LLM or JD


NRI.LLM
Hi everyone,

I have an LL.B. degree from India and already in the US. I am looking to forward develop my career in immigration or tax law. It seems to be a reasonable choice for foreign trained laweyer.

1. Is J.D. must to get a good job in the US?
2. Would an LL.M. degree and NY/CA bar exam open doors for me in this field?
3. What advice can you give to a lawyer from India to develop career in the US?
4. Would going to ivy-league school vs lower ranked school for the LL.M. degree matter? We are limited by geographical location.
5. What should be the focus during LL.M. course to develop career in immigration or tax law?

Thanks for all help.
Hi everyone,

I have an LL.B. degree from India and already in the US. I am looking to forward develop my career in immigration or tax law. It seems to be a reasonable choice for foreign trained laweyer.

1. Is J.D. must to get a good job in the US?
2. Would an LL.M. degree and NY/CA bar exam open doors for me in this field?
3. What advice can you give to a lawyer from India to develop career in the US?
4. Would going to ivy-league school vs lower ranked school for the LL.M. degree matter? We are limited by geographical location.
5. What should be the focus during LL.M. course to develop career in immigration or tax law?

Thanks for all help.
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the first and foremost requirement for you seems to be passing out bar exam of any state in USA.

you are already fully qualified for appearing in CA bar exam; for taking Bar exam of other states like NY, you need 20 credit hours study in ABA approved law school; and for that LL.M will be the best bet;

the ranking of school will not matter in your case; being an outside, you should also be careful in spending and choose a school which offers you the maximum amount of scholarshp.

there are good chances of success in Immigration or tax laws; however, you may opt for general LL.M meant specially for "foreigin trained lawyers" like you.
the first and foremost requirement for you seems to be passing out bar exam of any state in USA.

you are already fully qualified for appearing in CA bar exam; for taking Bar exam of other states like NY, you need 20 credit hours study in ABA approved law school; and for that LL.M will be the best bet;

the ranking of school will not matter in your case; being an outside, you should also be careful in spending and choose a school which offers you the maximum amount of scholarshp.

there are good chances of success in Immigration or tax laws; however, you may opt for general LL.M meant specially for "foreigin trained lawyers" like you.
quote
Hi NRILLM,

I am in a similar predicament. I have an LL.B. from Canada and passed the NY bar exam last year. I have found it extremely difficult to get a job.

I have friends from Canada who are now in the US and have finished general LLMs from great schools and have passed the bar exam in both NY and CA and they too have a really hard time getting jobs.

My personal experience is that there is a hesitation to hire someone when their JD school isn't recognizable. That's why it is a bit easier for Ivy League grads to get jobs- their schools get them a foot in the door, at least.

I have been advised that a general LLM is not a good option because an LLM is seen as a chance to specialize in an area of law, not to gain general information (that is reserved for the JD or LL.B.). At the same time, I would guess an LL.M. from a great school (especially if you do very well) will definitely open up doors for you.

I have also found that it's not particularly helpful seeking advice from people who are not in your specific situation just because their advice is too general (for example, to someone on the outside, an LLM seems like a great degree but only someone with an LL.B. who pursues an LLM in the US and then searches for a job will be able to tell you how the process was).

My suggestion is that you should consider a JD from the best law school you can get in to. The US legal market is incredibly competitive and you're already at a disadvantage because your path has not been a linear one. I say this as someone who is grappling with the same decision. The JD option seems the strongest to me after considerable research.

Best of luck in your decisions :)
Hi NRILLM,

I am in a similar predicament. I have an LL.B. from Canada and passed the NY bar exam last year. I have found it extremely difficult to get a job.

I have friends from Canada who are now in the US and have finished general LLMs from great schools and have passed the bar exam in both NY and CA and they too have a really hard time getting jobs.

My personal experience is that there is a hesitation to hire someone when their JD school isn't recognizable. That's why it is a bit easier for Ivy League grads to get jobs- their schools get them a foot in the door, at least.

I have been advised that a general LLM is not a good option because an LLM is seen as a chance to specialize in an area of law, not to gain general information (that is reserved for the JD or LL.B.). At the same time, I would guess an LL.M. from a great school (especially if you do very well) will definitely open up doors for you.

I have also found that it's not particularly helpful seeking advice from people who are not in your specific situation just because their advice is too general (for example, to someone on the outside, an LLM seems like a great degree but only someone with an LL.B. who pursues an LLM in the US and then searches for a job will be able to tell you how the process was).

My suggestion is that you should consider a JD from the best law school you can get in to. The US legal market is incredibly competitive and you're already at a disadvantage because your path has not been a linear one. I say this as someone who is grappling with the same decision. The JD option seems the strongest to me after considerable research.

