EU lawyer want-a-be


millpubco
I am having difficulty finding reliable information about how to practice law in the EU.

I have two US undergrad degrees and want to get my LLM somewhere in the EU. But is that the correct path?

I have applied to JD programs here in the US and LLM programs in a variety of places in the EU.

Does anyone know where to research how an American can become a EU lawyer?
Or should I get the US JD first?
What are the requirements to be allowed to sit for a bar exam in Europe?
Which country in the EU is best for Americans trying to get a foot in the door?

Any points in the correct direction are appreciated. Thank you.
I am having difficulty finding reliable information about how to practice law in the EU.

I have two US undergrad degrees and want to get my LLM somewhere in the EU. But is that the correct path?

I have applied to JD programs here in the US and LLM programs in a variety of places in the EU.

Does anyone know where to research how an American can become a EU lawyer?
Or should I get the US JD first?
What are the requirements to be allowed to sit for a bar exam in Europe?
Which country in the EU is best for Americans trying to get a foot in the door?

Any points in the correct direction are appreciated. Thank you.
quote
The first thing to say is that being an American and practising EU law is not a problem.

George Ball, an Amercian lawyer, former US Under-Secretary of State advised Jean Monnet, the founding father of the European Union in drafting the first EU Treaties. He went on to set up Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton's office in Brussels in 1960. So the Americans can claim to have been in at the very begining of EU law. And Cleary's to this day some of the very best work-and have a mix of American and European lawyers working in their Brussels office. There are also a large number of US firms from Skadden Arps to Howrey's who all have US lawyers working on EU law (largely competition law) in their Brussels offices. [Also a European firm may well be up for taking a well-qualifed American].

That is a bit of digression, but it does explain that there is full scope for an ambitious US lawyer to work in Europe practising EU law (clearly you may also do it back home when a transaction comes across yr desk involving EU matters-but there will be normally more EU law in the Brussels office).

I would recommend doing your US JD with as many EU and international commercial options as possible ( and if possible WTO); take any semesters you can in a European University and then once you have done your JD-apply for an LLM in Europe-and again focus on EU law and competition law-as that is where the work is. Then also look at doing a stage (internship in English) in DG Competition (US nationals can do an EU stage). At that point you'll be on the ground in Brussels ready to knock on Cleary's door.

Oh and finally try and learn a useful European language. Most EU lawyers have a bit of French, but in an increasingly anglicised Brussels, perhaps German (largest economy) Spanish (vast out of EU market) or Russian (energy) would be of more practical use.

With best of luck

Dr. Alan Riley
Director LLM Programme
City Law School,
City University, London.
Electronic Mail: alan.riley.1@city.ac.uk
The first thing to say is that being an American and practising EU law is not a problem.

George Ball, an Amercian lawyer, former US Under-Secretary of State advised Jean Monnet, the founding father of the European Union in drafting the first EU Treaties. He went on to set up Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton's office in Brussels in 1960. So the Americans can claim to have been in at the very begining of EU law. And Cleary's to this day some of the very best work-and have a mix of American and European lawyers working in their Brussels office. There are also a large number of US firms from Skadden Arps to Howrey's who all have US lawyers working on EU law (largely competition law) in their Brussels offices. [Also a European firm may well be up for taking a well-qualifed American].

That is a bit of digression, but it does explain that there is full scope for an ambitious US lawyer to work in Europe practising EU law (clearly you may also do it back home when a transaction comes across yr desk involving EU matters-but there will be normally more EU law in the Brussels office).

I would recommend doing your US JD with as many EU and international commercial options as possible ( and if possible WTO); take any semesters you can in a European University and then once you have done your JD-apply for an LLM in Europe-and again focus on EU law and competition law-as that is where the work is. Then also look at doing a stage (internship in English) in DG Competition (US nationals can do an EU stage). At that point you'll be on the ground in Brussels ready to knock on Cleary's door.

Oh and finally try and learn a useful European language. Most EU lawyers have a bit of French, but in an increasingly anglicised Brussels, perhaps German (largest economy) Spanish (vast out of EU market) or Russian (energy) would be of more practical use.

With best of luck

Dr. Alan Riley
Director LLM Programme
City Law School,
City University, London.
Electronic Mail: alan.riley.1@city.ac.uk

quote
millpubco
Thank you, that is very helpful. One more question. Can a EU graduate of an LLM program sit for a bar exam in the EU, if they don't have thier JD? In other words, I know I can get into a LLM program in Brussels, but if I do that and thus avoid the 3 extra years getting the JD in the US, then will I or will I not ever be able to practice law in the EU. (I know that without the JD in the US that is not likely that I will ever practice in the US).

