Want career in EU/European law, please advise.


EUlawdude
I just graduated from a US law school, but I'm very interested in EU/European law. The problem is, I'm not entirely sure how to turn this into a career-path. While, ideally, I'd like to wind up in academia, right now I'd like to get some work experience somewhere in Europe, and then perhaps a few years later, work in the US for a firm that helps clients do business in Europe.

Is this a feasable careeer goal? If so, how might I go about attaining it? Would an LLM be an ideal place to start?

Any advice, at all, would be greatly appreciated.

(I'm posting this on both the Europe and UK-IRL boards.)
I just graduated from a US law school, but I'm very interested in EU/European law. The problem is, I'm not entirely sure how to turn this into a career-path. While, ideally, I'd like to wind up in academia, right now I'd like to get some work experience somewhere in Europe, and then perhaps a few years later, work in the US for a firm that helps clients do business in Europe.

Is this a feasable careeer goal? If so, how might I go about attaining it? Would an LLM be an ideal place to start?

Any advice, at all, would be greatly appreciated.

(I'm posting this on both the Europe and UK-IRL boards.)
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lmwoods
There are a number of law firms based in Brussels which seem to focus on EU related matters (and probably quite a few scattered around various other capital cities too). These include US law firms. My guess is the big order of business would be competition. My other guess is that they'd want you to know something about EU law (or specifically competition law). If you have no knowledge then an LLM could serve this function, though you might want to consider whether you'd be looking for an LLM specialising in European law, or a general LLM which allowed you to take some EU related options; or just focus on competition. another thing you could think about is doing a stage at one of the institutions - details are on the relevant bodies' websites. I suspect that, again, you'd need some knowledge of EU law and institutions. When you say, help clients do business in Europe, do be aware that although there is such a thing as EC law, the legal systems of the Member States remain very different, and you might well need knowledge of the locals system, rather than the detail about harmonising directives themselves.
There are a number of law firms based in Brussels which seem to focus on EU related matters (and probably quite a few scattered around various other capital cities too). These include US law firms. My guess is the big order of business would be competition. My other guess is that they'd want you to know something about EU law (or specifically competition law). If you have no knowledge then an LLM could serve this function, though you might want to consider whether you'd be looking for an LLM specialising in European law, or a general LLM which allowed you to take some EU related options; or just focus on competition. another thing you could think about is doing a stage at one of the institutions - details are on the relevant bodies' websites. I suspect that, again, you'd need some knowledge of EU law and institutions. When you say, help clients do business in Europe, do be aware that although there is such a thing as EC law, the legal systems of the Member States remain very different, and you might well need knowledge of the locals system, rather than the detail about harmonising directives themselves.
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EUlawdude
Thanks, lmwoods. I appreciate your response.

Do you happen to know of a list or directory of the firms, in Europe, that do EU/competition?

Is this a feasible career path for someone coming from the US?

EU and European law has been a big focus of mine. I studied it in school (though, I must say, the classes were lacking in much detail, and an LLM would help in that regard), assisted a couple of professors in their research of EU and member-state legal issues, and also interned for the EU. I am aware of the importance of member-state law, and also have some background in/knowledge of the legal systems of some of the more "prominent" (for lack of a better term) member-states. But if any of that makes any difference, I don't know. I applied for one stagiaire about two years ago and was told that they didn't have a position for someone with my background and interests, which I found rather odd, because this was a firm that did virtually nothing but competition law. I thought maybe it was really because I'm American, and didn't spend much more time seeking out stagiaires (I found a summer job in the US, shortly after).

Anyway, thanks again.
Thanks, lmwoods. I appreciate your response.

Do you happen to know of a list or directory of the firms, in Europe, that do EU/competition?

Is this a feasible career path for someone coming from the US?

EU and European law has been a big focus of mine. I studied it in school (though, I must say, the classes were lacking in much detail, and an LLM would help in that regard), assisted a couple of professors in their research of EU and member-state legal issues, and also interned for the EU. I am aware of the importance of member-state law, and also have some background in/knowledge of the legal systems of some of the more "prominent" (for lack of a better term) member-states. But if any of that makes any difference, I don't know. I applied for one stagiaire about two years ago and was told that they didn't have a position for someone with my background and interests, which I found rather odd, because this was a firm that did virtually nothing but competition law. I thought maybe it was really because I'm American, and didn't spend much more time seeking out stagiaires (I found a summer job in the US, shortly after).

Anyway, thanks again.
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lmwoods
YOu could try Legal 500 or Chambers - I think both are accessible online. I think the stagiare positions within the EU institutions are limited if you are not from an EU member state - that's not to say that they're impossible to get into. If you are into competition try asking Prof Alan Riley for his advice - he has contributed to this site.
YOu could try Legal 500 or Chambers - I think both are accessible online. I think the stagiare positions within the EU institutions are limited if you are not from an EU member state - that's not to say that they're impossible to get into. If you are into competition try asking Prof Alan Riley for his advice - he has contributed to this site.
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Dear EULawDude,

There are a number of ways. First, a thumbnail sketch of European antitrust opportunities.

Jobs: Principal jobs hub is Brussels where most EU and US firms practice antitrust. Second, London, and then Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam (probably in that order). Significant activity in Madrid and Rome also.

Way In:
1. A stage in DG Comp is a good way in combined with an LLM. You can apply again, and again, a lot of people do. There is no bar on being an EU national, the most important factor is filling in your form correctly-failure to do so results in instant rejection and second visit Brussels to lobby for a stage. An LLM largely focussed on competition law is also a real help to show commitment and knowledge.
2. Join a National Competition Authority. The Brits particularly are very flexible about nationalities. If you have some knowledge in competition law they could be interested. The UK NCA the office of fair trading has some posts coming up soon. Similar position for the Irish Competition Authority but of course smaller (but if you are Irish American might be fun to practice Antitrust in the ancestral homeland). Once you have done this for a couple of years it should be relatively easy to get a senior associate position in private practice.

