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Law in the US

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    I've got a bit of a pickle here.

    I've recently become interested in studying Media law. I don't want to take a gap year, and I can't afford to fund myself through 3/4 years of college in America. However, it has always been a dream of mine to spend a year in California. I've thought about living there, but I wouldn't be able to commit myself to it, until I'd tried it (for at least a year).

    The problem is, of course, that I don't know how I can spend a year in California, if I want to do Law... and I don't know how I would be able to have the opportunity to work there, should I choose to, if I study Law in the UK.

    Help!
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    Anyone?!?!!?
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    You are in luck:

    Admission rules for solicitors admitted to practice in England and Wales
    Solicitors admitted to practice in England and Wales are eligible to sit the state bar examination without the requirement to complete additional legal education. A summary document of the requirements is available from the State Bar of California, click here to download.
    Solicitors can obtain the Certificate of Good Standing required for the application from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
    Queries regarding admission to the Bar should be directed to the State Bar's Office of Admissions.
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    (Original post by digitalfever)
    You are in luck:

    Admission rules for solicitors admitted to practice in England and Wales
    Solicitors admitted to practice in England and Wales are eligible to sit the state bar examination without the requirement to complete additional legal education. A summary document of the requirements is available from the State Bar of California, click here to download.
    Solicitors can obtain the Certificate of Good Standing required for the application from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
    Queries regarding admission to the Bar should be directed to the State Bar's Office of Admissions.
    So, I wouldn't have to do any extra education? If I pass the Bar exam, I can go straight into studying in California?

    How many years exp. would I need?
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    Are you a qualified solicitor?
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    (Original post by Howard)
    Are you a qualified solicitor?
    I haven't even applied for law yet!!
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    (Original post by soindie)
    So, I wouldn't have to do any extra education? If I pass the Bar exam, I can go straight into studying in California?

    How many years exp. would I need?
    You sit the bar AFTER you have a law degree.

    So if you went through law school in the UK and you decided you want to live and practice in California you could sit the bar without having to sit for more courses to fulfill the bar exam requirements.
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    (Original post by soindie)
    I haven't even applied for law yet!!
    Then you might be jumping the gun a bit.

    Your options are limited.

    You'd have to do your LLb(Hons) in the UK first. You could then apply to do an LLM in the US which would take you two years (Master's degrees in the US tend to take two years) I cannot think why you would want to do this. First of all it would cost you a fortune and secondly, at the end of five years of studying the law you wouldn't actually be qualified to practice law in either country.
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    (Original post by digitalfever)
    You sit the bar AFTER you have a law degree.

    So if you went through law school in the UK and you decided you want to live and practice in California you could sit the bar without having to sit for more courses to fulfill the bar exam requirements.
    To sit for the State Bar you need an ABA accredited degree. So, if all you had was an LLb(Hons) you'd need to take extra classes to get your JD which is what you'd need for admission to the Bar Exams.

    Now, if you had an LLb(Hons) and were already a practicing solicitor or barrister in the UK you could read for and sit the Bar Exams without getting the JD.
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    (Original post by Howard)

    Now, if you had an LLb(Hons) and were already a practicing solicitor or barrister in the UK you could read for and sit the Bar Exams without getting the JD.
    I was going under the assumption that this was the case. Otherwise OP is jumping the gun =\
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    In the US, Law is a graduate degree. Meaning you would need to hold a Bachelor's degree from another university before being apply for any law degrees in the US.

    I believe California, along with New York, will accept foreign LLBs if you can prove to them that your legal education was sufficient to sit for their Bar exams. But, you're going to need to get a legal degree before you can practice law in the US. Which either means stay in the UK and get an LLB. Or come to the US and do 4 years of undergrad + 3 years of law school (7 years total), which will cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds.
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    Im currently in the same situation. I have started doing my LLB degree in the UK at a good university but after I graduate I wish to study and live in California. Would the best option be to apply for an LLM degree after I graduate here?
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    op and steffzz - do you have the right to live and work in the us? is there a reasonable chance that you will marry a us national/green card holder?

    if not

    1) other than academic interest you will be wasting your time studying us law

    2) you have a vanishingly slim chance of emigrating to the us

    of course it is possible, but at the stage of life you are at i wouldn't pin many hopes on it
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    (Original post by BO'H)
    op and steffzz - do you have the right to live and work in the us? is there a reasonable chance that you will marry a us national/green card holder?

    if not

    1) other than academic interest you will be wasting your time studying us law

    2) you have a vanishingly slim chance of emigrating to the us

    of course it is possible, but at the stage of life you are at i wouldn't pin many hopes on it
    This.

    You really do need to be aware of the immigration restrictions, the guiding principle of which is 'if there's someone here who can do the same job, we won't let you in'.
    Now if you wanted to be a farm worker, you'd likely have a better chance of a long working visa, as there are few US citizens willing to tolerate the conditions. However America churns out silly numbers of law graduates each year (c. 100 law schools, each with a few hundred grads each year). This glut of law schools means that even American citizens have little chance of getting hired by a decent firm after completing a JD unless they graduated from the T14 (top 14 schools -look them up).

    The other 90 odd schools of course will still teach almost exactly the same stuff, but their employment rates and potential earnings drop sharply the further down the rankings you go - there are simply too many lawyers.

    My point is that if there are so many American lawyers with 7 years of higher education behind them who are out of work or working for very low pay, why would they admit a foreigner with even less education who would further devalue the market?

    Its a shock to young people, but America really isn't easy to emigrate to any more, even for those from more favoured countries like the UK.


    If you are serious about doing this I would suggest the following:

    1. Get good A levels if you haven't already.
    2. Go to a good University (or US College if you can afford it)
    3. Read for a degree in any serious subject. If possible do an LLB.
    4. Graduate with a first or good 2:1 having made lots of contacts.
    5. Nail the GRE and LSAT.
    6. Write excellent application essays with good letters of recommendation.
    7.Get admitted to a T14 law school.
    8. Pass the Cali Bar Exam
    9. Find a firm who will sponsor a work visa.


    This will take min 6 or 7 years and cost a bomb - the best law schools charging $50,000 p/a tuition, although those schools are generous with financial aid. If you are poor - tough. It sucks hugely, but America is not kind to the poor in the way Europe is, and even less so towards poor foreigners, who get none of the federal aid which makes law school viable for America's middle class.

    Add to this the fact that law school admission will necessarily discriminate against non-residents and you are facing tough odds.

    I actually have an a acquaintance who, having done the LLB here, is studying for a JD at a UC campus, so that does seem to be the way to go.


    It is twisted, but the easiest way to get into the States is to marry an American - do so and so many of your problems are solved


    If you just want to live in Cali for a year, then get a J1 visa and find some volunteering project. It really is among the most beautiful places I've ever seen, it is the world in microcosm with mountains, forest, desert, farms, cities; just awesome. I'd totally recommend going, but I'm afraid working there is much more difficult.
    And make sure you have a car!!

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Updated: February 12, 2012
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