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Author Topic: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice  (Read 1393 times)

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2007, 11:04:36 AM »
Not true, I know someone with a law degree from Cambridge that works in NYC... as long as you pass the Bar, you should be fine. At least thats what I understand she did.

there are several states that let you sit for the bar without having a law degree of any type. CA is one. the person you know must have done that.

that said, passing the bar in a state that doesn't require a JD certainly doesn't mean you are going to be a shoo in for any attorney position out there. as a poster above pointed out, most firms will require an LLM.
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LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2007, 11:27:38 AM »
A U.S. JD is the most portable credential an aspiring international lawyer can obtain, short of a post-JD LL.M. I'd look into a U.S. law school with a well-established international reputation and/or joint degree program (Columbia and Cornell come to mind).

A US law degree will give ou the freedom to range throughout Europe and the globe. Even the best UK degree is much less mobile.

This may be true in some abstract sense, because it's the most advanced degree (short of the SJD) from our super awesome country, but in practice if you want to practice the law of other countries, your US JD isn't any more of an advantage than somebody's LLB from Oxford + work experience.  A US JD gives you the freedom to work for any large firm in any large city that's doing corporate law, but I don't know if it's any more portable than anybody else's degree.     

I'd have to disagree. The US JD is more portable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, much of international law is modeled after US standards, norms and policies, so it helps to have that background. Secondly, it's a JD from an economically powerful English-speaking country. Whether justified or not, that plays a role in one's ability to get hired overseas. The American JD requires graduate work, whereas law degrees from other countries are on par with any old undergrad degree in the humanities, both in terms of difficulty and in terms of placement. And perhaps most importantly, an individual with a law degree from a civil country has a limited database of knowledge that is largely useless on the international arena.

My good friend has a law degree from Kazakhstan. She was an oil and gas litigator there for two years before coming to Berkeley for her LLM and, subsequently, JD. Although she spoke English fluently she said that the classes at Boalt were unbearably difficult for her, that the method and substance of the education in the American law school was far more challenging than anything she encountered in her law training in KZ.

Sure, the extent of the superiority may often be overstated, but I think we all know that any major firm in London would hire a US trained attorney for their corporate group before they'd hire one trained in Spain, Italy, France, Germany or Russia.
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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2007, 02:10:34 PM »

Just to be clear, in case others reading this might be confused by a misunderstanding of the American education system, law school in the US is not, technically, graduate level education.

Yes, almost all law schools now require an undergraduate degree for admission (Tulane is one that does not, more did not 20 years ago) it was never intended to be graduate level education. Law school, like pharmacy school or medical school is a professional school. It is not an academic graduate program. Graduate level research is not taught or required. Hence, in part, why there is a difference between foreign law degrees and foreign academic graduate degrees (where the later are sometimes considered equivalent).

Also not all LLM (or all jurisdictions that allow LLMs) will permit foreign trained lawyers to sit for the bar. Some require an LLM in US or Comparative Law. Check the requirements of the jurisdiction where you want to sit. Also some schools offer shorter (2 years) JD programs for foreign lawyers.


Not to be argumentative, but this seems like an odd distinction / definition to me. I know dictionary.com is not the end all be all, but it does seem in line with common usage here:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/graduate%20school

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2007, 02:45:13 PM »
I am onboard with you for academic v. professional, but why is law school not considered graduate level? That is the distinction I didn't understand.

Another bad example, but helps with common usage. USNEWS puts out a guide to best graduate schools. The three big categories are:

Business Schools
Law Schools
and
Medical Schools

All professional degrees - which I would also consider graduate level. Sorry, I am really being a little overly contentious.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 03:19:55 PM »
Even if you want to focus on the graduate v. professional nuance (which I feel has no relevance in the discussion of whether American lawyers are more extensively trained that their overseas counterparts with BA's in law), you have to concede the fact that US JD holders completed both a BA AND 3 more years of study, which inevitably makes the JD the more advanced degree.
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LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 04:46:47 PM »
I am onboard with you for academic v. professional, but why is law school not considered graduate level? That is the distinction I didn't understand.

Another bad example, but helps with common usage. USNEWS puts out a guide to best graduate schools. The three big categories are:

Business Schools
Law Schools
and
Medical Schools

All professional degrees - which I would also consider graduate level. Sorry, I am really being a little overly contentious.

Probably because most people have no idea of the difference. Who knows. Maybe if they labeled it “best professional schools” no one would buy it. At least the don’t label law schools the Jones Graduate School of Law. Save the Graduate school name for Sociology or some other school. Haveing done both, law school is not near graduate level, but its also VERY diffrent, its well, more about the profesiion than about the subject. Hard to explain until you have done both.

I'm sorry, but this distinction makes no sense to me other than in the incredibly unimportant semantic sense (i.e., law school is a professional school but is also clearly a rigorous academic experience that requires learning how to write and research), as does your contention that 'graduate school' exists at some level above law school.  Is getting a master's degree in English literature MORE difficult than going through law school? Is getting a master's in sociology MORE difficult than going through law school from an academic standpoint?  I'm guessing some 'graduate' degrees are easier than law school and some are harder, but who cares.  The reason it's hard for you to explain is that the difference isn't one that's terribly easy to distinguish.  These aren't hard and fast categories that actually tell you much about the content of the program. 

agree on all counts. furthermore, i think it's difficult to make the case that law school is just another bachelor's level degree. clearly it's a graduate degree, albeit maybe not an academic one. i am having a hard time following the logic that graduate degree and professional degree are somehow mutually exclusive.
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alphabed

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2007, 05:48:18 PM »

Unfortunately, law degrees are NOT portable. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise hasn't tried.  You will be able to work with a JD in Europe and with a European degree in the US but you will always be restricted. You will have severe problems getting admitted to the local bar whereever you try. I know people with foreign degrees that came to the US, did an LLM and still ended up doing a JD finally because a JD was the only thing accepted, bottom line. Going the other way around doesn't work much either because for starters in most European countries a 3 year degree isn't good enough for admission to the bar.

Don't forget, you won't be knowing local law either, so there's no incentive for any local bar association to admit you readily.

Bottom line, you're better off studying law right away where you want to practice. If that's not to your liking, you might be better off studying for business or something else that is portable.

UKapplicant

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2007, 06:06:13 PM »

Unfortunately, law degrees are NOT portable. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise hasn't tried.  You will be able to work with a JD in Europe and with a European degree in the US but you will always be restricted. You will have severe problems getting admitted to the local bar whereever you try. I know people with foreign degrees that came to the US, did an LLM and still ended up doing a JD finally because a JD was the only thing accepted, bottom line. Going the other way around doesn't work much either because for starters in most European countries a 3 year degree isn't good enough for admission to the bar.

Don't forget, you won't be knowing local law either, so there's no incentive for any local bar association to admit you readily.

Bottom line, you're better off studying law right away where you want to practice. If that's not to your liking, you might be better off studying for business or something else that is portable.

Thanks for being the only one to stick to the topic in the past 10 or so posts! And thanks for everyone's insights. I think I have a much better idea of what to do now that I've researched this more.

gianduiotti

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Re: Going to law school in England and coming to North America to practice
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2007, 10:02:40 PM »
Hey UKapplicant!  Sorry if you are trying to close this thread, but i thought I would say thank you to start this because I am trying to the same as you except that I'm going to get US JD. 

At first I thought of getting British LLB then qualified as a solicitor. But the prospect of not getting a training contract(particularly as an international student) really scared me.  So I thought going into firms with European offices and then transferring to these offices is a less uncertain way to work in Europe.

Anyway good luck on your decision!

   
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