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    I'm not completely sure how their system works. Do you need to have an undergraduate degree and then go on to do a JD or is it like in the UK where you just do your undergrad and then have to do the bar/lpc?


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    America doesn't have a distinction between barrister and solicitor.

    You will first have to get an undergraduate degree, then go to 'Law School' (generally you will have to sit the LSAT, which I understand takes a fair bit of preparation).

    Once you've done law school you will have to take a state bar exam, which qualifies you as a lawyer. It's not a course like the LPC/BPTC (from what I understand) - just an exam which you sit in the summer after graduating from law school.

    Then you have to find a job.

    To be honest, I think you'd be better off getting your undergraduate degree in the UK and taking it from there. It's very costly and exceedingly difficult to do it all in the US.
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    (Original post by LewisG123)
    I'm not completely sure how their system works. Do you need to have an undergraduate degree and then go on to do a JD or is it like in the UK where you just do your undergrad and then have to do the bar/lpc?


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    You need an undergraduate degree to study for a JD, which is a graduate program in the US. You also need to take the LSAT. You could take law in the UK and then get an LLM in the US, but my understanding is that an LLM in the US won't actually get you very far if you intend on staying in the US. I too have been considering getting a JD in the US and this is the information I've gathered so far.
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    It seems crazy to make people study for 7 years to become a lawyer. Are there any ways around it, like maybe going to Canada and qualifying then moving to America?


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    Hey man -

    There aren't any ways to get around it as far as I'm aware of - best you could do probably is to finish your undergraduate in 3 years to shorten it to 6. I also believe Northwestern has an accelerated JD program that lets qualified students finish in two years. So hypothetically-ideally speaking if you finished your undergraduate degree in 3 years then managed to get into NU's AJD program, then you could finish in 5 years.

    But other than that... dunno.

    I go to school in the US, and from what I hear, it's not that great a time to get into the legal profession anyway. Bear in mind law school is expensive and financial aid is hard to come by, especially for international students. The difficulty in obtaining financial aid also applies to undergraduate for international students - most US universities do not provide need-based aid to internationals, the only real exceptions being the very very very top tier (i.e. large endowment) schools. So do you really want that many years worth of potential debt?
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    (Original post by LewisG123)
    It seems crazy to make people study for 7 years to become a lawyer. Are there any ways around it, like maybe going to Canada and qualifying then moving to America?


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    As opposed to the 6 years or 9 years to be a sole practitioner it takes in England (as a solicitor) compared with 7 to be an attorney and practice as a sole practitioner in the USA
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    (Original post by LewisG123)
    It seems crazy to make people study for 7 years to become a lawyer. Are there any ways around it, like maybe going to Canada and qualifying then moving to America?


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    • Complete UK law degree
    • Find states with "reciprocal arrangements" (e.g. New York)
    • Pass State Bar Exam
    • Profit!


    I haven't looked into it in much detail, but I'm pretty sure this is a viable route. (In theory, you could also become a UK lawyer this way without the need to complete pupillage/a training contract if you work on "English law" for two years - I think.) There's some info on preparatory courses here.
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    (Original post by Tortious)
    • Complete UK law degree
    • Find states with "reciprocal arrangements" (e.g. New York)
    • Pass State Bar Exam
    • Profit!


    I haven't looked into it in much detail, but I'm pretty sure this is a viable route. (In theory, you could also become a UK lawyer this way without the need to complete pupillage/a training contract if you work on "English law" for two years - I think.) There's some info on preparatory courses here.
    You didn't mention the green card fairy or the dire state of the legal jobs market in New York. This from 2011 http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/20...tate-by-state/ and this from 2012 http://www.nalp.org/2011selectedfindingsrelease
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    You didn't mention the green card fairy or the dire state of the legal jobs market in New York. This from 2011 http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/20...tate-by-state/ and this from 2012 http://www.nalp.org/2011selectedfindingsrelease
    Wow, mea culpa. As I said (although perhaps didn't emphasise enough), I haven't dedicated a great amount of time to researching this; it was my Plan Z for becoming a solicitor if I couldn't get a training contract - trailing well behind the ILEX route!
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    (Original post by Tortious)
    Wow, mea culpa. As I said (although perhaps didn't emphasise enough), I haven't dedicated a great amount of time to researching this; it was my Plan Z for becoming a solicitor if I couldn't get a training contract - trailing well behind the ILEX route!
    It probably is a more viable way of becoming a solicitor than a practising New York attorney.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    As opposed to the 6 years or 9 years to be a sole practitioner it takes in England (as a solicitor) compared with 7 to be an attorney and practice as a sole practitioner in the USA
    6 or 9? You can become a qualified lawyer in England in less than four. Not sure what the difference between that and a sole practitioner is