Overall my view would be that if you have not got much practical experience or academic exposure in antitrust do an LLM in the subject and then try both 1 and 2. Also of course try direct application but my view is that you would have to done very well at the LLM. Certainly my students who do very well on my antitrust courses I will strongly recommend to private practice with backup of the strategy I have just set out above.

with best regards
alan riley

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

There are a number of ways. First, a thumbnail sketch of European antitrust opportunities.

Jobs: Principal jobs hub is Brussels where most EU and US firms practice antitrust. Second, London, and then Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam (probably in that order). Significant activity in Madrid and Rome also.

Way In:
1. A stage in DG Comp is a good way in combined with an LLM. You can apply again, and again, a lot of people do. There is no bar on being an EU national, the most important factor is filling in your form correctly-failure to do so results in instant rejection and second visit Brussels to lobby for a stage. An LLM largely focussed on competition law is also a real help to show commitment and knowledge.
2. Join a National Competition Authority. The Brits particularly are very flexible about nationalities. If you have some knowledge in competition law they could be interested. The UK NCA the office of fair trading has some posts coming up soon. Similar position for the Irish Competition Authority but of course smaller (but if you are Irish American might be fun to practice Antitrust in the ancestral homeland). Once you have done this for a couple of years it should be relatively easy to get a senior associate position in private practice.

Overall my view would be that if you have not got much practical experience or academic exposure in antitrust do an LLM in the subject and then try both 1 and 2. Also of course try direct application but my view is that you would have to done very well at the LLM. Certainly my students who do very well on my antitrust courses I will strongly recommend to private practice with backup of the strategy I have just set out above.

with best regards
alan riley

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

I can't thank you enough for posting. I considered emailing you directly, but wasn't sure if that was appropriate as I only received your name through a third-party on this forum (a very helpful, llmwoods).

The more I read posts like yours, the more I think that beginning with LLM would be the right step for me. Are there any programs, in particular, that you would recommend? How critical is the "prestige" of the LLM program? I would prefer to study in the UK, but at this point cost is a significant consideration.
Professor Riley,

I can't thank you enough for posting. I considered emailing you directly, but wasn't sure if that was appropriate as I only received your name through a third-party on this forum (a very helpful, llmwoods).

The more I read posts like yours, the more I think that beginning with LLM would be the right step for me. Are there any programs, in particular, that you would recommend? How critical is the "prestige" of the LLM program? I would prefer to study in the UK, but at this point cost is a significant consideration.
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ONLY TRUTH
Would recommend gaining core competition experience in a good practice, exposure to quality work & transactional experience would open doors. Strictly speaking, LLM/internships wouldn't get you even a interview, people who have done it - either are few years into practice and need to make their CV's sexy! or are considering retiring & going into academia, having made their money.

Why would a commercial firm, prefer a LLM over transactional experience... they are there to make money, and not to dish out academic lectures to clients.....? Good luck.

Would recommend gaining core competition experience in a good practice, exposure to quality work & transactional experience would open doors. Strictly speaking, LLM/internships wouldn't get you even a interview, people who have done it - either are few years into practice and need to make their CV's sexy! or are considering retiring & going into academia, having made their money.

Why would a commercial firm, prefer a LLM over transactional experience... they are there to make money, and not to dish out academic lectures to clients.....? Good luck.

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lmwoods
I disagree with the assessment by Only Truth that internships have no impact. Certainly from the system in place for recruitment of LLB students, the summer placement schemes are an important precursor to the recruitment process. Essentially if you spend a few weeks with the law firm and you do well, then you stand a much better chance of being recruited as you are less of an unknown quantity. The problem for LLM students is that the law firms - at least the domestic ones - have not typically had space for LLM students, (whether this is to do with timing or wanting people with English law knowledge or just not thinking about it). How this equates to placements having no value, I do not understand. I refer of course to entry level posts; obviously if law firms are looking for a qualified lawyer, then an LLM of itself will not give you the right profile and it may be that that is the situation to which Only Truth refers.
I disagree with the assessment by Only Truth that internships have no impact. Certainly from the system in place for recruitment of LLB students, the summer placement schemes are an important precursor to the recruitment process. Essentially if you spend a few weeks with the law firm and you do well, then you stand a much better chance of being recruited as you are less of an unknown quantity. The problem for LLM students is that the law firms - at least the domestic ones - have not typically had space for LLM students, (whether this is to do with timing or wanting people with English law knowledge or just not thinking about it). How this equates to placements having no value, I do not understand. I refer of course to entry level posts; obviously if law firms are looking for a qualified lawyer, then an LLM of itself will not give you the right profile and it may be that that is the situation to which Only Truth refers.
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EUlawdude
So how does one get "exposure to quality work & transactional experience" without first doing an internship?
So how does one get "exposure to quality work & transactional experience" without first doing an internship?
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lmwoods
Quite! though I think it is possible to get a training contract - which would presumably give you that exposure as part of the training process - without having done an internship/summer placement. To get a training contract in London, I suspect most law firms are going to be looking for someone with a qualifying law degree or equivalent and having done the LPC (or equivalent).
Quite! though I think it is possible to get a training contract - which would presumably give you that exposure as part of the training process - without having done an internship/summer placement. To get a training contract in London, I suspect most law firms are going to be looking for someone with a qualifying law degree or equivalent and having done the LPC (or equivalent).
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