CA Bar Eligibility - University of London Grads


This is a long shot but here goes. Does anyone know if there are any exceptions to the California bar eligibility requirement for foreign attorneys.

I have already taken the exam for the New York State bar - and was eligible to do so without an LLM because I had an LLB from the University of London (LSE). It took me ages to discover that I was eligible and now I am trying to find out whether CA operates anything equivalent.

I took the NY bar in 2014 and now will move to California. Does anyone here know or have heard of any friends who took the California bar without a JD and without doing an LLM first (i.e. in a way similar as allowed by the New York State bar which determines an LLB from certain UK universities to come under their definition of a 'qualifying law degree').

Will be impressed if anyone has any further leads on this, thanks!

While I'm here, I'm also happy to pay it forward and answer any questions about taking the New York bar exam as a foreign attorney as I have a lot of hard won knowledge about that. Feel free to PM.

[Edited by HelloUpThere on Nov 14, 2016]

This is a long shot but here goes. Does anyone know if there are any exceptions to the California bar eligibility requirement for foreign attorneys.

I have already taken the exam for the New York State bar - and was eligible to do so without an LLM because I had an LLB from the University of London (LSE). It took me ages to discover that I was eligible and now I am trying to find out whether CA operates anything equivalent.

I took the NY bar in 2014 and now will move to California. Does anyone here know or have heard of any friends who took the California bar without a JD and without doing an LLM first (i.e. in a way similar as allowed by the New York State bar which determines an LLB from certain UK universities to come under their definition of a 'qualifying law degree').

Will be impressed if anyone has any further leads on this, thanks!

While I'm here, I'm also happy to pay it forward and answer any questions about taking the New York bar exam as a foreign attorney as I have a lot of hard won knowledge about that. Feel free to PM.
quote
chicken so...
You should be able to take it without an LLM, assuming they accept that LSE's LLB is equivalent to a JD from the US.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Education/LegalEducation/ForeignEducation.aspx
"Foreign Law Students With First Degree of Law"
You should be able to take it without an LLM, assuming they accept that LSE's LLB is equivalent to a JD from the US.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Education/LegalEducation/ForeignEducation.aspx
"Foreign Law Students With First Degree of Law"
quote
Hi Chicken Soup - really appreciate the pointer, thanks for heeding my call! That link put me on the right scent. I have a much more thorough overview after putting in some time with all their rules, yet I still can't find a clear pronouncement on this.

"If you are interested in pursuing admission to practice law in California as a foreign-educated applicant who is not admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction, the information you should read and forms that you need to complete are noted below." I think this wording certainly alludes to another protocol but have not been able to unearth.

[As an FYI for future lurkers reading this thread]: I did manage to speak to a friend who had done an LLM out in CA but was told by the CA Bar that she would have to qualify in another state (NY) before she could take the CA bar and that her LLM was not the correct path. I need to verify this as I can't find this authority anywhere in crisp English and it's starting to feel like a quagmire. Will resort to calling the CA bar to see if they're feeling helpful...

[Edited by HelloUpThere on Nov 17, 2016]

Hi Chicken Soup - really appreciate the pointer, thanks for heeding my call! That link put me on the right scent. I have a much more thorough overview after putting in some time with all their rules, yet I still can't find a clear pronouncement on this.

"If you are interested in pursuing admission to practice law in California as a <b>foreign-educated applicant who is not admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction,</b> the information you should read and forms that you need to complete are noted below." I think this wording certainly alludes to another protocol but have not been able to unearth.

[As an FYI for future lurkers reading this thread]: I did manage to speak to a friend who had done an LLM out in CA but was told by the CA Bar that she would have to qualify in another state (NY) before she could take the CA bar and that her LLM was not the correct path. I need to verify this as I can't find this authority anywhere in crisp English and it's starting to feel like a quagmire. Will resort to calling the CA bar to see if they're feeling helpful...
quote
chicken so...
It's all there, and is relatively clear:

Law Students who received their first degree in law from a law school outside the United States must establish their eligibility to take the California Bar Examination by showing that their degree is equivalent to a Juris Doctor (JD) degree awarded by an American Bar Association (ABA) approved or California accredited law school in the United States and that they have successfully completed a year of law study at an ABA approved law school or a law school
accredited by the Committee in the areas of law as outlined in the Committee’s “Guidelines for Implementation of Chapter 2, Rule 4.30 of the Admissions Rules.”

They keep it purposefully vague so that they have the option of making a judgment call on each individual applicant.
It's all there, and is relatively clear:

[quote]Law Students who received their first degree in law from a law school outside the United States must establish their eligibility to take the California Bar Examination by showing that their degree is equivalent to a Juris Doctor (JD) degree awarded by an American Bar Association (ABA) approved or California accredited law school in the United States and that they have successfully completed a year of law study at an ABA approved law school or a law school
accredited by the Committee in the areas of law as outlined in the Committee’s “Guidelines for Implementation of Chapter 2, Rule 4.30 of the Admissions Rules.”[/quote]
They keep it purposefully vague so that they have the option of making a judgment call on each individual applicant.
quote
sAmeee
Hello,
Could you please give your precious opinion on my situation here..
I have pursued two Bachelor's degree in LAW from University of London International Programmes, and another from my home country Bangladesh. I am also a US citizen and have moved to the usa for good.

I don't know if I would be allowed to sit for the NY Bar exam without Llm in usa. I have applied for the evaluation recently.

I can also follow the JD route but it's going to take a further 4years to complete (2018 session).and the endless debt scares me. Is JD extremely desirable? Can't my uk degree suffice for employment in big firms if I hv a usa Llm in taxation? I'm worried about the consequences- the time I will be investing, the huge debt and employment.

