When Surya Binoy ’11 LL.M. graduated from the National Law University, Jodphur, in 2009, she had decided to pursue a career in academia. Then she landed a clerkship with the Supreme Court of India—the first of several opportunities that would prompt her to change her plans dramatically.
As a law clerk, Binoy helped draft opinions that would affect not only the lives of those directly involved in the cases, but Indian society as a whole. The experience, she says, was formative.
“[The justice] would pose a question to me and say, ‘You find the answer,’” recalls Binoy, who is the first recipient of the Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowship, a Law School scholarship funded by the Indian government. “I felt strengthened by the confidence he gave me.”
It wasn’t until Binoy arrived in Morningside Heights this past fall that she began to seriously contemplate a career outside the classroom. At the Law School, Binoy joined the staff of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law and completed a comprehensive student note. Faculty members with wide-ranging careers inspired her, and New York City exposed her to a plethora of international organizations and law firms performing cutting-edge legal work.
Although she may still teach one day, Binoy is currently exploring a number of different career options, including trade litigation and policy work. “After coming to the Law School, I realized there are many more opportunities,” she notes. “Perhaps I can have a more direct impact on people’s lives.”