Looking for career advice (UK TC or US Law School)Watch
I am looking for some career advice. I have a TC offer from a US firm with an office in London (Vault 25 Firm). My career aim is to be a corporate lawyer in California. My long-term girlfriend is from the area and I have lived in California for a couple of years and loved the lifestyle.
What do you think the best approach is to achieving my long-term aim? Should I accept the TC offer or attempt to go to law school in America? Little bit more information:
i) I would only consider going to the top 6 US law schools + Berkeley ii) I would not have independent financial support and I would be relying on a combination of loans and potential scholarships iii) Education wise I have a First Class degree from a top UK law school and an LLM from a Californian law school (received a full scholarship).
My main concern in taking the US law school approach is the mountain of debt I would be in after three years and there being no guarantee that I would get a visa even with a job offer. Additionally, I am wondering if two years of working as a lawyer would be far more beneficial than even more schooling. Another factor is that my girlfriend works in tech (silicon valley) and would have to take a very large pay cut to move to London.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Moving to the US after a TC does not seem to be a well trodden path so any anecdotes of this would be lovely!
Going to law school for a JD after having achieved an excellent UK degree, having won a TC with a (prestigious) US firm and having earned an LLM which enables you to take the Californian bar seems like an unnecessarily expensive thing to do.
Does your firm have an office in CA (SF/Palo Alto)? If so, doing your TC and excelling at it, possibly with a secondment to said CA office, would probably be a very good first step to secure said dream position. Given that you have a very good degree from a common law jurisdiction, 'only' having an LLM and not a JD from a US school should not be a terrible disadvantage.
I'd imagine that working in a respectable US practice in London would give you the right sort of work experience to help you get that dream job at least as much (if not more) than sitting in a classroom for another two or three years. Opportunity costs are also a thing to consider.
But again, these are only my two cents. Where did you do your LLM? Did you take the CA bar yet?
To be honest there are not a lot of people that move from being an English solicitor to a US attorney. Although it is perfectly possible.
If you do want to qualify in the UK then move to California, you need to choose your practice area appropriately. I would suggest qualifying into a transactional area such as corporate or finance. Anything specialist (such as IP or employment) is going to be pretty useless. Litigation will also be pretty useless (although arbitration is an option).
Do you have a full 3 year law degree or did you convert? If you have the degree, one thing you can do is study for and take the California bar exam while you are a trainee. This will enable you to get California qualified.
I can't really comment on the merits of doing a JD in the US. Obviously that would be an easier route to getting a job in the US off the mark, but I have no idea whether they'd sponsor you for a H1-B visa. They probably would, you could always ask some major Cali law firms what their policy is.