Foreign lawyer in the US? You don't need LLM.


mkn

Hi.
I'm doing 2 year LLB at external programme, University of London. I understand that distance learning programme does not meet the requirement to sit NY bar, whearas an LLB in the UK is generally considered equivalent to JD. My situation is that, I already have a LLB (4 years, full-time) in civil law country. Do an LLB external AND an LLB in civil law country together (6 years in total!) enable me to take NY bar?
Thanks in advance.

Hi.
I'm doing 2 year LLB at external programme, University of London. I understand that distance learning programme does not meet the requirement to sit NY bar, whearas an LLB in the UK is generally considered equivalent to JD. My situation is that, I already have a LLB (4 years, full-time) in civil law country. Do an LLB external AND an LLB in civil law country together (6 years in total!) enable me to take NY bar?
Thanks in advance.
quote
chuckles

America is not like the rest of the world when it comes to lawyers. American Bar Association (ABA) has a lot of influence over the practice of Law in the US and how states such as New York regulate lawyers. Many states adopt in one form or another the Model Rules proposed by the American Bar Association regarding the practice of lawyers.

The one thing you need to realize is America is very strict about who can practice law, qualifications needed, and are very strict about the recognition of foreign lawyers. My guess is without graduating from an overseas school accredited by the America Bar Association the best you can do is be recognized as a foreign legal consultant provided you have been a solicitor for at least five years in good standing in the UK. The foreign legal consultant role has many restrictions and it is best to contact the New York Bar rules regarding foreign lawyers to see what restrictions would be placed upon you and if you qualify to take the NY Bar Exam.

My gut feeling is unless your program is accredited by the American Bar Association there is very little chance that New York Bar Association will accept your qualifications to take the NY Bar exam and practice law regardless of your experience and qualifications.

Two websites to give you further information

American Bar Association website: www.abanet.org

New York Bar Association: www.nyba.org.

America is not like the rest of the world when it comes to lawyers. American Bar Association (ABA) has a lot of influence over the practice of Law in the US and how states such as New York regulate lawyers. Many states adopt in one form or another the Model Rules proposed by the American Bar Association regarding the practice of lawyers.

The one thing you need to realize is America is very strict about who can practice law, qualifications needed, and are very strict about the recognition of foreign lawyers. My guess is without graduating from an overseas school accredited by the America Bar Association the best you can do is be recognized as a foreign legal consultant provided you have been a solicitor for at least five years in good standing in the UK. The foreign legal consultant role has many restrictions and it is best to contact the New York Bar rules regarding foreign lawyers to see what restrictions would be placed upon you and if you qualify to take the NY Bar Exam.

My gut feeling is unless your program is accredited by the American Bar Association there is very little chance that New York Bar Association will accept your qualifications to take the NY Bar exam and practice law regardless of your experience and qualifications.

Two websites to give you further information

American Bar Association website: www.abanet.org

New York Bar Association: www.nyba.org.
quote
hannenyh

I thought an LLB was an undergraduate degree, while as a JD is a graduate degree? Not the same thing if you ask me. Americans spend 7 years after high school to get their law degree.

I thought an LLB was an undergraduate degree, while as a JD is a graduate degree? Not the same thing if you ask me. Americans spend 7 years after high school to get their law degree.
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gkh_2005

In India too, LL.B. is a postgraduate degree. You have 2 schemes in India , you can pursue 3 LL.B. program after a B.A., B.Com, B.Sc., which takes 3 years to complete, therefore totally 6 years of education to get your law degree or you can pursue an integrated B.A.,LL.B program which takes 5 years after your 12th grade.

In India too, LL.B. is a postgraduate degree. You have 2 schemes in India , you can pursue 3 LL.B. program after a B.A., B.Com, B.Sc., which takes 3 years to complete, therefore totally 6 years of education to get your law degree or you can pursue an integrated B.A.,LL.B program which takes 5 years after your 12th grade.
quote
hannenyh

Right, but I was referring to "whearas an LLB in the UK is generally considered equivalent to JD", which I think is untrue. Or at least companies in the U.S. will not agree with that.

Norway used to have a 6 year law degree until we "had to comply" with European standards, and now have a 5 year degree.

Right, but I was referring to "whearas an LLB in the UK is generally considered equivalent to JD", which I think is untrue. Or at least companies in the U.S. will not agree with that.

