To answer the point inter alia:-
“What is your take on the LLB online degree holders taking an online US LLM and then taking a US Bar exam? And what about training contracts for non-resident online LLB holders, pretty impossible without connections”?
Online LLM degrees will probably not pass muster with most State Bars you would do well to canvass the State Bar of choice before even considering such a route. You would probably be better off obtaining a full time UK LLM degree with a US bias in your subject choices it would cost less and be of shorter duration one-year or so. Like it or not UK qualifications are regarded with some favor in the United States but as with anything else you have to test your desired qualification with the State Bar authorities. These are all listed on my website and in the book obtainable for free see below.
If you look at the Cardiff Law School web site re US students they make it clear that you can go direct to the NY bar, presumably if you have top grades, so why take an LLM? It is my view that it is better to fully qualify as a barrister first as that is a common law professional status that stands in its own right and would be a good surrogate for an LLM and cost wise is perhaps a better choice. The Bar professional training course plus pupillage is a very potent offering in the market place in the US coupled with the state bar admission. Becoming a lawyer is a rat race exercise and it is a good idea to be the bigger rat in the race. Dual qualification is a very significant status especially if it costs you less money and takes less time than the traditional route to becoming an attorney at law here in the United States. It is the purpose of my book to advance this possibility as well as offer by the way commentary on expensive untimely legal education which on the face of it is difficult to justify.
For those who qualify as barristers and take the traditional way via pupillage and tenancy they will be self-employed and should not have much of a problem with the immigration authorities. If you’re transatlantic in your practice then you'll have no problem coming and going on the usual visas for US visitors to and from United States so long as you are self-employed and you check in with the immigration authorities on the matter. My book deals with the process of qualifying first and foremost especially concerning student immigration status. There will be a new edition in the not-too-distant future in which I will examine this point more particularly.
Becoming a solicitor, even with a practicing certificate, could still be a problem as you will have to be employed by someone who is prepared to sponsor you and provide the wherewithal for you to obtain legal immigration status to remain and work in the UK. You may of course marry one of your UK law school compatriots or someone outside the law which will of course ensure your immigration resident status. My late wife had no trouble acquiring UK status from the home office and vice versa years later for me via the US Embassy in London; I obtained my green card permitting me permanent residence here in New Hampshire the live free or die state.
Given the hideous level of expense and time to become an attorney it strikes me that qualifying in the UK is a worthwhile project, how you play that out is up to the individual and always will be. Immigration rules are a tricky area of the law but for wannabe lawyers that should be grist to the mill and good experience on your way to becoming a lawyer much like time you might spend working pro bono or doing other voluntary quasi-legal work before you qualify.
In the spirit of assistance for all and sundry if you wish to have a copy of my book in the current edition please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will be pleased to send you a PDF version of the book free of charge. This I will provide for a short time for those who are interested, you will be able to post your copy of the book on to anyone you like if you think it will help them. There is a copyright notice in the PDF version of the book that makes it clear that you can do what you will with copying the book even printing it out but you must not sell it.