Reflections from the inaugural Melbourne Law Masters Alex Chernov Scholarship recipient
Masters student Balu Gopalakrishnan Nair reflects on his experience at Melbourne Law School, and how he has benefited so far as the inaugural Melbourne Law Masters recipient of the Alex Chernov Scholarship.
Balu commenced his Master of Laws (LLM) with Melbourne Law School (MLS) in July 2018. He brought with him his Indian law qualifications and his experience in both private and public law, including a six-month fellowship at the NGO Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA).
The opportunity to study at MLS on an India-specific scholarship was one Balu couldn’t pass up.
“My primary endeavour is public law. There are a number of professors here who are well regarded in this area” he says. “The selection of courses is one of the important reasons why I prioritised Melbourne Law School over other law schools”. Balu has appreciated the course’s flexibility of being able to focus on his area of expertise and interest.
Balu’s decision to study at MLS under the Alex Chernov Scholarship has proven to be the right one for him, describing both his meeting with the Hon Alex Chernov AC QC and his coursework so far as a rewarding experience.
A benefit of the scholarship is a mentorship from the Hon Alex Chernov, former Governor of Victoria. Balu says, “he went out of his way to ask me what my interests are, and he was kind enough to tell me about other people who also might be able to mentor me [in the public law area]”.
“For someone who is so busy and on such a big stage to actually make that effort was really brilliant.”
Other than meeting the Hon Alex Chernov, Balu cites his classroom experience with his lecturers as a highlight of his Melbourne Law Masters (MLM) experience.
“I’ve really enjoyed my four courses I’ve done up to now. The best in the profession have taught me and I’ve had the fortune of sitting in their classes.”
While not being taught by Professor Farrah Ahmed, Balu credits the professor for enriching his MLM experience while he has been working as her research assistant.
Balu says Professor Ahmed, who is an advocate of the Alex Chernov Scholarship recipients, “has been really helpful in terms of guiding me as well as giving me interesting projects”.
Studying for an LLM at MLS is not something Balu believed he could have done without the Alex Chernov Scholarship. Also a recipient of the Newman College scholarship as well as the J.N.Tata Endowment, Balu has been afforded the chance to immerse himself in University college life.
“I’ve made friends from not just a law background, but from diverse backgrounds”. He says, “that was another reason why I wanted to come abroad to do my Masters, it’s about getting to know the law, but also getting to know people from around the world”.
After graduating from his LLM, Balu hopes to return to India to work in teaching and research, and eventually complete his PhD – a career goal inspired by both his MLS academics and his mother who is a retired professor.