How does an American become a lawyer in Europe?


Hi,

I am an American citizen thinking about moving to Europe to become a lawyer. I have two bachelors degrees from a U.S. university one in criminal justice and one in psychology. I plan on taking two years off from school before pursing graduate education. I am currently working at a law firm where I handle the day to day of cases, including a lot of the legal writing, legal duties. It's a case manager position, similar to a paralegal position. I am wondering if these qualifications would help me at all in obtaining a law degree in Europe. Specifically, I am looking at Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, but any information is helpful.

For the Netherlands I found that I would need a bachelors in law as my first step. I am wondering if my bachelors degrees would substitute for this even though they are not law specific (my school did not offer a law bachelors)?

Would I be able to use my experience and future LLM (with more work experience abroad hopefully) in order to take the bar, or would I need to get a bachelors in law?

Thanks!
Hi,

I am an American citizen thinking about moving to Europe to become a lawyer. I have two bachelors degrees from a U.S. university one in criminal justice and one in psychology. I plan on taking two years off from school before pursing graduate education. I am currently working at a law firm where I handle the day to day of cases, including a lot of the legal writing, legal duties. It's a case manager position, similar to a paralegal position. I am wondering if these qualifications would help me at all in obtaining a law degree in Europe. Specifically, I am looking at Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, but any information is helpful.

For the Netherlands I found that I would need a bachelors in law as my first step. I am wondering if my bachelors degrees would substitute for this even though they are not law specific (my school did not offer a law bachelors)?

Would I be able to use my experience and future LLM (with more work experience abroad hopefully) in order to take the bar, or would I need to get a bachelors in law?

Thanks!
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chicken so...
It's complicated and it will depend on the country in particular where you want to practice.

What's more, an LLM may or may not help.

Typically, there will be several years of training / apprenticeship, that prospective lawyers go through after their first law degree.

This is a good overview of the process in the UK:

https://llm-guide.com/articles/as-uk-law-firms-enjoy-the-boom-times-how-can-you-become-a-lawyer-in-the-uk

... while it's different for every country, this is pretty representative of the general steps: law degree, vocational training, bar exam.

I don't know if the Netherlands would accept your undergrad. You'd have to check with the Dutch Bar association.

In Germany I doubt your undergraduate degree would be recognized. My feeling is you'd need to do a German LLB, which is 9 semesters. Then you'd need to take a first exam, then a 2-year training, then another exam. The LLB and the exams would be in German.

In Sweden I believe you'd need residency in the EU or EEA to be admitted to the bar. In this case you'd need to pass an exam (in Swedish) and have at least three years of experience practicing law. There are also training courses plus a bar exam. It's unlikely you could do this process without being fluent in Swedish.
It's complicated and it will depend on the country in particular where you want to practice.

What's more, an LLM may or may not help.

Typically, there will be several years of training / apprenticeship, that prospective lawyers go through after their first law degree.

This is a good overview of the process in the UK:

https://llm-guide.com/articles/as-uk-law-firms-enjoy-the-boom-times-how-can-you-become-a-lawyer-in-the-uk

... while it's different for every country, this is pretty representative of the general steps: law degree, vocational training, bar exam.

I don't know if the Netherlands would accept your undergrad. You'd have to check with the Dutch Bar association.

In Germany I doubt your undergraduate degree would be recognized. My feeling is you'd need to do a German LLB, which is 9 semesters. Then you'd need to take a first exam, then a 2-year training, then another exam. The LLB and the exams would be in German.

In Sweden I believe you'd need residency in the EU or EEA to be admitted to the bar. In this case you'd need to pass an exam (in Swedish) and have at least three years of experience practicing law. There are also training courses plus a bar exam. It's unlikely you could do this process without being fluent in Swedish.
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