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    (Original post by LewisG123)
    6 or 9? You can become a qualified lawyer in England in less than four. Not sure what the difference between that and a sole practitioner is


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    You can become a barrister in England in four years (accelerated law degree-2 years, BTPC-one year, pupillage-one year)

    The quickest way of becoming a solicitor, which would be very unusual is about 4 1/2 years and I am not aware that anyone has ever qualified that quickly because the combination of elements is unlikely (accelerated law degree-2 years, accelerated LPC- 6 months, training contract-2 years.)

    Note, that I am referring to accelerated law degrees of the kind offered by Buckingham and Northampton and not senior status law degrees. Moreover the intensity of the two accelerated courses mean that the student is very unlikely to have been working in the law so as to score any time off the training contract.

    You need to be qualified for three years before becoming a sole practitioner as a solicitor and I believe it is a similar amount of time before you can practise other than in chambers as a barrister. A US lawyer can set up on his own immediately on call to the bar.

    Actually there is one way of doing it more quickly. If you could get a certificate of academic standing from the SRA without having done a degree, you could do the GDL, accelerated LPC and 2 year training contract which would be 3 1/2 years but I do not know if it has ever been done.
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    I'm American and going to the UK for law school because it is way cheaper (even as an international) and because all my family is in Europe so I'm planning to move there, but that aside, for all that is good in this world, do not go to law school in the US. All this talk of accelerated law programs-- yeah good luck with that. They're few and near impossible to get into. The LSAT? Death. An undergrad is 4 years right? Well potential law school candidates start studying for the LSAT in their second year if they want any realistic chance. Any good law school wants a score of ridiculous magnitude. Then there's the cost of completing law school. To do an undergrad here at any good school, you're looking to pay at least $45,000, but the average good uni is more like $55,000 and up, with the Ivys hitting a good $65,000 with housing an whatnot. Let's say you go to an average cost-- that's $220,000 just for a pointless undergrad like political science or psychology that you don't even want to do, since your goal is law (I take great issue with this). The average cost of the top twenty law schools in the country is $60,000, with Harvard hitting a delightfully bankrupting $80,000 a year. Three years of that is $240,000. Three years of the top twenty is still $180,000, putting you at $400,000 for your seven years of education. You could buy two reasonably sized houses in the south for that, or one even bigger one in the northeast suburbs where I am. Once you do those seven years you have to pass the bar. No one takes the bar the moment they finish law school because they have to learn the laws of their state. You study for at least six months, lots of people a year or more. They're typically two entire days of testing that make you question every good thought you've ever had about yourself because they make you feel stupid. Should you be lucky enough to pass the bar, then you're a qualified lawyer in your state. If you ever move to another state, you get to take the bar again, this time with new laws in mind. Now, there has been discussion of doing a law degree in England then moving to the US to a state that accepts the degree. Well guess what-- only New York does that. If you go down that road, you can never leave New York, not to mention the fact that a UK law degree will not help you at all in the US. The differences in the legal system are more pronounced than you would think. I'm also not sure how willing someone would be to hire a British-trained attorney for exactly that reason. On that note, law jobs in the US are fewer than they have ever been. They are so elusive that lawsuits against law schools are popping up all around the country of students suing their schools for over-representing the number of jobs in the legal field available and the rate of employment their schools carry. The number of law school students that are finding jobs within a year of graduation is now so low that law school applications have dropped 13.6%. Anyone who pursues a legal career in the US right now is basically considered insane. You're better off staying in the UK and paying almost nothing for your degree and actually finding a job.
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    California is another state where one doesn't need a US JD degree to take the bar.
 
 
 
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