Best of luck in your decisions :)
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Rej
If you are planning to get a permanent position within a law firm in the US (and by permanent I mean more than 1/2 years) the only way to go for it (unless you have the necessary contacts) is through a JD. The LL.M. is great if your plans are to go back to your home country after a couple of years.
Just let me tell you that the US legal market is really hard and a lot of students from top schools (and I am referring even to Harvard, no so much Stanford as the LL.M. is really small) are returning to their home countries empty handed...
If you are planning to get a permanent position within a law firm in the US (and by permanent I mean more than 1/2 years) the only way to go for it (unless you have the necessary contacts) is through a JD. The LL.M. is great if your plans are to go back to your home country after a couple of years.
Just let me tell you that the US legal market is really hard and a lot of students from top schools (and I am referring even to Harvard, no so much Stanford as the LL.M. is really small) are returning to their home countries empty handed...
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NRI.LLM
Thanks (nriattorney, Canadianista and Rej) for adding your views on this recurring theme of "difficulty in finding jobs". Looks like it is common for foreign trained lawyers to struggle finding jobs in the US.

How much does networking help in landing a job in small/medium law firm? The reason I ask- even if the job market is competitive and opportunities are sparse back home (India), networking is almost everything in finding jobs. Is that true for USA too?

I have not found any LL.M. that specifically offers concentration in immigration. But I suppose I can focus on those courses while in the program and not per se worry about the title of the program.

Being a lawyer back home, I would hate doing (mindless) paralegal job. Any views on that? No offense to paralegals, it is my personal view.
Thanks (nriattorney, Canadianista and Rej) for adding your views on this recurring theme of "difficulty in finding jobs". Looks like it is common for foreign trained lawyers to struggle finding jobs in the US.

How much does networking help in landing a job in small/medium law firm? The reason I ask- even if the job market is competitive and opportunities are sparse back home (India), networking is almost everything in finding jobs. Is that true for USA too?

I have not found any LL.M. that specifically offers concentration in immigration. But I suppose I can focus on those courses while in the program and not per se worry about the title of the program.

Being a lawyer back home, I would hate doing (mindless) paralegal job. Any views on that? No offense to paralegals, it is my personal view.
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You're right, networking is important. The difficulty with the foreign attorney scenario is that it's hard to build good networking contacts. I found there were many opportunities to do so when I was in school and those connections were very helpful in securing positions after school was complete but now, the people I meet are younger attorneys who don't have much hiring clout or people who are in the same semi-employed boat I'm in :)

If you want to avoid doing paralegal work, you can always work as a Law Clerk for the first little while. It's generally work that former law students who are not yet licensed do. The nice thing about this type of position aren't many administrative tasks you're responsible for and it's a stepping stone to securing as associate position. Again, the problem is finding one of these positions.

Hope that helps :)
You're right, networking is important. The difficulty with the foreign attorney scenario is that it's hard to build good networking contacts. I found there were many opportunities to do so when I was in school and those connections were very helpful in securing positions after school was complete but now, the people I meet are younger attorneys who don't have much hiring clout or people who are in the same semi-employed boat I'm in :)

If you want to avoid doing paralegal work, you can always work as a Law Clerk for the first little while. It's generally work that former law students who are not yet licensed do. The nice thing about this type of position aren't many administrative tasks you're responsible for and it's a stepping stone to securing as associate position. Again, the problem is finding one of these positions.

Hope that helps :)
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about immigation law :

the advantage is that if you clear Bar exam of any one State, you are entitled to practice law throughout the country;

immigration law work is available in plenty if you start on your own; particularly since you are in India; you will find a sizeable number of clients from India needing your services;
about immigation law :

the advantage is that if you clear Bar exam of any one State, you are entitled to practice law throughout the country;

immigration law work is available in plenty if you start on your own; particularly since you are in India; you will find a sizeable number of clients from India needing your services;

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hannenyh
If you consider staying in the U.S. for a long time you definitely should go for a JD. If you get in as a transfer student it will only take you a year extra, and it will be way easier to get a job.

Unless of course you want to work as a solo-practitioner in CA or NY, or if you get into the best tax llm program out there, or something similar to that.
If you consider staying in the U.S. for a long time you definitely should go for a JD. If you get in as a transfer student it will only take you a year extra, and it will be way easier to get a job.

Unless of course you want to work as a solo-practitioner in CA or NY, or if you get into the best tax llm program out there, or something similar to that.

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napolibo
Re: immigration law:

Unless you are wanting to work for the government in immigration, you do not even need a bar membership to practice immigration law before the Executive Office for Immigration Review - all you need is certification from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Re: immigration law:

Unless you are wanting to work for the government in immigration, you do not even need a bar membership to practice immigration law before the Executive Office for Immigration Review - all you need is certification from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
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