Norway used to have a 6 year law degree until we "had to comply" with European standards, and now have a 5 year degree.
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gkh_2005

Norway is a beautiful country, excellent human rights and propserous. Any scope for lawyers from India there in an international law firm operating in there ???

Norway is a beautiful country, excellent human rights and propserous. Any scope for lawyers from India there in an international law firm operating in there ???

quote
chuckles

Another point too you need to realize is that in the US to qualify as a lawyer to take the bar you must a have J.D. (Juris Doctorate) degree. It is a non-research based doctorate degree in law. To obtain it you must study four years to receive your bachelors and then an additional three years for your J.D. at an accredited law school.

Though you have put in six years of studying the level that you studied is the determining factor. You level of study is at the Bachelors level and not at the Doctorate level. My feeling is instead of studying for another LLB you should be enrolling at a LLM program that has been accredited by the American Bar Association as there are several of those programs in Europe.

Another point too you need to realize is that in the US to qualify as a lawyer to take the bar you must a have J.D. (Juris Doctorate) degree. It is a non-research based doctorate degree in law. To obtain it you must study four years to receive your bachelors and then an additional three years for your J.D. at an accredited law school.

Though you have put in six years of studying the level that you studied is the determining factor. You level of study is at the Bachelors level and not at the Doctorate level. My feeling is instead of studying for another LLB you should be enrolling at a LLM program that has been accredited by the American Bar Association as there are several of those programs in Europe.
quote
gkh_2005

J.D. Degree was earlier called LL.B., in the United States. It was changed to J.D. in early 1970's.

"It is only old wine in new bottle"

J.D. Degree was earlier called LL.B., in the United States. It was changed to J.D. in early 1970's.

"It is only old wine in new bottle"
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hannenyh

I am not sure about this argument, but even if it was called an LLB, it was still a graduate degree.

I am not sure about this argument, but even if it was called an LLB, it was still a graduate degree.
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equity's d...

it's true that different schemes exist in different countries for getting the law degree, i.e. in USA and Canada one gets their 3 year law degree after getting a BA, Bsc, Bcom, etc.. for a totoal of 7 years education. I*n the UK, and i believe in Australia and New Zealand (though I may be wrong about the latter two) one goes into the law degree right out of high school.
So, in one sense, in Cananad and the US a law degree appears to be a graduate degree in that it is a second degree taken; but it is technically a bachelor's degree by designation, which is where confusion arises.
But there is no difference in level of study between an LLB and JD in north america. as was pointed out above, the US JD used to be called an LLB and in Canada several law schools have actually started renamed their LLB a JD (university of british columbia and university of toronto, for example) so that their students have easier access to US markets, even though the degee is identical in duration, entry requirments, content etc.. as it was before the name change.
I don't know if a UK LLB is regarded as the equivalent of a US JD in the states, but i know for sure that an canadian law degree absolutely is. I know several people working in new york after getting the llb in canada and then writing the ny bar. I suspect, but could be wrong, that it is different for the UK llb because it is a first degree rather than a second degree like in canada and the USA.
Hope this helps...

it's true that different schemes exist in different countries for getting the law degree, i.e. in USA and Canada one gets their 3 year law degree after getting a BA, Bsc, Bcom, etc.. for a totoal of 7 years education. I*n the UK, and i believe in Australia and New Zealand (though I may be wrong about the latter two) one goes into the law degree right out of high school.
So, in one sense, in Cananad and the US a law degree appears to be a graduate degree in that it is a second degree taken; but it is technically a bachelor's degree by designation, which is where confusion arises.
But there is no difference in level of study between an LLB and JD in north america. as was pointed out above, the US JD used to be called an LLB and in Canada several law schools have actually started renamed their LLB a JD (university of british columbia and university of toronto, for example) so that their students have easier access to US markets, even though the degee is identical in duration, entry requirments, content etc.. as it was before the name change.
I don't know if a UK LLB is regarded as the equivalent of a US JD in the states, but i know for sure that an canadian law degree absolutely is. I know several people working in new york after getting the llb in canada and then writing the ny bar. I suspect, but could be wrong, that it is different for the UK llb because it is a first degree rather than a second degree like in canada and the USA.
Hope this helps...
quote
kahbooom

I thought an LLB was an undergraduate degree, while as a JD is a graduate degree? Not the same thing if you ask me. Americans spend 7 years after high school to get their law degree.