If I take the llm route,I can get the license in two years perhaps. I would want to open up my own firm once I get the license. So how are the chances for my plan to succeed. As you are licensed in usa, you would definitely know how it is for real.

Would it be a good idea to choose llm in taxation over JD. Would be a smart move to open up my own firm than to work for an employer just after getting the license? I would want to practice in family law,immigration, taxation areas.

Please advice

[Edited by sAmeee on Nov 29, 2016]

Hello,
Could you please give your precious opinion on my situation here..
I have pursued two Bachelor's degree in LAW from University of London International Programmes, and another from my home country Bangladesh. I am also a US citizen and have moved to the usa for good.

I don't know if I would be allowed to sit for the NY Bar exam without Llm in usa. I have applied for the evaluation recently.

I can also follow the JD route but it's going to take a further 4years to complete (2018 session).and the endless debt scares me. Is JD extremely desirable? Can't my uk degree suffice for employment in big firms if I hv a usa Llm in taxation? I'm worried about the consequences- the time I will be investing, the huge debt and employment.

If I take the llm route,I can get the license in two years perhaps. I would want to open up my own firm once I get the license. So how are the chances for my plan to succeed. As you are licensed in usa, you would definitely know how it is for real.

Would it be a good idea to choose llm in taxation over JD. Would be a smart move to open up my own firm than to work for an employer just after getting the license? I would want to practice in family law,immigration, taxation areas.

Please advice
quote
Hi SaMeee

I said I'd pay it forward - so here's my two cents:
If you have an LLB law bachelors from the uk it's possible that you will be eligible to take the New York State bar as their requirement is that you have your legal education from a common law jurisdiction. The other option is that they now have 2 year JD's for those who've already studied law in other jurisdictions/would be otherwise eligible to take an LLM.

If they deem you inelegible I would urge you to consider the mini JD over the LLM (unless you definitely want to only go into tax law of course!) and I say this with good reason. Based on my personal experience in the US job market and trying to find work with an unorthodox legal educational background (as compared to the US job seakers I'm competing with) I have seen that there are so many jobs (especially entry level and transitional non law jobs looking for lawyers) that expressly require 'JD only' - even above looking for NY qualified... I have found that recruiters don't readily know what to do with you when you apply without a JD as there is no way for them to understand the basis of your foreign training.
I see you say your game plan is to start out on your own however, in which case the tax LLM would probably be most lucrative for you - per your own conclusion.

It's frustrating finding work out here, the market in New York at least is truly saturated. I often feel like I need to do everything backwards, even though I'm qualified to practice law in NY I sometimes wonder if it would take getting a mini JD in order to need these increasingly bizarre blanket requirements.

Are your degrees completed over distance learning? I can't quite remember if New York now recognise those...

[Edited by HelloUpThere on Dec 05, 2016]

Hi SaMeee

I said I'd pay it forward - so here's my two cents:
If you have an LLB law bachelors from the uk it's possible that you will be eligible to take the New York State bar as their requirement is that you have your legal education from a common law jurisdiction. The other option is that they now have 2 year JD's for those who've already studied law in other jurisdictions/would be otherwise eligible to take an LLM.

If they deem you inelegible I would urge you to consider the mini JD over the LLM (unless you definitely want to only go into tax law of course!) and I say this with good reason. Based on my personal experience in the US job market and trying to find work with an unorthodox legal educational background (as compared to the US job seakers I'm competing with) I have seen that there are so many jobs (especially entry level and transitional non law jobs looking for lawyers) that expressly require 'JD only' - even above looking for NY qualified... I have found that recruiters don't readily know what to do with you when you apply without a JD as there is no way for them to understand the basis of your foreign training.
I see you say your game plan is to start out on your own however, in which case the tax LLM would probably be most lucrative for you - per your own conclusion.

It's frustrating finding work out here, the market in New York at least is truly saturated. I often feel like I need to do everything backwards, even though I'm qualified to practice law in NY I sometimes wonder if it would take getting a mini JD in order to need these increasingly bizarre blanket requirements.

Are your degrees completed over distance learning? I can't quite remember if New York now recognise those...



quote
Hello Chicken Soup.

Would really need your advice here... I have a International Program LLB degree of the University of London. I had it from Hong Kong, am I eligible to sit for bar exam in New York ?

Cheers, Karena
Hello Chicken Soup.

Would really need your advice here... I have a International Program LLB degree of the University of London. I had it from Hong Kong, am I eligible to sit for bar exam in New York ?

Cheers, Karena
quote
chicken so...
Short answer: I'm not sure and you should have the NY bar evaluate your education.

The requirements call for foreign-educated applicants to have a degree that, in terms of duration and substance, is "substantially equivalent" to degrees at ABA-accredited law schools.

You can have the bar evaluate your education and they'll tell you if you're eligible, or if not, what you'd need to do to become eligible.

The broader question is, even having passed the bar exam, could you find work as an attorney in the US without US-based studies or work experience? Assuming that's your goal, you should research the realistic possibilities - they are few and between.
Short answer: I'm not sure and you should have the NY bar evaluate your education.

The requirements call for foreign-educated applicants to have a degree that, in terms of duration and substance, is "substantially equivalent" to degrees at ABA-accredited law schools.

You can have the bar evaluate your education and they'll tell you if you're eligible, or if not, what you'd need to do to become eligible.

The broader question is, even having passed the bar exam, could you find work as an attorney in the US without US-based studies or work experience? Assuming that's your goal, you should research the realistic possibilities - they are few and between.
quote

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