Feasibility - NY bar exam, work in Illinois?


wilkers
Hi,

I need to bounce this off some heads, please help. I already have an LLB from South Africa and worked in the SA legal justice system for years (public prosecution, policy analysis etc). I also obtained an LLM from Rhodes University SA. A few years ago I moved to the US Chicago as a permanent resident. I have been working all kinds of odd jobs part-time raising my kids but I feel I'm ready to focus on myself.

I really want to jump start my legal career here in the US, and I am seriously contemplating enrolling with Thomas Cooley & taking the online LLM classes. Hopefully write the NY bar exam but still work in Illinois. Here are my questions-

1) The Thomas Cooley online LLM - is it possible to keep a 25hr/week job and still be able to complete this LLM in a year?

(2) I see a lot of unemployment in Illinois especially among criminal and family lawyers, would focusing on immigration law be a better option?

3) How feasible is it for me to work in Illinois with NY license? Do I need to retake the Illinois bar exams?

Thanks
Hi,

I need to bounce this off some heads, please help. I already have an LLB from South Africa and worked in the SA legal justice system for years (public prosecution, policy analysis etc). I also obtained an LLM from Rhodes University SA. A few years ago I moved to the US Chicago as a permanent resident. I have been working all kinds of odd jobs part-time raising my kids but I feel I'm ready to focus on myself.

I really want to jump start my legal career here in the US, and I am seriously contemplating enrolling with Thomas Cooley & taking the online LLM classes. Hopefully write the NY bar exam but still work in Illinois. Here are my questions-

1) The Thomas Cooley online LLM - is it possible to keep a 25hr/week job and still be able to complete this LLM in a year?

(2) I see a lot of unemployment in Illinois especially among criminal and family lawyers, would focusing on immigration law be a better option?

3) How feasible is it for me to work in Illinois with NY license? Do I need to retake the Illinois bar exams?

Thanks

quote
llmadvise
Hi Wilkers,
1) The Thomas Cooley online LLM - is it possible to keep a 25hr/week job and still be able to complete this LLM in a year?

The Thomas Cooley Online LLM takes a minimum of 18 month to three years FT or PT. So trying to achieve it in 1 year would be a burden. Don't forget you will be studying weeknights (6-9pm) and weekends (Sat/Sun 9am-8pm). This will be straining enough as it is.
I see a lot of unemployment in Illinois especially among criminal and family lawyers, would focusing on immigration law be a better option
I would always suggest to choose what you like most and are best in. You wish to enjoy your work right? What about contacts? Have you already established a network in a certain field? This will help.
How feasible is it for me to work in Illinois with NY license? Do I need to retake the Illinois bar exams
If you wish to work in Illinois you should take the bar exam in Illinois. As you already have a foreign law degree and a licence you would need to take a JD to sit the bar in Illinois, provided that you do not already have a license to practice law in any U.S. jurisdiction . As a J.D. is very xpensive, an accelarated JD program may be possible as well.
Currently you may be eligible to work as a Foreign Legal Consultant. It is a very restricted license to "render legal services and give professional advice within the State only on the law of the foreign country where you are admitted to practice but not of Illinois or US law.
Hi Wilkers,
<blockquote>1) The Thomas Cooley online LLM - is it possible to keep a 25hr/week job and still be able to complete this LLM in a year?</blockquote>
The Thomas Cooley Online LLM takes a minimum of 18 month to three years FT or PT. So trying to achieve it in 1 year would be a burden. Don't forget you will be studying weeknights (6-9pm) and weekends (Sat/Sun 9am-8pm). This will be straining enough as it is.
<blockquote>I see a lot of unemployment in Illinois especially among criminal and family lawyers, would focusing on immigration law be a better option</blockquote> I would always suggest to choose what you like most and are best in. You wish to enjoy your work right? What about contacts? Have you already established a network in a certain field? This will help.
<blockquote>How feasible is it for me to work in Illinois with NY license? Do I need to retake the Illinois bar exams</blockquote> If you wish to work in Illinois you should take the bar exam in Illinois. As you already have a foreign law degree and a licence you would need to take a JD to sit the bar in Illinois, provided that you do not already have a license to practice law in any U.S. jurisdiction . As a J.D. is very xpensive, an accelarated JD program may be possible as well.
Currently you may be eligible to work as a Foreign Legal Consultant. It is a very restricted license to "render legal services and give professional advice within the State only on the law of the foreign country where you are admitted to practice but not of Illinois or US law.
quote
wilkers
Thanks llmadvise - very informative. And no I don't have a license to practice law in any U.S. jurisdiction. I think for now, I will start by looking at the accelerated JD programs because I want to be able to get an unrestricted license to practice here in Illinois.
Thanks llmadvise - very informative. And no I don't have a license to practice law in any U.S. jurisdiction. I think for now, I will start by looking at the accelerated JD programs because I want to be able to get an unrestricted license to practice here in Illinois.
quote
Dear Wilkers,

You must consider two things:

1) make sure that whatever LL.M. you pursue will qualify you to sit for the NY bar. I recall reading that the NY bar requires actual live class attendance in the US, but you should verify.

2) a NY license will allow you to practice in federal court in Illinois. (If you visit a federal Illinois U.S. District Court website, attorney admission page, you will see that admission to any state bar is sufficient to practice in Illinois federal courts.)
Thus, yes, with a NY license, you can practice in Illinois, as long as you limit your practice exclusively to federal issues, immigration, bankruptcy, federal criminal work. A federal license will not authorize you to do personal injury, divorce, wills, etc.

Best of luck.
Dear Wilkers,

You must consider two things:

1) make sure that whatever LL.M. you pursue will qualify you to sit for the NY bar. I recall reading that the NY bar requires actual live class attendance in the US, but you should verify.

2) a NY license will allow you to practice in federal court in Illinois. (If you visit a federal Illinois U.S. District Court website, attorney admission page, you will see that admission to any state bar is sufficient to practice in Illinois federal courts.)
Thus, yes, with a NY license, you can practice in Illinois, as long as you limit your practice exclusively to federal issues, immigration, bankruptcy, federal criminal work. A federal license will not authorize you to do personal injury, divorce, wills, etc.

Best of luck.
quote
wilkers
An American in London,

You're absolutely right, I've just checked out the NY bar requirements. Rule 520 [6] (2) specifically states that " All 24 credits (except as otherwise permitted) must be in courses requiring classroom instruction.No credit is allowed for distance, correspondence or external study or for an on-line program or course". Well, back to the drawing board.

But the fact that I can practice in IL with a NY license albeit limited to federal issues - that's still good news.

Thanks for your input - extremely helpful!
An American in London,

You're absolutely right, I've just checked out the NY bar requirements. Rule 520 [6] (2) specifically states that " All 24 credits (except as otherwise permitted) must be in courses requiring classroom instruction….No credit is allowed for distance, correspondence or external study or for an on-line program or course". Well, back to the drawing board.

But the fact that I can practice in IL with a NY license albeit limited to federal issues - that's still good news.

Thanks for your input - extremely helpful!

quote

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