I think you are an absolute idiot. An LLB and a JD are exactly the same education. The only difference being is that in Europe and the other commonwealth countries they believe that their students are mature enough right after "high school" to take on the difficult task of law school. I believe in America if you want to be a lawyer it would be nice to just go to law school instead of wasting your time in an undergraduate degree. I think it is just a scheme for the law schools and the banks financing the loans to keep making massive amounts of money off of students. Think about the money you could save if you just went to law school right out of high school. The education is identical the Europeans are again one step ahead of us and didn't waste 4 years of their lives and thousands of dollars on a superfluous degree.

<blockquote>I thought an LLB was an undergraduate degree, while as a JD is a graduate degree? Not the same thing if you ask me. Americans spend 7 years after high school to get their law degree. </blockquote>

I think you are an absolute idiot. An LLB and a JD are exactly the same education. The only difference being is that in Europe and the other commonwealth countries they believe that their students are mature enough right after "high school" to take on the difficult task of law school. I believe in America if you want to be a lawyer it would be nice to just go to law school instead of wasting your time in an undergraduate degree. I think it is just a scheme for the law schools and the banks financing the loans to keep making massive amounts of money off of students. Think about the money you could save if you just went to law school right out of high school. The education is identical the Europeans are again one step ahead of us and didn't waste 4 years of their lives and thousands of dollars on a superfluous degree.
quote
hannenyh

Excuse your language!

What I was trying to convey here was how American employers might look upon your LLB, not my personal thoughts on how the American system is, and which is better. I don't really care about either, since the system in my country is completely different from both of these.

And sometimes I wish I had other classes than just law, because it gives you a broader perspective, and not everyone thinks perspective is a waste of time. And American employers might not think so either, and that was what I was discussing. Apparently that is your take on life. Good luck in the real world (idiot)!

Excuse your language!

What I was trying to convey here was how American employers might look upon your LLB, not my personal thoughts on how the American system is, and which is better. I don't really care about either, since the system in my country is completely different from both of these.

And sometimes I wish I had other classes than just law, because it gives you a broader perspective, and not everyone thinks perspective is a waste of time. And American employers might not think so either, and that was what I was discussing. Apparently that is your take on life. Good luck in the real world (idiot)!
quote

As somebody who has both a UK LLB and a US JD I think I might have something to add.

Off course the JD is a graduate degree - it is a doctorate - that's what the D stands for.

As for whether it is graduate level compared to the UK LLB, I would say it is - at least comparing my LLB UK uni to my JD US law school.

In the UK we studied 12 subjects over 3 years - 4 per year, spread over 2 semester with final exams at the end of each year following an almost 4 week study break (more like 6 weeks when including the easter vacation). We spent about 11/12 hours in class each week and we only had to prepare for tutorials (one hr per week for each class). This was at a top 20 UK law school according to The Times good uni guide.

In the US we studied about 30 subjects over 3 years - 5 per 12 week semester - with about 1 day between the last class in each subject and the beginning of finals! We had to read about 30-60 pages for each class, with about 15 one hr classes per week.

The difference? In the US we had to be constantly reading, but not just reading, learning and memorizing and preparing for finals almost all of the time. I'd have to start preparing for exams and reviewing materials 6 weeks into the semester, while trying to learn what was being taught over the next 6 weeks.

In the UK we mostly went to classes, did some reading, goofed off for 8 months between September and April, and then spent all of May cramming for June/July finals.

IMHO, the US JD style, combinded with the older age of most students - my class was mostly 25-35, lent itself to a much more professional learning environment, which I think pays dividends when it comes to subsequent practice.

In my field, litigation/arbitration (though I've done plenty else), US associates tend to get greater responsibility early on compared to their UK contemporaries - many of whom, after 6 years of legal education and training, are still creating trial bundles and doing nothing more than glorified paralegal work.

That's just my opinion.

Another advantage of the US system is that it does not lead to as much age discrimination by legal employers as occurs in the UK. Nobody thinks twice when someone in their early 30s applies for an entry level position.

I think being an effective lawyer requires a certain maturity and wisdom that is hard to come by in one's early 20s. Hence, most young (less than 27?) lawyers in the UK are doing a lot of gofer work for senior associates and partners who do the real lawyering.

As somebody who has both a UK LLB and a US JD I think I might have something to add.

Off course the JD is a graduate degree - it is a doctorate - that's what the D stands for.

As for whether it is graduate level compared to the UK LLB, I would say it is - at least comparing my LLB UK uni to my JD US law school.

