Doing the LLM vs. Taking the New York Bar- Which should be done first.


Kim_Facey
I have been doing research on how to qualify as a lawyer in New York, and I was thoroughly assisted by various persons on this site. However, I realized that the issue really is not so much taking the New York Bar and passing it. There is also the issue of obtaining the H-1B visa. due to the quota restrictions etc. I realized that doing an LLM is not so bad after all- in terms of doing it first and then doing the Bar.

Foreign students on F-1 student visas are entitled to a one year work authorization period called optional practical training upon conclusion of their studies. Given the large number of LLM students at US law schools, this can be useful especially given the scarcity of H-1B visas. The OPT can often allow for the lawyer to work legally while waiting on an H-1B visa number to become available or until work authorization tied to permanent residency comes through.

So i am now reconsidering at best- What do you guys think!??!?
I have been doing research on how to qualify as a lawyer in New York, and I was thoroughly assisted by various persons on this site. However, I realized that the issue really is not so much taking the New York Bar and passing it. There is also the issue of obtaining the H-1B visa. due to the quota restrictions etc. I realized that doing an LLM is not so bad after all- in terms of doing it first and then doing the Bar.

Foreign students on F-1 student visas are entitled to a one year work authorization period called “optional practical training” upon conclusion of their studies. Given the large number of LLM students at US law schools, this can be useful especially given the scarcity of H-1B visas. The OPT can often allow for the lawyer to work legally while waiting on an H-1B visa number to become available or until work authorization tied to permanent residency comes through.

So i am now reconsidering at best- What do you guys think!??!?
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crm042
The initial opinion that I shared with you was solely on the premise that you could become an Attorney in NY without the need to do an LLM beforehand. However, having read your second posting, it would be wiser to do the LLM by virtue of the OPT, since flying to NY to sit the Bar and returning to Barbados would be, partially, counter productive and brings with it the added hassle of finding a job and obtaining a 'work visa'. At least, after completing the LLM you will have the option of working but bear in mind that after the LLM you would then be preparing for the NY Bar exam - presumably, which means that you would have taken up a good few months out of the OPT period. Unles, of course, you are planning to work in a legal setting immediately after your LLM for the duration of the OPT period. But then, after that, you'll be back at square one, i.e. - what would be the next step after the OPT period in the absence of not doing the NY Bar? Conversely, what would be your next move if you take the Bar in the OPT period? Would it be a situation where you will be hoping to find an employer in order to get a work visa?

To quote you:

'...the OPT can often allow for the lawyer to work legally while waiting on an H-1B visa number to become available or until work authorization tied to permanent residency comes through..'

Re the quotation, isn't the OPT a year long? The quote seems to imply otherwise. Please advise me accordingly.Our circumstances are not that different.
The initial opinion that I shared with you was solely on the premise that you could become an Attorney in NY without the need to do an LLM beforehand. However, having read your second posting, it would be wiser to do the LLM by virtue of the OPT, since flying to NY to sit the Bar and returning to Barbados would be, partially, counter productive and brings with it the added hassle of finding a job and obtaining a 'work visa'. At least, after completing the LLM you will have the option of working but bear in mind that after the LLM you would then be preparing for the NY Bar exam - presumably, which means that you would have taken up a good few months out of the OPT period. Unles, of course, you are planning to work in a legal setting immediately after your LLM for the duration of the OPT period. But then, after that, you'll be back at square one, i.e. - what would be the next step after the OPT period in the absence of not doing the NY Bar? Conversely, what would be your next move if you take the Bar in the OPT period? Would it be a situation where you will be hoping to find an employer in order to get a work visa?

To quote you:

'...the OPT can often allow for the lawyer to work legally while waiting on an H-1B visa number to become available or until work authorization tied to permanent residency comes through..'

Re the quotation, isn't the OPT a year long? The quote seems to imply otherwise. Please advise me accordingly.Our circumstances are not that different.




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Brother, you seem to get the wrong cow by the tail! The whole point of the LL.M (for the OP), obviously, is to improve specialisation and get a job in a big corporate law firm paying lots of money ($$$$$$$).

So why the LLM for this purpose?

A) You get the chance to sell yourself to law firms for a whole year (or 2 if you count the OPT) on American soil. If you're in a participating school, you may get the chance to compete for firms (ISIP or Columbia Law Fair for LLMs - which includes several schools like Yale and Harvard), go to New York and have interviews in January of your LL.M year.

B) After performing A (that is, get an offer from a firm through ISIP, Columbia Law Fair or your own methods), you continue your LL.M and apply in February of your LL.M year to sit the NY Bar later in July.

