Bar exam for H4 visa holders

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shubham7jain

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Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby shubham7jain » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:21 pm

Hi,

My wife is coming to US from India on H4 visa. She did her LLM and LLB from top university in India. Now, she is planning to give the Bar counseling exam in WA state and once she gets H4 EAD, she can work. Can someone helps in answering following questions of mine?
1. What are the requirements of giving WA Bar counseling exam? Does she needs to be studied or obtain some degree in US?
2. What are the prospects of job after clearing the WA Bar exam?

Any suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

QContinuum

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby QContinuum » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:52 pm

See https://www.wsba.org/for-legal-professi ... e-bar-exam. Does your wife have any experience practicing law in India? If she's practiced at least three years out of the last five years, she may already qualify to sit for the Washington State Bar Exam - you should reach out to WSBA to find out whether they consider India a "jurisdiction where the common law of England is the basis of its jurisprudence."

Otherwise, your wife will need to first earn a qualifying LL.M. from an ABA-approved U.S. law school. This may be the best option anyway even if your wife already qualifies to sit the bar exam: it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree.

It's generally difficult for foreign-trained lawyers to obtain well-paying legal positions in the U.S., even if they earn a LL.M. from a top U.S. law school. Some foreign-trained lawyers get around this by pursuing a U.S. J.D. - but that is very expensive, and requires 3 years of schooling, and even then, firms/companies will often prefer to hire U.S. citizens over non-citizens. So any way you slice it, it's a challenge.

Nightcrawler

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby Nightcrawler » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:20 pm

QContinuum wrote: it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree.


Not true. At least here on the west coast, as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired. Yes, certain firms (especially biglaw) prefer US JDs, but I know plenty of foreign trained attorneys who obtained high-salary positions. If you don't pass the bar though, be ready to be paid as a law clerk.

QContinuum

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby QContinuum » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:06 am

Nightcrawler wrote:
QContinuum wrote: it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree.


Not true. At least here on the west coast, as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired. Yes, certain firms (especially biglaw) prefer US JDs, but I know plenty of foreign trained attorneys who obtained high-salary positions. If you don't pass the bar though, be ready to be paid as a law clerk.


That's surprising to hear. I am unaware of any legal market in the U.S. where there's a robust demand for non-U.S. citizens who have neither a U.S. J.D. or a U.S. LL.M. Could you share some examples of the firms/companies that frequently hire such applicants? Are the applicants hired to practice U.S. law?

I've had the privilege of speaking with many U.S. LL.M.s about this topic over the past few years. The folks I've spoken with are a very well-qualified group, many of who had previously practiced in large law firms (including local branches of U.S. BigLaw firms) in their home countries. The unanimous consensus was that they were at a severe disadvantage in the job market relative to U.S. J.D.s. (And recall: These folks have U.S. LL.M.s - imagine how much more of a disadvantage they'd be at without any U.S. credential at all.) I realize this is anecdotal but it seems implausible that all of the folks I've spoken with would be unaware of a strong demand for their skills in Washington state.

Nightcrawler

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby Nightcrawler » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:56 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Nightcrawler wrote:
QContinuum wrote: it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree.


Not true. At least here on the west coast, as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired. Yes, certain firms (especially biglaw) prefer US JDs, but I know plenty of foreign trained attorneys who obtained high-salary positions. If you don't pass the bar though, be ready to be paid as a law clerk.


That's surprising to hear. I am unaware of any legal market in the U.S. where there's a robust demand for non-U.S. citizens who have neither a U.S. J.D. or a U.S. LL.M. Could you share some examples of the firms/companies that frequently hire such applicants? Are the applicants hired to practice U.S. law?

I've had the privilege of speaking with many U.S. LL.M.s about this topic over the past few years. The folks I've spoken with are a very well-qualified group, many of who had previously practiced in large law firms (including local branches of U.S. BigLaw firms) in their home countries. The unanimous consensus was that they were at a severe disadvantage in the job market relative to U.S. J.D.s. (And recall: These folks have U.S. LL.M.s - imagine how much more of a disadvantage they'd be at without any U.S. credential at all.) I realize this is anecdotal but it seems implausible that all of the folks I've spoken with would be unaware of a strong demand for their skills in Washington state.


