Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

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MrAdams
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Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby MrAdams » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:24 pm

I am really starting to become disillusioned by the process of getting into practice in America. The LSAT, the applications, the expenses of jd programs... etc, it is just so much effort and hassle. I do sincerely love California and I want to be able to live there, but it just seems like the hassle of applying to Californian law schools is disproportionate to the benefits considering a: I already study law here in the UK b: I am already being entertained by 'biglaw' firms. The thing is, I just got back from London where I was invited by the Clifford Chance grad recruiters to a workshop at their head office and the whole experience just made me feel like I cant be bothered studying for ANOTHER three years... and that I'd rather just start practising NOW... even if I do love California and the people I know there.

None of my mates/family are in uni, let alone in law, so I don't have anyone to give an unbiased view. Would you guys go through the effort of a process similar to the American LS application process purely to live in a new country even if you could already do the big law thing in your own country?

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Kabuo
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby Kabuo » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:28 pm

I'm a 0l, so take this lightly, but isn't pay the issue? I know there's something involving solicitors and barristers over there, but I thought most law grads in the UK started at like the equivalent of $50k. Is that not the case for "biglaw" over there? If it is, and the hours are similar, I would say coming to the US is well worth it.

reverendt
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby reverendt » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:28 pm

That depends on what California is worth to you.
The US job market is saturated, especially in California, so you'd have to go to a great school and/or do very well to have a good shot at the kind of job offer that, apparently, you're already in the running for in the UK.

Renzo
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby Renzo » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:48 pm

If you have an LLB and can get a job with a big UK firm, than getting a US JD is a terrible idea. Start practicing now, if you really want to come to the US in two years, come do an LLM. One year instead of two, qualifies you for the bar, and you'll already have your biglaw bona fides.

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MrAdams
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby MrAdams » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:50 pm

Kabuo wrote:I'm a 0l, so take this lightly, but isn't pay the issue? I know there's something involving solicitors and barristers over there, but I thought most law grads in the UK started at like the equivalent of $50k. Is that not the case for "biglaw" over there? If it is, and the hours are similar, I would say coming to the US is well worth it.


Well, to become a 'solicitor' (very different from barristers; solicitors don't need to sit the bar) in our system, you apply to training contracts at firms, where, over the course of two years you are trained in specific legal areas (or 'seats' as they are called) by that firm. At the end of those two years you are generally given a job as an associate at the firm. Those first two years are substantially lower in remuneration - about $60k like you say - but at the end of those two years the salary jumps up to the same levels that Americans out of JDs get at the same firm. Latham & Watkins for example pay £41k first year tc, then £42k second year tc, then £97K when you become an associate in your third year. Although the US firms pay a lot more than the Magic and Silver Circle firms, no debt sustained either way and you generally make the same as Americans if you work in a US firm, but you work a tonne more.

I think the legal markets are saturated everywhere, it just blows that I thought I was taking a really open ended degree which has turned out to be the most restrictive element in attempting to move to, and live in, America. I love studying law, but i'd go to CA and work in a restaurant if I could,.. I however, cannot.

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MrAdams
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby MrAdams » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:55 pm

Renzo wrote:If you have an LLB and can get a job with a big UK firm, than getting a US JD is a terrible idea. Start practicing now, if you really want to come to the US in two years, come do an LLM. One year instead of two, qualifies you for the bar, and you'll already have your biglaw bona fides.


LL.B's don't qualify you to sit the bar in CA as they are not equivalent to the JD as far as I am aware. The restrictions are much more... restrictive than in NY for example where I can sit the bar purely on the basis of my LL.B. Regardless, I hear that most Int. LLM students don't get very far when trying to find work...? I think that is why most LS's allow the best LLM students to transfer to their JD programs.

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twert
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby twert » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:59 pm

MrAdams wrote:
Kabuo wrote:I'm a 0l, so take this lightly, but isn't pay the issue? I know there's something involving solicitors and barristers over there, but I thought most law grads in the UK started at like the equivalent of $50k. Is that not the case for "biglaw" over there? If it is, and the hours are similar, I would say coming to the US is well worth it.


Well, to become a 'solicitor' (very different from barristers; solicitors don't need to sit the bar) in our system, you apply to training contracts at firms, where, over the course of two years you are trained in specific legal areas (or 'seats' as they are called) by that firm. At the end of those two years you are generally given a job as an associate at the firm. Those first two years are substantially lower in remuneration - about $60k like you say - but at the end of those two years the salary jumps up to the same levels that Americans out of JDs get at the same firm. Latham & Watkins for example pay £41k first year tc, then £42k second year tc, then £97K when you become an associate in your third year. Although the US firms pay a lot more than the Magic and Silver Circle firms, no debt sustained either way and you generally make the same as Americans if you work in a US firm, but you work a tonne more.

I think the legal markets are saturated everywhere, it just blows that I thought I was taking a really open ended degree which has turned out to be the most restrictive element in attempting to move to, and live in, America. I love studying law, but i'd go to CA and work in a restaurant if I could,.. I however, cannot.

that system sounds so much more practical than ours.

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MrAdams
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby MrAdams » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:05 pm

twert wrote:that system sounds so much more practical than ours.


You know. It is. If people over in the states want to become lawyers, it really is a lot easier, less expensive and just as fulfilling to do it here.... if you can get over the fact that you are here...

Actually, you guys might want to look into just applying straight to our law firms out of your undergrads... anyone from any undergrad here can apply to work in law firms... they just need to do a 6 month conversion course (paid by the firm giving them a training contract of course).

Ivan91
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby Ivan91 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:27 pm

I was admitted this year to Queen Mary, University of London law school.
However, I decided to do economics instead and apply to law schools in the States.

Renzo
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Re: Are American law schools worth the hassle and expense?

Postby Renzo » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:23 pm

MrAdams wrote:
Renzo wrote:If you have an LLB and can get a job with a big UK firm, than getting a US JD is a terrible idea. Start practicing now, if you really want to come to the US in two years, come do an LLM. One year instead of two, qualifies you for the bar, and you'll already have your biglaw bona fides.


LL.B's don't qualify you to sit the bar in CA as they are not equivalent to the JD as far as I am aware. The restrictions are much more... restrictive than in NY for example where I can sit the bar purely on the basis of my LL.B. Regardless, I hear that most Int. LLM students don't get very far when trying to find work...? I think that is why most LS's allow the best LLM students to transfer to their JD programs.


From the CA bar rules:
Persons who have studied law in a law school in a foreign state or country may qualify as general applicants provided that they
(A) have a first degree in law, acceptable to the Committee, from a law school in the foreign state or country and have completed a year of legal education at an American Bar Association Approved Law School or a California accredited law school in areas of law prescribed by the Committee


You're right that LLM hiring isn't the same as JD hiring, but if your credentials can get you a magic circle job, they can get you hired out of al LLM program as well--particularly if you have spent time in a big London firm.




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