C). You finish your LL.M in May (usually), stay behind on campus (or somewhere in the US) and study for your NY Bar exams and then sit it on the last Wednesday/Thursday of the July following the completion of your LL.M.

D). You then (usually) move to NYC, get an apartment and start at the firm in late August/early September.

E) November, you know the outcome of your Bar exam and, if you do well, you hope the employer likes you enough not only to retain you permanently in NYC (some firms send people to foreign branches of the firms) but also to sponsor your H-1B.

Now, this is the ideal situation and it can happen to you if you seek Him with all your heart and soul.

We thank Him for His guidance.

Amen, Amen, Amen.
Brother, you seem to get the wrong cow by the tail! The whole point of the LL.M (for the OP), obviously, is to improve specialisation and get a job in a big corporate law firm paying lots of money ($$$$$$$).

So why the LLM for this purpose?

A) You get the chance to sell yourself to law firms for a whole year (or 2 if you count the OPT) on American soil. If you're in a participating school, you may get the chance to compete for firms (ISIP or Columbia Law Fair for LLMs - which includes several schools like Yale and Harvard), go to New York and have interviews in January of your LL.M year.

B) After performing A (that is, get an offer from a firm through ISIP, Columbia Law Fair or your own methods), you continue your LL.M and apply in February of your LL.M year to sit the NY Bar later in July.

C). You finish your LL.M in May (usually), stay behind on campus (or somewhere in the US) and study for your NY Bar exams and then sit it on the last Wednesday/Thursday of the July following the completion of your LL.M.

D). You then (usually) move to NYC, get an apartment and start at the firm in late August/early September.

E) November, you know the outcome of your Bar exam and, if you do well, you hope the employer likes you enough not only to retain you permanently in NYC (some firms send people to foreign branches of the firms) but also to sponsor your H-1B.

Now, this is the ideal situation and it can happen to you if you seek Him with all your heart and soul.

We thank Him for His guidance.

Amen, Amen, Amen.

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Sdevante
FWIW, I have a friend from Kazakhstan (sp?) who came to Vanderbilt for an LLM and decided to stay in the States. He then ended up going to Michigan for a JD. He is still unemployed as a 3L, despite excellent credentials.

It might not be as easy as you think to come to the States, get an LLM, and then just waltz into a big law firm in NYC making bank. I know many JD students here that can't even do it, and firms prefer JDs to LLMs.
FWIW, I have a friend from Kazakhstan (sp?) who came to Vanderbilt for an LLM and decided to stay in the States. He then ended up going to Michigan for a JD. He is still unemployed as a 3L, despite excellent credentials.

It might not be as easy as you think to come to the States, get an LLM, and then just waltz into a big law firm in NYC making bank. I know many JD students here that can't even do it, and firms prefer JDs to LLMs.
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crm042
Christ-choice, I think the benefits of doing an LLM, primarily its effect on ones marketability, be it a specialist in a particular area of law or otherwise, is well documented and is not disputed at any length.

My knowledge insofar as the different visa categories in the US is concerned, is insufficient and I have not conducted a research. However, I know that in general a visa is normally given in line with the length of a particular course, thus, I was arguing along that particular line... based on your argument, which I fully appreciate, it appears that a candidate will have no problem whatsover doing the LLM and a Bar preparation course concurrently. Notwithstanding, that you have stated that one would normally complete the LLM in May - which leaves two months to prepare for the NY Bar Exam. Now, I dont know if such little time would suit everyone, unless he or she was doing some sort of preparation whilst doing the LLM having applied to sit the Bar in February of the LLM year.

Anyways, brother, I have seen your point but it cant be denied that it will be a hell of a task for an LLB graduate who will need to familiarize himself with the American Legal System, although, depending on the LLM that he does, such grounding would have been already implemented. Am I right to state that all foreign law students wishing to do an LLM in the States must do foundation modules geared at them learning the American Legal System regardless of the areas they wish to specialize in...?
Christ-choice, I think the benefits of doing an LLM, primarily its effect on ones marketability, be it a specialist in a particular area of law or otherwise, is well documented and is not disputed at any length.

My knowledge insofar as the different visa categories in the US is concerned, is insufficient and I have not conducted a research. However, I know that in general a visa is normally given in line with the length of a particular course, thus, I was arguing along that particular line... based on your argument, which I fully appreciate, it appears that a candidate will have no problem whatsover doing the LLM and a Bar preparation course concurrently. Notwithstanding, that you have stated that one would normally complete the LLM in May - which leaves two months to prepare for the NY Bar Exam. Now, I dont know if such little time would suit everyone, unless he or she was doing some sort of preparation whilst doing the LLM having applied to sit the Bar in February of the LLM year.

