From Melbourne to Bangalore – reflections on receiving the inaugural Melbourne Law Masters Alex Chernov Scholarship

The Alex Chernov Scholarship is awarded each year to an international student from India undertaking the Masters program.

As the inaugural recipient of the Alex Chernov Scholarship, Balu Gopalakrishnan Nair feels that the positive impacts of the scholarship have continued even after graduating.

Studying at Melbourne Law School

For Balu, who had a strong interest in public law, Melbourne Law School was ideal. “For those interested in public law, the LLM brings together the world’s leading scholars in the area. The diversity in course selection means that you are constantly spoilt for choices,” he says.

“The opportunity to study alongside a diverse group of students drawn from across the world was particularly enriching.”

As well as receiving the Alex Chernov Scholarship, Balu was the recipient of the Newman College Scholarship and the J.N. Tata Endowment, allowing him to fully embrace the student experience and pursue his interest in public law. “It was of immense help in my studies,” Balu says.


A significant benefit of the Alex Chernov Scholarship is mentorship from the Hon Alex Chernov, former Governor of Victoria and a founding member of the Australia India Institute.

“The Hon Alex Chernov met me personally during the LLM,” Balu recalls. “And he took pains to find out what my interests were. Subsequent to our meeting, he took the effort to connect me to those he thought would be the best to guide me on my areas of focus.”

“We have kept in touch even after my graduation and it is so reassuring to know that I can always reach out to a legal luminary like him for guidance,” he says.

Another advantage of the scholarship was the guidance Balu received from various Melbourne Law School (MLS) faculty members. “Not only was I able to work on some exciting research projects but I was also lucky to be mentored by Professor Farrah Ahmed during this time. I was also fortunate to receive mentorship from Professor Tarun Khaitan, who too was extremely generous with his time.”

After graduating

“Since the scholarship took care of my entire tuition fee, it also helped me to take up a job of my liking, post-graduation, rather than going back to a corporate set-up,” he says

Since graduating from the LLM in November 2019, Balu has been working as an associate editor with the Supreme Court Observer in Bangalore. An initiative of the Centre for Law and Policy Research, the Supreme Court Observer is a project that aims to make developments from the Indian Supreme Court accessible to the general public through daily reporting on selected cases.

“My present role with the Supreme Court Observer has provided me an excellent stepping stone in pursuing a career in legal academia – with the opportunity to track landmark Supreme Court cases and write on them.”

Balu’s long-term plan is to work in teaching and research, and eventually complete his PhD – a career goal inspired by his MLS teachers and mentors, as well as his mother who is a retired professor.

Learn more about the Alex Chernov Scholarship