LLM vs. NY Bar


coco

After weeks of agonizing over this dilemma, I've decided to bow out of my acceptances to Columbia and NYU. I've been speaking with various people in the legal profession and the consensus seems to be that passing the NY Bar alone is all I'll really need to work in the US. Let's face it , without a JD (which I'm not willing to do from scratch) it'll be a rough ride (whether I have an LLM or not), so I think my life experiences and door knocking ability will have to come into play. This is not to say an LLM is a poor move, but the time (1 year) and financial investment (70k) won't 'significantly' increase my marketability to the point of justifying it - unless of course I want to hyper specialize in something like tax, which I don't. Also, I'd much rather work for a small mom and pop outfit, so I don't need to impress anyone with big name schools after my name.

So there you have it, I'm going to keep my 70k (life savings) and use it to tie me over while looking for work. Hopefully I'll pass the Bar exam in July... getting ready to hit the books.

All the best everyone!

After weeks of agonizing over this dilemma, I've decided to bow out of my acceptances to Columbia and NYU. I've been speaking with various people in the legal profession and the consensus seems to be that passing the NY Bar alone is all I'll really need to work in the US. Let's face it , without a JD (which I'm not willing to do from scratch) it'll be a rough ride (whether I have an LLM or not), so I think my life experiences and door knocking ability will have to come into play. This is not to say an LLM is a poor move, but the time (1 year) and financial investment (70k) won't 'significantly' increase my marketability to the point of justifying it - unless of course I want to hyper specialize in something like tax, which I don't. Also, I'd much rather work for a small mom and pop outfit, so I don't need to impress anyone with big name schools after my name.

So there you have it, I'm going to keep my 70k (life savings) and use it to tie me over while looking for work. Hopefully I'll pass the Bar exam in July... getting ready to hit the books.

All the best everyone!
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JDI

excellent post coco, you raise some very interesting points.

In your case it seems reasonalbe that you don't need the LLM. For those who want to teach or go back to their home countries then it makes more sense. I think you could do a JD in 2 years, but it's still a big expense with no guarantees. If you're NY qualified and have the right personality/attitude, you'll find fulfilling work. take good care.

excellent post coco, you raise some very interesting points.

In your case it seems reasonalbe that you don't need the LLM. For those who want to teach or go back to their home countries then it makes more sense. I think you could do a JD in 2 years, but it's still a big expense with no guarantees. If you're NY qualified and have the right personality/attitude, you'll find fulfilling work. take good care.
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if you're already a US citizen/perm resident, or else already have an LLM or JD, then i guess you wouldn't need to, unless like you said, you want to specialize in tax or something.

otherwise, it'd be foolish of you to think you can just come to the US and land a job after passing the NY Bar. the LLM at the very least, at least from a top 10 school, gives you credibility, plus, a year to look for work and/or work, and then once in, get a longer work permit and ultimately a green card.

as for mom n pop outfits, they are more likely to require a JD than the bigger firms who sometimes will hire good LLMs w/ languages and prior work experience. i myself had to get a full JD just to have the chance of now working for a 3 man law firm earning less than 40K. but heck, i'm in the US and consider it a privilege to live here.

if you're already a US citizen/perm resident, or else already have an LLM or JD, then i guess you wouldn't need to, unless like you said, you want to specialize in tax or something.

otherwise, it'd be foolish of you to think you can just come to the US and land a job after passing the NY Bar. the LLM at the very least, at least from a top 10 school, gives you credibility, plus, a year to look for work and/or work, and then once in, get a longer work permit and ultimately a green card.

as for mom n pop outfits, they are more likely to require a JD than the bigger firms who sometimes will hire good LLMs w/ languages and prior work experience. i myself had to get a full JD just to have the chance of now working for a 3 man law firm earning less than 40K. but heck, i'm in the US and consider it a privilege to live here.
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coco

I am a US citizen. I did an LLB in England because my girlfriend was living there at the time. Looking back I should have done a JD but it's too late for that now. Basically, I have a BA and an LLB. So you think I'm a dead man without an LLM from a top 10?

I am a US citizen. I did an LLB in England because my girlfriend was living there at the time. Looking back I should have done a JD but it's too late for that now. Basically, I have a BA and an LLB. So you think I'm a dead man without an LLM from a top 10?
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if you're already a US citizen then you can take the chance i guess, or else hang your shingle. but, obviously you'll need to come up w/ some reason why you should be hire w/out any US law school education.