Anyways, brother, I have seen your point but it cant be denied that it will be a hell of a task for an LLB graduate who will need to familiarize himself with the American Legal System, although, depending on the LLM that he does, such grounding would have been already implemented. Am I right to state that all foreign law students wishing to do an LLM in the States must do foundation modules geared at them learning the American Legal System regardless of the areas they wish to specialize in...?
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Brother, F-1 enables you an additional year (OPT) following your LL.M. Anyway, you can delay doing the Bar until the February of the year following the completion of your LL.M. Some foreign guys do that and the firms understand. Anyway, US guys do the Bar in 8wks - following the completion of their JDs. Harvard LL.M friends of mine had to do the same and they succeeded.

So, like all things, it's possible if you serve Him.

Salut Saint Sdevante! I think you've made the case for the danger of doing LL.Ms at schools outside Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford and, just maybe, NYU. My apologies to other schools and their applicants. It's just that as far as I am concerned, a foreign LL.M will struggle to get a Biglaw job should they come outside of this circle.

You can check the websites of the 5 most successful commercial firms (based on Vault) and see where nearly all the few LL.Ms come from.

Additionally, you need to acquire work experience in your own country with recognized firms, work on a specialised area, develop that during (or before) the LL.M through writing a paper and be prepared to always learn and discuss crucial new developments in your field. Your country also can matter, particularly in terms foreign firm activity, nature of the economy and, of course, language.

The simple point is that those who are successful with firms in NYC (and LLM at these schools) are those who are already likely to be successful in their own countries but for some reasons want to make use of large Amercian dollars ($$$$$$$).

Trust me, we have worked out these things in my place of worship and for two years now, four have gone on to either Yale or Harvard and are not outside the top five firms in NY (we've learnt what you need to get in here).

Although, I'm next in line but my turn has come to past as we await His manifestation.

Amen, Amen, Amen.
Brother, F-1 enables you an additional year (OPT) following your LL.M. Anyway, you can delay doing the Bar until the February of the year following the completion of your LL.M. Some foreign guys do that and the firms understand. Anyway, US guys do the Bar in 8wks - following the completion of their JDs. Harvard LL.M friends of mine had to do the same and they succeeded.

So, like all things, it's possible if you serve Him.

Salut Saint Sdevante! I think you've made the case for the danger of doing LL.Ms at schools outside Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford and, just maybe, NYU. My apologies to other schools and their applicants. It's just that as far as I am concerned, a foreign LL.M will struggle to get a Biglaw job should they come outside of this circle.

You can check the websites of the 5 most successful commercial firms (based on Vault) and see where nearly all the few LL.Ms come from.

Additionally, you need to acquire work experience in your own country with recognized firms, work on a specialised area, develop that during (or before) the LL.M through writing a paper and be prepared to always learn and discuss crucial new developments in your field. Your country also can matter, particularly in terms foreign firm activity, nature of the economy and, of course, language.

The simple point is that those who are successful with firms in NYC (and LLM at these schools) are those who are already likely to be successful in their own countries but for some reasons want to make use of large Amercian dollars ($$$$$$$).

Trust me, we have worked out these things in my place of worship and for two years now, four have gone on to either Yale or Harvard and are not outside the top five firms in NY (we've learnt what you need to get in here).

Although, I'm next in line but my turn has come to past as we await His manifestation.

Amen, Amen, Amen.
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Durham Red
Kim_Facey

I don't know if this helps, but I have decided to cover all options for the same aims as yourself.

I have an English LL.B. and 5 years Post Qualified Experience at average English law firms. I too want to work in New York. I'd sweep the streets if that would allow me to live there!

I have applied to seven universities for an LL.M. programme and will now start to apply for work with New York law firms. If I get a sponsor, I can drop the LL.M. and save $50k+. I will sit the NY bar exam this July using the BarBri course. If I fail this year I'll take it again next year after the LL.M.

This way you can cover all bases. Hope this helps.
Kim_Facey

I don't know if this helps, but I have decided to cover all options for the same aims as yourself.

I have an English LL.B. and 5 years Post Qualified Experience at average English law firms. I too want to work in New York. I'd sweep the streets if that would allow me to live there!

I have applied to seven universities for an LL.M. programme and will now start to apply for work with New York law firms. If I get a sponsor, I can drop the LL.M. and save $50k+. I will sit the NY bar exam this July using the BarBri course. If I fail this year I'll take it again next year after the LL.M.