In the UK we studied 12 subjects over 3 years - 4 per year, spread over 2 semester with final exams at the end of each year following an almost 4 week study break (more like 6 weeks when including the easter vacation). We spent about 11/12 hours in class each week and we only had to prepare for tutorials (one hr per week for each class). This was at a top 20 UK law school according to The Times good uni guide.

In the US we studied about 30 subjects over 3 years - 5 per 12 week semester - with about 1 day between the last class in each subject and the beginning of finals! We had to read about 30-60 pages for each class, with about 15 one hr classes per week.

The difference? In the US we had to be constantly reading, but not just reading, learning and memorizing and preparing for finals almost all of the time. I'd have to start preparing for exams and reviewing materials 6 weeks into the semester, while trying to learn what was being taught over the next 6 weeks.

In the UK we mostly went to classes, did some reading, goofed off for 8 months between September and April, and then spent all of May cramming for June/July finals.

IMHO, the US JD style, combinded with the older age of most students - my class was mostly 25-35, lent itself to a much more professional learning environment, which I think pays dividends when it comes to subsequent practice.

In my field, litigation/arbitration (though I've done plenty else), US associates tend to get greater responsibility early on compared to their UK contemporaries - many of whom, after 6 years of legal education and training, are still creating trial bundles and doing nothing more than glorified paralegal work.

That's just my opinion.

Another advantage of the US system is that it does not lead to as much age discrimination by legal employers as occurs in the UK. Nobody thinks twice when someone in their early 30s applies for an entry level position.

I think being an effective lawyer requires a certain maturity and wisdom that is hard to come by in one's early 20s. Hence, most young (less than 27?) lawyers in the UK are doing a lot of gofer work for senior associates and partners who do the real lawyering.
quote

hi smart Guy
i am an attorney in india, and i am preparing for Cal bar exam of Feb2008. i never visited to US before, can you tell me what would be my work auothorisation status if I passed that exam...means which type of visa would be reqired to parctise is US or to get a job after become a US attorney...thanks in advance

hi smart Guy
i am an attorney in india, and i am preparing for Cal bar exam of Feb2008. i never visited to US before, can you tell me what would be my work auothorisation status if I passed that exam...means which type of visa would be reqired to parctise is US or to get a job after become a US attorney...thanks in advance
quote
Gigia

To all foreign lawyers in the US (including myself): I hope we all agree on one thing that LLM will never replace JD degree.
If you intend to practice law in the US with LLM you have to understand that you are "handicapped" (class B if it sounds better) from educational point of view.
If all you want from LLM is to be able to sit for NY bar exam, i think i have good news how to save admission headaches and $25,000 tuition + another $10,000 for living expenses.
Here is what you can do:
Stage One: Get admitted to your home Bar.
Stage Two: Take and pass California bax exam as attorney admitted in foreign jurisdiction.
Stage Three: no no no, just two.
Congratulations. You saved $35,000, one year of your life, admission headaches AND you can call your self US attorney now.
Questions?


Hi There,
The shortcut idea sounds great.
Would you happen to know any Bar preparation course that you could refer? I live right on the border of LA and Orange County. Any around this area?

<blockquote>To all foreign lawyers in the US (including myself): I hope we all agree on one thing that LLM will never replace JD degree.
If you intend to practice law in the US with LLM you have to understand that you are "handicapped" (class B if it sounds better) from educational point of view.
If all you want from LLM is to be able to sit for NY bar exam, i think i have good news how to save admission headaches and $25,000 tuition + another $10,000 for living expenses.
Here is what you can do:
Stage One: Get admitted to your home Bar.
Stage Two: Take and pass California bax exam as attorney admitted in foreign jurisdiction.
Stage Three: no no no, just two.
Congratulations. You saved $35,000, one year of your life, admission headaches AND you can call your self US attorney now.
Questions?
</blockquote>

Hi There,
The shortcut idea sounds great.
Would you happen to know any Bar preparation course that you could refer? I live right on the border of LA and Orange County. Any around this area?



quote
richardvf

Your best bet is probably Barbri with PMBR as an MBE supplement. I am certain that there would be live classes near where you live. Remember, for the shortcut to work in California, you need to be a licensed attorney in your home country. I knew two foreign attorneys who took the shortcut in California. One was from the Phillipines and had a solo practice. The other was from Jamaica and worked for the DA.

