European: Not sure what to do...

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Xptboy
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:25 pm

European: Not sure what to do...

Postby Xptboy » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:42 pm

Hi guys,
I am finishing my freshman year, my GPA is a 3.67 but I'm getting a 4.0 this semester and hope to raise my GPA to 3.8ish by the time I graduate. Anyways I didn't come here to discuss that. I came because I am European (Belgian to be exact) but I am kind of a special case. My dad was a diplomat so I have never lived in any single country for more than 4 years, this meant that I went to international schools my whole life which is why I went to America for college. Anyways, I am very interested in law and am definitely going to go to law school after college. I am going to have to say that I have fallen in love with America and it's culture even though I realize there are a lot of things about this country that are to say the least pretty darn f*cked up , but hey what country doesn't have it's problems?

My problem (and this is the only problem, I don't have any financial problems or anything) is that my first language is English, I speak French conversationally but am by no means fluent enough to hold a job where French speaking is required to be fluent. Now this may not seem like a problem, but I think it is, because as a European I think that unless I get a visa to work in the states then I must work in Europe and the only English speaking countries in Europe are the UK and Ireland. So I have a few questions that I need answers to.

1. How useful will a law degree from the States be in Europe and what is my likelihood of getting a good job (provided I go to a T14 school)? Will I be able to work anywhere other than the UK and Ireland?
2. If I get a law degree in the states, what are the chances that I may be able to get a greencard and continue working in the states?
3. Should I focus on international law or follow the law which I am most interested in (right now I honestly don't know what type of law I'm most interested in... good thing I still got 3 years to decide lmao)

viking138
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:55 pm

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby viking138 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:00 pm

So get a visa....hundreds of thousands of international students/workers do this every year. It's not really an issue beyond having to deal with a ton of bureaucracy but that's just how immigration laws in the US work unfortunately.

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eagles111
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby eagles111 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:02 pm

I have no idea about the answer to your first question. but as for the second: if you really love America (it is great, right), since you're not from a "problematic" country, you went to college and T14 law school here, and you don't have any financial problems, if you line up a job here after school, I would be very surprised if you have any trouble getting a visa and eventually citizenship here, if you so desire. It can be a hassle but you're basically a shoo-in.

I do know that "international job placement" is a stat a lot of schools keep so you can check admissions websites or talk to admissions offices. I'm sure they can also give you more details on the work visa process or connect you with someone who can.

BenJ
Posts: 1353
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:58 pm

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby BenJ » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:06 pm

1. An American JD will be far more useful in common law countries (Britain and its former colonies) than in civil law countries (most of the rest of the world). I don't know that you won't be able to find work in a civil law country, but it will be more difficult.
2. I think it's fairly easy for a JD to get a green card. Or you could meet someone in law school and get married.
3. "International law" doesn't really exist as a profession (or, rather, it's extraordinarily rare). You could study American law and then work for a French company operating in the US interpreting American law for them, for example; that's usually what "international" means, not diplomacy.

Common law vs civil law:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Legal ... rldMap.png

Xptboy
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:25 pm

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby Xptboy » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:16 pm

Oh, your answers are actually making me really optimistic about my chances of getting permanent residency here, because I've always heard that no matter what your circumstances, the application process is always very random. But it's really nice to hear that if everything falls through alright and I get a JD from a T14 school then I should be easily able to continue living in the states.

jafadoo
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:44 pm

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby jafadoo » Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:52 pm

Message Deleted
Last edited by jafadoo on Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Renzo
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby Renzo » Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:08 pm

More importantly, do you make killer waffles?

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vlsorbust
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:24 pm

Re: European: Not sure what to do...

Postby vlsorbust » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:36 pm

Xptboy wrote:1. How useful will a law degree from the States be in Europe and what is my likelihood of getting a good job (provided I go to a T14 school)? Will I be able to work anywhere other than the UK and Ireland?
2. If I get a law degree in the states, what are the chances that I may be able to get a greencard and continue working in the states?
3. Should I focus on international law or follow the law which I am most interested in (right now I honestly don't know what type of law I'm most interested in... good thing I still got 3 years to decide lmao)


I apologize in advance for the excessive information I’m about to rattle off, but since I do have some background with US work-related immigration (from a job that I had for several years, until recently - thanks to the economy) I wanted to respond. I hope that you find my post helpful.