I am a US citizen. I did an LLB in England because my girlfriend was living there at the time. Looking back I should have done a JD but it's too late for that now. Basically, I have a BA and an LLB. So you think I'm a dead man without an LLM from a top 10?

if you're already a US citizen then you can take the chance i guess, or else hang your shingle. but, obviously you'll need to come up w/ some reason why you should be hire w/out any US law school education.

<blockquote>I am a US citizen. I did an LLB in England because my girlfriend was living there at the time. Looking back I should have done a JD but it's too late for that now. Basically, I have a BA and an LLB. So you think I'm a dead man without an LLM from a top 10? </blockquote>
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oh, i see, i think you could justify that you have a 3 yr law degree which you took after undergraduate.

oh, i see, i think you could justify that you have a 3 yr law degree which you took after undergraduate.
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coco

I would consider a JD, but only if I could do it in around 2 years. I know there are several schools offering 2 year programs for foreign trained lawyers, but they all want the LSAT prior to applying; so that essentially makes it a 3 year ordeal...

I would consider a JD, but only if I could do it in around 2 years. I know there are several schools offering 2 year programs for foreign trained lawyers, but they all want the LSAT prior to applying; so that essentially makes it a 3 year ordeal...
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Cindy

Underemployedlawyer,
Could you please tell us which universities you consider "top 10". Are you talking about the 10 first schools in the US News ranking?
Thank you for your answer!

Underemployedlawyer,
Could you please tell us which universities you consider "top 10". Are you talking about the 10 first schools in the US News ranking?
Thank you for your answer!
quote

yes - see USNews rankings for 2006 e.g., harvard, yale, etc. the majority of biglaw employers recognize school names, not programs.

Underemployedlawyer,
Could you please tell us which universities you consider "top 10". Are you talking about the 10 first schools in the US News ranking?
Thank you for your answer!

yes - see USNews rankings for 2006 e.g., harvard, yale, etc. the majority of biglaw employers recognize school names, not programs.

<blockquote>Underemployedlawyer,
Could you please tell us which universities you consider "top 10". Are you talking about the 10 first schools in the US News ranking?
Thank you for your answer!</blockquote>
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richardvf

Coco,

Because you are a US citizen and are already qualified to take the NY bar exam, your rationale makes sense to me. You have a nice little nest egg that you can use to start your own practice or to supplement your income if you get a job at a small firm that does not initially pay well. If anything, a 2 year JD would be better than a LLM. However, given your career goals, a JD or LLM is really not necessary.

Coco,

Because you are a US citizen and are already qualified to take the NY bar exam, your rationale makes sense to me. You have a nice little nest egg that you can use to start your own practice or to supplement your income if you get a job at a small firm that does not initially pay well. If anything, a 2 year JD would be better than a LLM. However, given your career goals, a JD or LLM is really not necessary.
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coco

Thanks richardvf,

The only reason I was considering an LLM is because my LLB is from a relatively unknown school in England. I then realized that there are less exorbitant ways of gaining credibility than spending 70k for a top tier LLM - If NY state admits me to their bar, that's credibility enough.

Thanks richardvf,

The only reason I was considering an LLM is because my LLB is from a relatively unknown school in England. I then realized that there are less exorbitant ways of gaining credibility than spending 70k for a top tier LLM - If NY state admits me to their bar, that's credibility enough.
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IntLaw

Coco,
I am so glad to read your post. U raised some valid points and some of them clarify my doubts.

I too am a US citizen (by some sheer stroke of luck, u can say, was born here). Have a law degree LLB from India. Consistently good acads and extra curriculars. So can get into LLM in top 5, I think. Want to work in US. Find 70K way out of my reach to cough up. ....so your NY bar route seems good to me

Would u know if Indian LLB would let me sit for NY bar? Ours is a 3 year LLB course, after graduation. LLB in India is based on Common Law System, most laws being taken from UK laws.

Thanks. Good luck!!

Coco,
I am so glad to read your post. U raised some valid points and some of them clarify my doubts.

I too am a US citizen (by some sheer stroke of luck, u can say, was born here). Have a law degree LLB from India. Consistently good acads and extra curriculars. So can get into LLM in top 5, I think. Want to work in US. Find 70K way out of my reach to cough up. ....so your NY bar route seems good to me

Would u know if Indian LLB would let me sit for NY bar? Ours is a 3 year LLB course, after graduation. LLB in India is based on Common Law System, most laws being taken from UK laws.