Your best bet is probably Barbri with PMBR as an MBE supplement. I am certain that there would be live classes near where you live. Remember, for the shortcut to work in California, you need to be a licensed attorney in your home country. I knew two foreign attorneys who took the shortcut in California. One was from the Phillipines and had a solo practice. The other was from Jamaica and worked for the DA.
quote
Nailinton

Thank you richardvf,

Since you seem to know two people who have effectively taken the California route, I've got one practical question for you.

As you may know, foreign attorney applicants need to file for a social security number exemption when registering for the exam. However, these forms are NOT available online, and need to be obtained by contacting the LA office of admissions.

Not surprisingly, the people at this office are either a) not picking up their phones b) hanging up their phones c) passing the phonecall on to random people who don't have a clue.

To cut this rambling short, do you happen to know how these persons you know managed to get this registration requirement settled? If so, would you mind chekcing on their experience, since it is exactly this type of practical caveats that make the California bar process daunting...

Thanks in advance for you insights!

Hans.

Thank you richardvf,

Since you seem to know two people who have effectively taken the California route, I've got one practical question for you.

As you may know, foreign attorney applicants need to file for a social security number exemption when registering for the exam. However, these forms are NOT available online, and need to be obtained by contacting the LA office of admissions.

Not surprisingly, the people at this office are either a) not picking up their phones b) hanging up their phones c) passing the phonecall on to random people who don't have a clue.

To cut this rambling short, do you happen to know how these persons you know managed to get this registration requirement settled? If so, would you mind chekcing on their experience, since it is exactly this type of practical caveats that make the California bar process daunting...

Thanks in advance for you insights!

Hans.
quote
richardvf

The foreign attorneys I knew already had their green cards and social security numbers. I would just send a letter asking for the form.

The foreign attorneys I knew already had their green cards and social security numbers. I would just send a letter asking for the form.
quote
Nailinton

Thanks for you promt reply.

I already wrote them letters, emails, faxes etc asking for the form, but with no result. Judging on how frustratingly inefficient these people are, I'm starting to get worried about making the registration deadlines for the february exam. After all, they still need to "process" the exemption after I get the form back to them.

Again, some input from anybody out there with hands on experience would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for you promt reply.

I already wrote them letters, emails, faxes etc asking for the form, but with no result. Judging on how frustratingly inefficient these people are, I'm starting to get worried about making the registration deadlines for the february exam. After all, they still need to "process" the exemption after I get the form back to them.

Again, some input from anybody out there with hands on experience would be greatly appreciated.
quote
phxpueblo

richardvf, UnderemployedLawyer, and others.....

Hello.

I am an American who just entered a Graduate Entry LLB Programm in London. The program lasts two years. I currently have a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State.

I undertook this degree program with a feeling that the cultural diversity and perhaps the legal education in the UK would better prepare me for a greater understanding of the global legal marketplace.

It is my intention to primarily practice law back home in the US. Arizona, California, and Texas are most attractive to me (although I am keenly aware of the limitations in Arizona as a non-JD). Admittingly, at the age of 29 (already having spent 4 yrs undergrad & with 2 yrs LLB on the horizon + LPB/BVC course for UK and/or JD/LLM for US), I am not interested in being in school forever.

In consideration of the above, what would you all recommend that I do? Finish 2 yr LLB + BVC, then CA Bar? Finish 2 yr LLB + 1 yr US based LLM? Transfer at semesters/years end from my current program to a US law school? Other options?

I greatly appreciate your time and consideration in assisting me with some much needed direction.

Kind Regards,

'Confused in London'

richardvf, UnderemployedLawyer, and others.....

Hello.

I am an American who just entered a Graduate Entry LLB Programm in London. The program lasts two years. I currently have a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State.

I undertook this degree program with a feeling that the cultural diversity and perhaps the legal education in the UK would better prepare me for a greater understanding of the global legal marketplace.

It is my intention to primarily practice law back home in the US. Arizona, California, and Texas are most attractive to me (although I am keenly aware of the limitations in Arizona as a non-JD). Admittingly, at the age of 29 (already having spent 4 yrs undergrad & with 2 yrs LLB on the horizon + LPB/BVC course for UK and/or JD/LLM for US), I am not interested in being in school forever.

In consideration of the above, what would you all recommend that I do? Finish 2 yr LLB + BVC, then CA Bar? Finish 2 yr LLB + 1 yr US based LLM? Transfer at semesters/years end from my current program to a US law school? Other options?

I greatly appreciate your time and consideration in assisting me with some much needed direction.

Kind Regards,

'Confused in London'
quote

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