1. I'm not sure how useful a US law degree would be in Europe, or anywhere else for that matter, unless you decide to get an advanced law degree at a school in that country as well. There are about a dozen or so US law schools that offer a dual/joint-degree program with a foreign university, which would allow you to earn your law degree from both institutions. That's something you may want to check out. Otherwise, I'm not quite sure how much it will benefit you in getting a job overseas, unless you work for an international organization of some type.

2. On the subject of green cards, there are four main ways you can get one: (1) work-sponsored; (2) sponsored by a US citizen who is either your spouse or a member of your immediate family; (3) under asylum/refugee status; (4) diversity lottery. I’ll go into option 1 and 4 a bit later, but I’ll start with option 2. I won’t even touch on 3 – that’s ruled out for pretty obvious reasons. Option 2 – you definitely don’t want to get caught up in visa fraud by marring someone just to get permanent residency status. That can bar you from the US for 5 to 10 years – or indefinitely – so it’s really not worth the risk. If you happen to fall in love with a US citizen (for real) and decide to get married, well that’s great. But even then, the authorities may not believe you and kick you out of the country anyway. Sadly, this happens all too often, especially these days. I’ve seen it happen. Option 1 – even this route is a huge long shot, especially if (in the unlikely event) Congress ever gets around to making the certain changes that a lot of people are calling for, like making it harder for non-citizens to “take their jobs” (a topic for a completely different forum). For starters, you aren’t going to get a work-sponsored green card automatically right out of law school, because of the process involved and because of the cost. Start-to-finish, the process takes a couple of years at the very least, so you’d either have to work abroad or stay here on a work visa while you wait. The cost is generally in the $10,000 - $20,000 range (government + legal fees). Economic woes are forcing big corporations to think twice about sponsoring even C-level executives who don’t already have their citizenship or permanent residence status. For you, especially right out of law school, this isn’t a realistic option.
Option 4 – the diversity lottery is just that – a lottery, but specifically for people who were born in countries that have low rates of immigration to the US (something under 50,000 in the last five years, I think). I haven’t had as much experience with this green card category, but the odds don’t seem like something you can bank on. Plus, you really have to watch out for scams with this one. If anything, a company *might* be willing to sponsor you for an H-1B visa, which is also pretty expensive – around $3,000 - $4,000, after all the various fees, for a three-year period. The longest you can stay on an H-1B, if you’re not at a certain point in the green card status, is six years. Once that time is up, you have to stay out of the US for at least one full year (I think that goes for any reason, even tourism) before you can become eligible for another work visa, at least for the H and L categories. There’s a catch with the H-1B, though. Due a number of factors – primarily the current demand for this visa type, plus the timing between the government filing period and spring graduation dates – you may not be able to get one. The government is really only cutting some slack for people with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They can get an EAD card (not really a visa itself, but a work permit) under “optional practical training.” It’s good for a year or two, and then they just have to hope for the best when they file for the H1B in the following year.

3. International and comparative law may not be the most clearly-defined discipline but I wouldn’t totally discount it, either. You’ll probably want or need to focus on something specific – like environment, corporate, human rights, etc. – to make a career out of it.

Here’s something to consider, given your concern about language barriers. Many big companies (like the Big 4, for example) use English in their day-to-day duties, even in their offices outside of the US, because it’s a sort of default common language for an international workforce. I’m pretty sure that it is possible to find some job elsewhere in the world that doesn’t demand total fluency in the country’s main language(s). Plus, even some knowledge of a foreign language – and a capacity to learn languages – can certainly help make a person more marketable.

It’s great that you’re getting an early start on trying to figure out what your next steps may be when you graduate. Best of luck to you!




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