This way you can cover all bases. Hope this helps.
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lsbarton
Hi Kim

I'm wondering how it went for you??

I'm in the same position, I'm an English LLB graduate, passed the Bar in 2000, completed pupillage and worked/working for average law firms.

I just want to know if you got into Law School, and how the NY Bar went?

X
Hi Kim

I'm wondering how it went for you??

I'm in the same position, I'm an English LLB graduate, passed the Bar in 2000, completed pupillage and worked/working for average law firms.

I just want to know if you got into Law School, and how the NY Bar went?

X
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A couple of quick thoughts:

1) The New York legal market has been decimated in the past few years and there is not really any sign of recovery yet. No one, whether they have a JD, LLM, or whatever should assume that they will be able to find a job in New York. It's probably not going to happen.

2) If you really want to try for the NYC firm job, though, I would recommend taking the bar *before* you do the LLM. Assuming you pass and get all of your paperwork in in a timely fashion, you can be admitted to the NY bar by about March or so, well before any job would actually be starting. You will also know by mid-November whether you have passed, so you can tell that to any potential employers. It might not seem like it's that big of a deal, but I would bet it makes a huge difference because (a) foreign students disproportionately fail the NY bar, so you will be proving yourself where others haven't, and (b) you will reduce the burden on your employer to help you get your qualifications in order (esp. important for a temporary job).
A couple of quick thoughts:

1) The New York legal market has been decimated in the past few years and there is not really any sign of recovery yet. No one, whether they have a JD, LLM, or whatever should assume that they will be able to find a job in New York. It's probably not going to happen.

2) If you really want to try for the NYC firm job, though, I would recommend taking the bar *before* you do the LLM. Assuming you pass and get all of your paperwork in in a timely fashion, you can be admitted to the NY bar by about March or so, well before any job would actually be starting. You will also know by mid-November whether you have passed, so you can tell that to any potential employers. It might not seem like it's that big of a deal, but I would bet it makes a huge difference because (a) foreign students disproportionately fail the NY bar, so you will be proving yourself where others haven't, and (b) you will reduce the burden on your employer to help you get your qualifications in order (esp. important for a temporary job).
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Oldtimer
Brothers and sisters,
This is the ugly reality of how getting a job at a law firm works. Firstly , with whom will you be competing for a job? One thing you really have to understand before going to the US is that Law Firms are a business, and as such they will only take you if they see that you can bring something to their business. This could be in the form of specialized knowledge they cannot get anywhere else (admit it, not much), because of the connections you will bring with you (probably the most important one), or because you come from a place where they are planning to expand their business (those from Europe, Japan, and the BRICs have a much better chance of landing a job than those from small or poor countries). They do not normally hire Ll.Ms with a long-term view because they have plenty of highly qualified JDs to choose from that meet the points mentioned above. They do not care if you a genius and got straight As in your grades. And if they do hire you, you will then be there for one year and go back home with an associate firm, or if you are lucky, sent overseas to work in a regional branch. So be aware that your competition will be with other Ll.Ms from the same region which studied the same you did. It is only at this point where the ranking stuff comes in, NOT before. If working on a Law firm is your thing and you want do something to improve your chances, well do it NOW before you go.
Brothers and sisters,
This is the ugly reality of how getting a job at a law firm works. Firstly , with whom will you be competing for a job? One thing you really have to understand before going to the US is that Law Firms are a business, and as such they will only take you if they see that you can bring something to their business. This could be in the form of specialized knowledge they cannot get anywhere else (admit it, not much), because of the connections you will bring with you (probably the most important one), or because you come from a place where they are planning to expand their business (those from Europe, Japan, and the BRICs have a much better chance of landing a job than those from small or poor countries). They do not normally hire Ll.Ms with a long-term view because they have plenty of highly qualified JDs to choose from that meet the points mentioned above. They do not care if you a genius and got straight As in your grades. And if they do hire you, you will then be there for one year and go back home with an associate firm, or if you are lucky, sent overseas to work in a regional branch. So be aware that your competition will be with other Ll.Ms from the same region which studied the same you did. It is only at this point where the ranking stuff comes in, NOT before. If working on a Law firm is your thing and you want do something to improve your chances, well do it NOW before you go.
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Kim_Facey
Thank you so much for this information. I was saying the other thing the other day to myself. Law firms are a business and you have to show that you can bring something to that business.

