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LLM, MCL, SJD, PhD

Wanaporn Techagaisiyavanit, SJD'11
Home Country:
Thailand
Previous Education:
LLM, University of Southern California; J.D., University of Denver

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“Indiana Law is more than a school — it's family”
Wanaporn Techagaisiyavanit, SJD'11

Why the Maurer School of Law? The first time I learned about the Maurer School of Law was through the recommendation of a senior friend who was then a judge, and had earned her LL.M from the law school. She spoke highly of its academic environment, and the qualities of the social and cultural lives, which was something I always considered the most when it came to choosing the right school for myself. To me, life is all about balance. You play hard and you work hard. I then received personal greetings from Professor Sarah Hughes, my adviser, informing me that I was accepted to the law school. I was overwhelmed by both the news and the fact that I was given personal attention and support from the very beginning. It made me realize that the school is more than just an educational institution, but also your family that you can count on. That's when I decided without a second thought that this was the school for me.

Who were some of your favorite professors? I had taken a couple classes with Professor Susan Williams on the constitutional subjects (Constitutional Design and Political Theory), which turned out to be my favorite topics. Before then, I actually had the privilege to meet her in person through a Thai student alumni association dinner in Bangkok in 2008. I was drawn by her personal interest and substantial knowledge about Southeast Asian cultures and politics. Professor Williams is one of the most inspiring lecturers I ever had throughout my years of law schools. Both classes made you feel as if you were the center of the subject. She allowed students to explore their knowledge, to be creative and to really discover what their potentials are. At the end of the semesters, I found myself more confident and comfortable with who I am, which is an unusual but eye-opening academic experience.

What did you enjoy most about life in Bloomington? I love the fact that the town cherishes arts and cultural diversity. Given its size, I couldn't believe how much the town has to offer. There are tons of ethnic restaurants such as Burmese, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Italian, Indian, Korean, Japanese and Thai, many of which are not commonly found in small towns over here. My favorite local coffee shop is Sweet Clair's which is owned by a kind Filipino lady. I once half joked with my friend that I had proclaimed her hot chocolate to be the best in town! In the summer, there is a music festival sponsored by reputable IU Jacobs School of Music, art shows and street performances. All these fun activities help to enhance my academic experience in a way that whenever I am stressed out I know where my cures are.

What should students look for in a law school? I feel that many students will generally choose a law school based solely on its overall ranking and reputation. And it's true that such factors may somewhat reflect the quality of academic environment. But I think it's even more important to know what area of your interest is, and rather base your decision on which school can offer the best available resources in that particular area. The second thing on my list is how supportive and attentive the graduate program is, not just academically, but also socially. And finally, the accessibility of the faculty members is very important so you can address your concerns and get adequate help when needed. This last factor is a bit tricky to find out in advance. I think I just got lucky that I got this sense when I first learned about my acceptance from the law school.