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Specialization in international trade

Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:09 pm
by sunada777
I am a junior in college (california) studying accounting and international business. I have been looking into practicing law as an attorney primarily dealing with international trade and investment. Last few days of online research has led me to a conclusion that the place to practice international trade is Washington D.C. Thus, I have looked into some of the law schools based in or around D.c. and their programs in regards to international trade law.

As a minority with less than great stats (currently 3.4: junior this fall), I understand that my options are limited as to getting into t14 law schools. I also understand that career outlook as a non-t14 graduate is not too bright either. However, my interest lies specifically in international trade/customs/investment law, and I want to choose a law school that will give me the best preparation and chance to get into this field of law.

I know it's hard to predict law school admissions without the LSAT score, but I am researching this particular field of law and its career prospect in general.

Now, if there are anyone who is familiar with these programs please don't hesitate to throw in your 2cents:

UVA J.D./JHU-SAIS MA - I know both of these two programs are huge reaches for me (unless I get 175+), but since I am researching my options, I would still like to hear about them.

Georgetown J.D./M.A- same with the above. It's a long shot unless I ace my LSAT. But they are the best in D.C. in both disciplines.

G.W.U JD/MA international trade and investment policy: their program seems to perfectly match my interest plus they have strong reputation in D.C. but their MA costs extra $40,000 on top of the cost of J.D. My question is whether the MA is worth the extra cost if I want to break into international trade law in D.C. as a minority.

UNC J.D./Duke MPP- They also have dual option with Duke J.D. but I know I would have a very slim chance to Duke law with less than 3.4 gpa. That said, I hear UNC law is a good feeder school to D.C. area and I think Duke MPP will help me get into international trade practice. Only downside is that UNC is not the best school in terms of employment to big-law and, especially in this economy, I am quite hesitant towards lower ranking schools. But then, the legal market could recover by the time I graduate which is approx. 6 years from now.

American University J.D./M.A International affairs- Very expensive and ranked lower. However, I hear American has a decent reputation in D.C. area and their M.A. program is also well known.

Feel free to add your thoughts in these programs and/or international trade practice in general. Also, if you know any other that you want to recommend, please don't hesitate.

Thank you everyone.

Re: Specialization in international trade

Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:23 pm
by SuperCool23
I think with your 3.4 and a descent lsat score you could get into any one of those programs

Re: Specialization in international trade

Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:27 pm
by thesealocust

Re: Specialization in international trade

Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:34 pm
by sunada777
Thank you both.

And, thesealocust, I thank you for your response. I have heard similar opinions as to how the international law has a broad spectrum and that international business law is basically no different from the corporate law.

But if I am correct, the "international trade law" which I have been referring to seems to be a different type of practice from the general corporate law, thus many firms seem to separate the two.

International trade law deals with trade negotiations, antidumping regulation, customs, and etc... I heard that it is not the most exciting field of law but still is a specialized field that requires extensive knowledge. That is why looked specifically into dual degrees. But after reading the article you posted, I certainly should give a further thought about the MA degree especially if the extra degree will not only have an effect but might have negative effect in employment.

thesealocust, do you have any experience or knowledge in this field? No offence, but because you said, "To the extent that it's even possible to do 'international trade law'." I am not sure you do. From what I have researched, like I said before, there is a specific area of practice in International law offered by many big firms.

Take for instance, here is a list of attorney profiles for skadden arps. ... rneyList=1

1. They are all located in D.C. and other big firms seem to concentrate their international trade practice in D.C. area.
2. May of the attorneys in this field have advanced degrees in international relations or public policy.

you also said, "2) Anything 'international', to the extent that it exists, will be absurdly competitive and basically require a T14 JD and strong exit credentials / prior experience."
-can you elaborate? I am not sure if I am following you.