Best Way to Land in Hong Kong (as an American)

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Re: Best Way to Land in Hong Kong (as an American)

Postby etlien » Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:32 am

MJMD wrote:
HollywoodA wrote:
etlien wrote:Another route you might be interested in is the 'conversion course', its quite popular in the UK, not so sure if it even exists in HK, never heard of someone doing it in HK. I think its a good road to go down if you want to practice in an area related to your UG degree. For example, someone I went to high school with got his UG degree in the sciences (biochem I think) and is doing conversion as he wants to practice pharmaceutical/IP law.

I would be interested in this, but from the list of institutions that offer the conversion courses, none of the schools seemed to have a a high-level reputation, or at least I wasn't aware of one. If that would be a problem and I could still land a good job in HK that way, I'd be all for it.

The reputation of the schools offering the conversion courses is really irrelevant: if you wanted to practice law in the UK, you would have to go to one anyway, as they are the same schools that run the Legal Practice Course for solicitors and the Bar Professional Training Course for barristers. These courses, from what I hear, bear little resemblance to American “law school”; they are still primarily overseen and administered by the legal profession, and are distinguished from “law school” by being referred to as “bar school.” Even if you did not take a conversion course and instead spent 2 to 3 years earning a law degree, you would still have to go to one of these schools for a year of "bar school" if you wanted to practice in Britain; or, in the case of Hong Kong, you would still have to go to “bar school” (th P.C.L.L.) at one of the three universities in the city.*

The bad news is that, as etlien suggested, there do not appear to be conversion courses offered in Hong Kong; the good news is that Hong Kong, remarkably, still recognizes British conversion courses for entry to the P.C.L.L! So you could theoretically go to London with your current undergraduate degree, take a conversion course (it’s a few weeks or something), get your diploma, then fly directly to Hong Kong and enrol in the P.C.L.L. at HKU (“bar school,” not “law school”). One year later you’re good to practice law, so long as you’re good to stay in the territory. Whether or not you would really be prepared to practice after such an intense crash course is another story, but you’d buy yourself a lot of extra time to learn on your feet.

By the way, if you were to do that, I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the former Inns of Court Law School: even though it’s now under the aegis of the mediocre City University of London, for reasons that are unknown to me, it still retains a lot of prestige. Most famous lawyers in England prior to the 19th century would have been prepared for the profession there, probably after taking degrees completely unrelated to law at Oxford or Cambridge. It’s sort of like the most illustrious trade school imaginable.

'bar school' in the UK is PCL, which is the UK version of the PCLL, so yes if you practised in the UK you would have no choice but go to one of these schools for a year. I do find it weird that none of the 'real schools' in the UK offer PCL, unlike PCLL in HK which is only offered by HKU, CUHK and CityU aka the schools that offer LLB and JD programmes.

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