London. Living costs are low and it is quite easy to get part-time jobs to earn a bit of pocket money.

Finally, Sheffield Law School is very international, with staff and students from over 70 countries: it sometimes feels like a mini UN. I wanted to get this international exposure and I think Sheffield delivers completely on this front.

  1. What was the application process like? Any tips for potential applicants?

The application form was very straightforward and easy to understand. The form can be completed online and offline as well. Some documents like the mark sheets, two reference letters and IELTS score card are required to be scanned and sent with the application form online. I will recommend using the online form as I found it easier.

I would suggest the future applicants keep all the documents in front of them while filling the form as it might be needed to fill in certain information. The entire process should take couple of hours if you have everything ready.

I would also suggest that potential applicants should apply very soon after the forms are released (December), this will help them also to apply for various scholarships at the same time. However, applications are accepted throughout the year and you should receive a response quickly.

The only other suggestions I have are: that the statement of purpose has to be clear, the applicant should be able to clearly demonstrate how the LLM is going to help in their career; and seek quality recommendations rather than the importance of the referee, I would say that it is better to have a detailed reference from your LLB tutor who knows you well and is conversant with your work, rather than a famous lawyer or a senior judge under whom you might have pursued an internship for one month.

  1. What makes a foreign LLM worthwhile?

Obtaining the LLM degree from the UK opens a lot of job opportunities globally. It proves to be a platform which introduces a student to the professional world.

It also radically changes the student’s perspective of looking at things by providing a different experience to him/her culturally and socially. As I said before, when you meet students from around the world who come from completely different backgrounds and cultures, it opens up new understandings of the meaning and purpose of law.

We have European students who grew up in liberal economic cultures and students who come from mixed economy countries, and it is fascinating how they debate with each other in seminars on labour law and company law, citing examples from their own jurisdictions and trying to find a common ground or an overarching hypothesis. I would say that a foreign LLM is definitely worthwhile.

  1. What are the scholarships available for law students from India?

There are university scholarships and the scholarships given by the HRD ministry of the government of India. In addition to these scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships are also available for Indian students.

As the University of Sheffield is a member of the elite group of Russell Group universities in the UK, they also have specific scholarships aimed at Indian students. Click HERE.

  1. How’s your experience of Sheffield been?

My experience in Sheffield is very enriching. I have turned into a more confident person.

Academically speaking, I have learnt to be more analytical and argue my case based on in-depth research. I have become more independent, living without the social safety net of your family and friends and being thrust into a completely different culture allows you to find out strengths and capabilities which you didn’t know you had.

It might sound a bit too biased but I have found a second home at the University of Sheffield. We have an excellent support system. At the start of the term we are allocated a personal tutor with whom we can interact anytime if we need any help.

There is also a dedicated LLM support team who provide assistance for any administrative niggles. So I would say that my experience at Sheffield is extremely positive and I would definitely recommend Sheffield to all.

  1. In terms of skills, both legal and otherwise, how has Sheffield equipped you better?

I have developed a better interpersonal skills, commercial awareness and ability to argue my case. I have also developed a professional attitude and ability to complete my work with accuracy. Unlike most UK law schools, Sheffield has a professional training centre within the law school, which organises many interesting and relevant events.

This brings a professional training element to many of the LLM courses, especially those focused on client centric modules like arbitration etc. which have mock arbitration and mediation and client interview as part of the assessment. These modules allow you to have professional experience but within the university.

  1. What are your future plans?

I have so much enjoyed learning here that I plan to pursue a PhD in the area of intellectual property rights, if possible, at Sheffield. I have prepared a proposal and am in the process of submitting it.

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