Law School Discussion

Bilingual advantages? Work in US or Japan after graduation?

Bilingual advantages? Work in US or Japan after graduation?
« on: January 24, 2009, 10:30:49 AM »
Hey guys. First post. Nice to meet y'all.

I'm a Japanese native who went through the American school system (K-12). I'm currently a junior at a top-15 university majoring in journalism (aand.. you've probably just figured out which exact school I attend :P). Anyway, I am fluent in both Japanese and English, and my goal is to practice American law for Japanese clients. Even though Japanese is my native language, I am better with English, so I am working to improve my Japanese skills. To work with Japanese clients, my Japanese ability would have to be at the business level.. which it is not. I would like to take 2-3 years off after graduation before law school.

With that said, I am debating my course of action after graduation. I could A) seek a job at a documentary production firm in the U.S. (something I'm interested in) or B) seek ANY job in Japan to gain some experience in corporate Japan.

Pros for option A:
-It's something I'd like to do, and something I went to school for

Cons for option A:
-Not able to gain business-level proficiency in Japanese
-I would be wasting the only opportunity to do whatever I want for a few years. Once I become a lawyer, it would be almost impossible for me to get a real job in Japan and learn about corporate Japan


Pros for option B:
-Gain business-level proficiency in Japanese
-I get to learn about corporate Japan (worlds different from the U.S.), which would help me down the road when dealing with Japanese clients

Cons for option B:
-I would probably hate my life. I will most likely not get a journalism job (let alone documentary production) in Japan
-My English skills WILL get rusty. I would have to study my ass off for the LSAT to prepare and to stay sharp
-Would I have to apply as an international applicant? That would suck...

This is such a hard decision because each option has significant pros and cons. My goal is building an application that would make it easier for me to get into law school. If that means staying in the U.S., I would be up for it. However, I am very intrigued by option B, because I do want to sharpen my Japanese skills. I also don't want to disadvantage myself and apply as an international applicant if I don't have to. I'd like to hear your opinion on this because I don't know how admission officers weigh certain qualities. Is having work experience in Japan and being bilingual enough to offset the disadvantages of applying international? The unique experience I would get from working in Japan may inspire some essay topics as well.

As you can see, I would much rather prefer to go to Japan, but I do not want to sacrifice my admission chances by doing it. Although my goal is to pass the bar here in the U.S. and have Japanese clients, I can't do all that without a degree from a good law school... so what I need to focus on at this moment is getting into a good law school.