Is LLM enough or would I have to get the LLB?
Thank you, that is very helpful. One more question. Can a EU graduate of an LLM program sit for a bar exam in the EU, if they don't have thier JD? In other words, I know I can get into a LLM program in Brussels, but if I do that and thus avoid the 3 extra years getting the JD in the US, then will I or will I not ever be able to practice law in the EU. (I know that without the JD in the US that is not likely that I will ever practice in the US).

Is LLM enough or would I have to get the LLB?
quote
Basically, if you want to be actually a lawyer qualifed in a Member State then usually you will have to have undertaken a qualifying degree in Law (equivalent of LLB or JD in the common law systems) or conversion examination(CPE)-and then take the relevant bar exam of a Member State.

Once qualfied it is now fairly easy to re-qualify (theoretically in all 25 Member States and actually in some eg UK, Netherlands, Ireland and a few others).

An LLM as far as I am aware will not qualify you anywhere in the EU to do a Member State bar exam.

However, the most effective way to become an EU qualifed lawyer if you are from the US and keep your US options open is to do your JD at home, qualify at a US state bar and then go to London and do the qualifying test for foreign lawyers run by the English law society. As we share the same common legal heritage the exam is not a heavy burden for a US lawyer-and you get a number of exemptions.

That is I think your best option. However, if you really want to qualify as a lawyer in Europe and cut down your time qualifying there is a short-cut. I mentioned the conversion exam at the begining of this email. In England we have the Common Professional Examination (CPE). If you have a good undergraduate degree you can do the CPE which compresses all the core subjects of English law into one year, contract, tort, crime ect. At the end of doing the CPE you could do a specialist LLM, then take the professional training year, known as the Legal Practice Course, and then start on a training contract with a UK City Law Firm-and if you have specialised in EU and competition law on the LLM that should set you up pretty nicely for heading off to the Brussels office of a UK law firm or working in their EU competition department law in London.

No hard sell, but if really, really want to take the CPE route City offers the toughest CPE programme in the country and has an excellent suite of commercial law LLM subjects which would fit with your interests.

Again good luck

Dr. Alan Riley
Director LLM Programme
City Law School,
City University, London.
Electronic Mail: alan.riley.1@city.ac.uk
Basically, if you want to be actually a lawyer qualifed in a Member State then usually you will have to have undertaken a qualifying degree in Law (equivalent of LLB or JD in the common law systems) or conversion examination(CPE)-and then take the relevant bar exam of a Member State.

Once qualfied it is now fairly easy to re-qualify (theoretically in all 25 Member States and actually in some eg UK, Netherlands, Ireland and a few others).

An LLM as far as I am aware will not qualify you anywhere in the EU to do a Member State bar exam.

However, the most effective way to become an EU qualifed lawyer if you are from the US and keep your US options open is to do your JD at home, qualify at a US state bar and then go to London and do the qualifying test for foreign lawyers run by the English law society. As we share the same common legal heritage the exam is not a heavy burden for a US lawyer-and you get a number of exemptions.

That is I think your best option. However, if you really want to qualify as a lawyer in Europe and cut down your time qualifying there is a short-cut. I mentioned the conversion exam at the begining of this email. In England we have the Common Professional Examination (CPE). If you have a good undergraduate degree you can do the CPE which compresses all the core subjects of English law into one year, contract, tort, crime ect. At the end of doing the CPE you could do a specialist LLM, then take the professional training year, known as the Legal Practice Course, and then start on a training contract with a UK City Law Firm-and if you have specialised in EU and competition law on the LLM that should set you up pretty nicely for heading off to the Brussels office of a UK law firm or working in their EU competition department law in London.

No hard sell, but if really, really want to take the CPE route City offers the toughest CPE programme in the country and has an excellent suite of commercial law LLM subjects which would fit with your interests.

Again good luck

Dr. Alan Riley
Director LLM Programme
City Law School,
City University, London.
Electronic Mail: alan.riley.1@city.ac.uk
quote
JAH
Hi,

this might be a bit off-topic, but I was wondering what the criteria for admittance to the Common Professional Examination for non-U.K. students were. I am currently getting my B.A. in "Anglistics" (British Culture and Language) and Philosophy from a fairly large and respected German university and I am considering a career as a solicitor or other legal professional in the U.K. Would my B.A. qualify me for the CPE and would I be likely to be admitted to a programme?

It would be great if someone could help me out.

Cheers,

JAH
Hi,

this might be a bit off-topic, but I was wondering what the criteria for admittance to the Common Professional Examination for non-U.K. students were. I am currently getting my B.A. in "Anglistics" (British Culture and Language) and Philosophy from a fairly large and respected German university and I am considering a career as a solicitor or other legal professional in the U.K. Would my B.A. qualify me for the CPE and would I be likely to be admitted to a programme?

It would be great if someone could help me out.

Cheers,

JAH
quote

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