If you contemplate going down some unknown road like an English online law degree - submit your plan to the state bar first and get an opinion in writing. California has a process for this.
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Messages - jonlevy
« on: November 24, 2013, 09:46:37 PM »
The Concord case was a one off situation. Typically an online California grad can take the Cal bar and after 5 years practice motion into the DC bar and this is it with a few very minor exceptions.
Yes you can practice as a non attorney before the US Tax Court, you will need to pass an exam. plus have 2 sponsors. You don't need a LLM but that might be one way to get in and make connections.
I also have tried to warn that this may not even result in a bar ticket. Unless he has a firm committment in writing from the Cal Bar that they will accept a foreign distance learning LLB plus LLM; I have my doubts the bar will comply. The Cal Bar as I have noted before is not obligated to accept just any foreign LLB - would they accept a LLB from UNISA or University of Zimbabwe absent a license - I am not so sure. I think the bar will look at the degree itself and make a decision and since it is a DL degree and not Oxford, the result may be in question.
However I do disagree, a LLB plus LLM and bar course is likely just as good as a California DL JD - that is to say about 5-1 odds against passing.
If it was me - I'd go for the solicitor license first and then the the US Bar.
It is hard enough to get a bar ticket with a foreign license - getting in with a foreign law degree and a one year LLM sounds good theory but likely will not work. How would the bar evaluate the foreign law degree? A 1 year LLM is not the same as a 3 year JD.
New York will generally let English solicitors take the bar but the catch is they have to get licensed first which means a training contract in England first. There has been discussion here that one could get a foreign distance learning law degree and then somehow qualify to take a US bar without being licensed as a foreign attorney first. I have my doubts it will work since the bar will apprehend that we have a US resident obtaining a foreign DL degree when they simply could have enrolled in a California DL school. I see no reason why the bar would do someone outside their scheme any favors.
Concord is regionally accredited but not by the state bar. That means a Concord JD in theory is marginally better because it also has some academic standing if one wanted to enter a non law graduate program later or try for a job based on the JD alone.