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Topics - dalgray

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Nontraditional qualifications in the law will include choosing to qualify outside the United States. At first glance, this might sound crazy but this is a very serious point which is being overlooked for years by American law students time and again.

Here's the dirty secret, English lawyers regularly take the New York State and often the California state bar examinations. Why do they do this? To further their careers the very simple answer, and it does! What is slightly surprising is why American law students haven't calmed on to this one so far.

Currently, students here in the United States take a four year degree in a usually non-cognate subject then proceed to postgraduate law school for a further 3 1/2 years making it about 7/2 to 8 years or longer before presenting for the state bar exams. This is so conventional that very few students could even contemplate bucking the system especially law students are some of the most hidebound folk on the University campus. Sorry to make the comment around sad to relate it is true more often than not. For all the so-called radicals they are perhaps the most hidebound and narrow minded entities on campus.

So if you can buck the system, how would you do it? Firstly, that me tell you something about qualifying in England and why it is so radically different. While the law is much the same the method of qualification really is different and here's why. The traditional law degree is the LLB taken straight from high school; this degree qualifies you to come a solicitor or barrister. Barristers take a year at bar school after the LLB degree then a further year in pupillage supervised by capable master, a senior barrister who schools them to the year while they conduct in this second six months a fully fledged practice under some light supervision. Once you have completed the degree, bar school, and your pupillage you become fully qualified and this means you are a qualified foreign lawyer from a common law jurisdiction and thus you have privileges within the state bar exam regimes. Go look it up, you will find Byzantine rules but nevertheless you should be able to qualify within four or five years from leaving high school as an attorney at law. Recently, in the UK, with ever rising University fees, some bachelorís degrees including law and now offered in two years flat. This is managed by utilizing the summer vacation for extra lectures and tutorials.

The book Law in Four has been published in August dealing with just how to utilize this difference between the jurisdictions and qualify as an attorney at law and a barrister at law in as little as four years from leaving high school. Yes it can be done and frankly it should be there is no good reason why eight years should be the norm for becoming an attorney at law, it is time to change it.

Universities such as Cardiff in Wales have been offering students from America courses for the LLB tailored for their desire to become attorneys at law as well as qualifying in the UK. Go look it up an e-mail them you will get the lowdown on how that particular college approaches the whole issue.

The book is designed to court publicity of the winners and losers costs which are now being introduced in Texas, Britain has a very sophisticated costs awards system the obviates the need for tort reform, read the book and you'll find out how this works. Also you will find in the book a discussion about possible ways to reform the qualification process for attorneys at law. Currently, the JD is the Junior degree to the LLM degree which is a true postgraduate degree this is because the original award from law school once the LLB degree later transmogrified into the JD. One simple reform would be to split professional legal training into two main parts as is done in the UK. The LLB should be reintroduced at the undergraduate level training students for two years, or three at worst, as paralegals. The postgraduate stage should be a two year program inclusive of a clerkship much like the English pupillage with practical real in office in the courts on the job legal training.

There is a great deal involved in qualifying as a barrister, or a solicitor for that matter, but it is eminently possible for American law students to qualify via the UK and repatriate to the states with a dual qualification in two jurisdictions.
One thing you will be meeting when you look for jobs is hundreds of other JD graduates, but of course you won't have a JD but you will have real experience in more than one jurisdiction with access to European Union and of course to many of the old British Commonwealth nations. Those of you who speak European languages might choose to extend your LLB's up to four years to include qualifications admissions to state bars in many of the European Union states. That would give you three jurisdictions are completed within the time it takes to get the usual traditional JD and state bar exam. The book Law in Four covers much of this in outline.
True alternative and nontraditional approaches to qualifying as attorneys at law are eminently possible and should be part of the consideration process prior to committing to many years of financial penury and of course extended duration of qualifying by the current educational process for lawyers in United States.

The traditional qualification route is fine so long as  You assume that it's cost and duration are reasonable, if that is okay for you take on the debt and of course lose all those extra years that you could save by choosing other ways.

British universities, much like many universities in the states are well versed in looking after foreign students and are very helpful in respect of all the administrative requirements of qualifying for entry to UK colleges and universities. All this is dealt with in the book see info at

Thank you to the reader for taking the time to read this article. Those of you with critical comments please make them sensible and not just vituperate responses. It is not the intention of the author to insult anybody but merely to point out that there are useful alternatives.

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