Thanks. Good luck!!
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coco

Hi IntLaw,

That's a very good question. From what I know (but don't quote me) I think the LLB has to be from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. It does not seem fair that India is excluded considering the common law background. I would hope someone else in the forum can clarify your question more definitively. I was under the impression that an applicant with an LLB from India must first do an American LLM.

Hi IntLaw,

That's a very good question. From what I know (but don't quote me) I think the LLB has to be from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. It does not seem fair that India is excluded considering the common law background. I would hope someone else in the forum can clarify your question more definitively. I was under the impression that an applicant with an LLB from India must first do an American LLM.
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IntLaw

Thanks coco, for a quick reply. Though I must admit I would have like a delayed but different reply..:-). So may be cant get out of LLM after all...bummer

Thanks coco, for a quick reply. Though I must admit I would have like a delayed but different reply..:-). So may be cant get out of LLM after all...bummer
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coco

I would check the NY Bar exam website for more detailed info. Don't give up hope, maybe you'll qualify afterall.

I would check the NY Bar exam website for more detailed info. Don't give up hope, maybe you'll qualify afterall.
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richardvf

Also check California, which does not require a LL.M if certain foreign education requirements are met. www.calbar.org.

Also check California, which does not require a LL.M if certain foreign education requirements are met. www.calbar.org.
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IntLaw

Thanks Coco and Richardvf. I will check the california website. Hope there is a way to appear for bar there. Thanks again.

Thanks Coco and Richardvf. I will check the california website. Hope there is a way to appear for bar there. Thanks again.
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IntLaw

I found some relevent on www.calbar.org
I thought I would reproduce it here for the benefit of those who need it.....

"To be eligible to take the California Bar Examination, one must have completed at least two years of college before beginning the study of law or must have passed certain specified College Level Equivalency Program examinations before beginning law study and must have graduated from a law school approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of The State Bar of California or have completed four years of law study at an unaccredited or correspondence law school registered with the Committee or studied law in a law office or judge's chambers in accordance with the Rules Regulating Admission to Practice Law in California."

So I guess, for me, there is no way to get around LLM.

I found some relevent on www.calbar.org
I thought I would reproduce it here for the benefit of those who need it.....

"To be eligible to take the California Bar Examination, one must have completed at least two years of college before beginning the study of law or must have passed certain specified College Level Equivalency Program examinations before beginning law study and must have graduated from a law school approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of The State Bar of California or have completed four years of law study at an unaccredited or correspondence law school registered with the Committee or studied law in a law office or judge's chambers in accordance with the Rules Regulating Admission to Practice Law in California."

So I guess, for me, there is no way to get around LLM.
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student02

Its significant to note the following aspects
a) Recently the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test has been introduced in India . Now Indian laywyers can appear for the test to get the 'Solicitor England and Wales' qualification.
b) I think the primary reason for Indians not being able to appear for the NY Bar exam coupled with coaching programs like BARBRI is due the closed approach the the Indian legal system has towards foreign firms.
c)The situation should change in the near future once International firms make a foray into India and set up offices. We still do not have any large law firm to boast about except perhaps the two or three standard Indian'large' law firms. NY Bar Exams without an LLM requirement can only become a reality once firms like Clifford Chance, Shearman and Sterling or Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer enter the Indian market.

Its significant to note the following aspects
a) Recently the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test has been introduced in India . Now Indian laywyers can appear for the test to get the 'Solicitor England and Wales' qualification.
b) I think the primary reason for Indians not being able to appear for the NY Bar exam coupled with coaching programs like BARBRI is due the closed approach the the Indian legal system has towards foreign firms.
c)The situation should change in the near future once International firms make a foray into India and set up offices. We still do not have any large law firm to boast about except perhaps the two or three standard Indian'large' law firms. NY Bar Exams without an LLM requirement can only become a reality once firms like Clifford Chance, Shearman and Sterling or Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer enter the Indian market.
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IntLaw

Thanks Student02. Lets keep our fingers crossed that India opens up sooner.
One question - with QLTT u mentioned above, can one practice in UK?

Thanks Student02. Lets keep our fingers crossed that India opens up sooner.
One question - with QLTT u mentioned above, can one practice in UK?
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