From Foundation to Fulfillment: A College of Law Graduate
Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Press Releases From Foundation to Fulfillment: A College of Law Graduate’s Journey to Harvard

What fuels a dream? For Almas Lokhandwala, 2020 Juris Doctor (JD) graduate of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law, it is a combination of inspiration, encouragement and opportunities.

Almas has always been interested in the role of law in society. As a law student at HBKU, she became passionate about human rights and urban planning policies, digital privacy and the regulation of big data, and international commercial courts. These areas of interest became more important to her after attending a public lecture at HBKU on behavioral law, which featured  Cass Sunstein, a Professor at Harvard Law School and the former Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Many students enter universities with only a general idea of what they want to achieve out of their education, which can lead to bad decisions in choosing their fields of study. Educational institutions should teach students how to make thoughtful choices about the trajectory of their careers and, by providing the right resources, empower them to make such decisions.

In Almas’s case, HBKU was integral to her discovering areas of specialization and nurturing her love of the law. She said: “HBKU exposes students to all branches of the law and actively encouraged us to develop our own interests. I have also been fascinated by my professors’ nuanced perspectives on the law, with a number of the professors graduating from top US law schools.”

On August 18, Almas started her Master of Laws (LL.M.) at Harvard Law School (HLS), where she will expand her knowledge of digital privacy, regulation of Artificial Intelligence, and behavioral law and economics. While entering a prestigious law school like HLS can be intimidating, Almas is confident that her training at HBKU has prepared her for the challenge.

She said: “I believe that at HBKU, we have been held to the same standard as students at elite universities. The high expectations translated to our readiness to address complex legal and societal challenges.”

Since earning her HBKU JD degree, Almas has received admission offers from some top law schools in the United States. She believes that HBKU’S active role in graduate development, which helped her gain experience at reputable organizations through internships, and the invaluable advice offered by her professors during the entire application process, helped opened university doors for her. 

 “HBKU has been very helpful in making these prestigious universities notice my application, from insightful tips on writing a personal statement to providing glowing recommendation letters. But mostly, it was the advice, opportunities and mentorship that the professors provided throughout my time at HBKU that helped me compose the right application,” she said. 

Achieving an LL.M. will not only allow Almas to attempt a bar admission exam in the US but it will also strengthen her employment prospects. “I hope HBKU continues to give students the mentorship experience it gave me – providing an opportunity to assist in research, internship placements, and coaching in resume building and interview preparation. Moot court competitions also helped strengthen my writing, research and advocacy skills,” she added.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Almas’s first semester at HLS will be online and while formal lectures are yet to begin, her HLS class has been engaged in planning sessions online. 

Despite the disappointment in having to complete her first semester via distance learning, she is up for the challenge. She said: “I have adapted quite well to the online set-up. My classmates and I have regular zoom-meetings, or what  we call ‘Lemonade Parties’ - which are a lot of fun and a great way to network online. Due to the challenges we are facing, I believe we will become one of the most tight-knit LL.M. classes from HLS. I can’t wait to meet all of my classmates in person soon.” 

 

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