That what I have to do, from where I am at in the Caribbean, is what I call "generating my edge." I specialized in Corporate Law with a focus on Offshore Finance and generally International Finance. I have worked with a law firm that deals with Offshore finance in Barbados and as a part of my training, we have a 10 week internship to do next summer- 2011. I intend to do this in the Cayman Islands or Bahamas- another Offshore Finance jurisdiction. I intend to build on my connections from here so that I will have such experience to offer, as an advantage before I take the NY Bar. Being eligible to practice in these offshore finance jurisdictions will be that edge before I do so in NY.

That is the plan. :) :)
Thank you so much for this information. I was saying the other thing the other day to myself. Law firms are a business and you have to show that you can bring something to that business.

That what I have to do, from where I am at in the Caribbean, is what I call "generating my edge." I specialized in Corporate Law with a focus on Offshore Finance and generally International Finance. I have worked with a law firm that deals with Offshore finance in Barbados and as a part of my training, we have a 10 week internship to do next summer- 2011. I intend to do this in the Cayman Islands or Bahamas- another Offshore Finance jurisdiction. I intend to build on my connections from here so that I will have such experience to offer, as an advantage before I take the NY Bar. Being eligible to practice in these offshore finance jurisdictions will be that edge before I do so in NY.

That is the plan. :) :)
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I know the focus here is on New York but in many instances, as long as you are a member of a foreign Bar, you may be eligible without further education for the California Bar exam. Something to consider.

New York is clearly the largest legal market in the USA. But three cities in California are in the top ten, being Los Angeles, San Fran, and San Diego. Cali, if measured as a country, sits within the top ten national GDPs globally - albiet our state debt and budget deficits makes us an American member of the PIGS.

In your case, coming from the International Financial Centres world, Miami may be a more contextual move, or one of the hedge fund concentrated areas like Conn. and Boston. Just some ideas.
I know the focus here is on New York but in many instances, as long as you are a member of a foreign Bar, you may be eligible without further education for the California Bar exam. Something to consider.

New York is clearly the largest legal market in the USA. But three cities in California are in the top ten, being Los Angeles, San Fran, and San Diego. Cali, if measured as a country, sits within the top ten national GDPs globally - albiet our state debt and budget deficits makes us an American member of the PIGS.

In your case, coming from the International Financial Centres world, Miami may be a more contextual move, or one of the hedge fund concentrated areas like Conn. and Boston. Just some ideas.
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Kim_Facey
Foreign trained attorneys are only eligible for the NY and California Bar. I have never been to California or even have relatives. I have a host of family in NY and also I have worked in the Big Apple. I know of Connecticut, but I am not eligible for the Connecticut Bar. Thanks for the advice though.
Foreign trained attorneys are only eligible for the NY and California Bar. I have never been to California or even have relatives. I have a host of family in NY and also I have worked in the Big Apple. I know of Connecticut, but I am not eligible for the Connecticut Bar. Thanks for the advice though.
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missaremu
I know the focus here is on New York but in many instances, as long as you are a member of a foreign Bar, you may be eligible without further education for the California Bar exam. Something to consider.

New York is clearly the largest legal market in the USA. But three cities in California are in the top ten, being Los Angeles, San Fran, and San Diego. Cali, if measured as a country, sits within the top ten national GDPs globally - albiet our state debt and budget deficits makes us an American member of the PIGS.

In your case, coming from the International Financial Centres world, Miami may be a more contextual move, or one of the hedge fund concentrated areas like Conn. and Boston. Just some ideas.


Please i just want to know how easy it is for a foreign student with a LLB from UK, called to the Nigerian Bar, to get a job if he/she passes the carlifonia bar exam...what are the eligibility criterias for this exam? Thanks
<blockquote>I know the focus here is on New York but in many instances, as long as you are a member of a foreign Bar, you may be eligible without further education for the California Bar exam. Something to consider.

New York is clearly the largest legal market in the USA. But three cities in California are in the top ten, being Los Angeles, San Fran, and San Diego. Cali, if measured as a country, sits within the top ten national GDPs globally - albiet our state debt and budget deficits makes us an American member of the PIGS.

In your case, coming from the International Financial Centres world, Miami may be a more contextual move, or one of the hedge fund concentrated areas like Conn. and Boston. Just some ideas.</blockquote>

Please i just want to know how easy it is for a foreign student with a LLB from UK, called to the Nigerian Bar, to get a job if he/she passes the carlifonia bar exam...what are the eligibility criterias for this exam? Thanks
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See Rule 4.30 in particular in the following California Bar Rules PDF

http://rules.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-2KV5j0w6Cw%3d&tabid=1227
See Rule 4.30 in particular in the following California Bar Rules PDF

http://rules.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-2KV5j0w6Cw%3d&tabid=1227



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