Never talked about foreigners without an LLM. I know of many small to medium size firms (SoCal) that value foreign languages and the CA Bar way more than a JD. Just look at international law, business, immigration, etc.

Nightcrawler

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby Nightcrawler » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:06 pm

QContinuum wrote:It's generally difficult for foreign-trained lawyers to obtain well-paying legal positions in the U.S., even if they earn a LL.M. from a top U.S. law school.


QContinuum wrote:That's surprising to hear. I am unaware of any legal market in the U.S. where there's a robust demand for non-U.S. citizens who have neither a U.S. J.D. or a U.S. LL.M.


And I agree with you, there is not a robust demand for foreigners. I am saying that it is not that difficult as long as you pass a bar exam (preferably your state's), are fluent in English, and look for a firm that needs either (1) your foreign language, or (2) candidates with an international background (like business law, international law, immigration law, etc.).

I absolutely agree with the fact that it is harder for LLM graduates to find a job because US JDs are more valuable to the eyes of employers, but not that hard. Just find the right area, pass the bar exam, and be fluent not only in written but spoken English.

Nycsplitter

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby Nycsplitter » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:36 pm

The h-4 ead program is planned to be cancelled soon. You should file for the EAD as soon as she enters the US!

QContinuum

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby QContinuum » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:05 pm

Nightcrawler wrote:Never talked about foreigners without an LLM.

Not true. You literally quoted me saying "it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree" (emphasis added) and said "Not true ... as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired." See below:
Nightcrawler wrote:
QContinuum wrote: it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree.

Not true. At least here on the west coast, as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired. Yes, certain firms (especially biglaw) prefer US JDs, but I know plenty of foreign trained attorneys who obtained high-salary positions. If you don't pass the bar though, be ready to be paid as a law clerk.


Nightcrawler wrote:I know of many small to medium size firms (SoCal) that value foreign languages and the CA Bar way more than a JD. Just look at international law, business, immigration, etc.

I think there is a demand (though also a strong supply) for bilingual lawyers fluent in both English and Spanish (and to a lesser extent, English and Portuguese). This is true at bigger firms, which are interested in expanding in Latin America, and also at small CA practices, particularly those focusing on immigration.

But I'm not award of any particular demand for lawyers fluent in Hindi (or any of India's other languages).

Nightcrawler wrote:I am saying that it is not that difficult as long as you pass a bar exam (preferably your state's), are fluent in English, and look for a firm that needs either (1) your foreign language, or (2) candidates with an international background (like business law, international law, immigration law, etc.).

I absolutely agree with the fact that it is harder for LLM graduates to find a job because US JDs are more valuable to the eyes of employers, but not that hard. Just find the right area, pass the bar exam, and be fluent not only in written but spoken English.

I generally agree with the above, with the following caveats:
  • As noted above, I don't think there's a particular demand in the U.S. legal industry for Hindi (or other Indian language) speakers.
  • Perhaps unfairly, I'm a bit skeptical of OP's wife's English fluency, given OP's English skills. The degree of fluency required for a legal position is far higher than the degree of fluency required for a sci/tech position.
  • I'm not sure what "the right area" would be for OP's wife. It's not obvious that she has a particular expertise in, say, international business law, nor is there an obvious fit in catering to Indian immigrants the way, say, a Mexican lawyer might find success focusing on Hispanic clients.

Nightcrawler

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Re: Bar exam for H4 visa holders

Postby Nightcrawler » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:04 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Nightcrawler wrote:Never talked about foreigners without an LLM.

Not true. You literally quoted me saying "it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree" (emphasis added) and said "Not true ... as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired." See below:
Nightcrawler wrote:
QContinuum wrote: it's unlikely any U.S. firm/company would want to hire a lawyer without a U.S. law degree.

Not true. At least here on the west coast, as long as you pass the bar exam you WILL be hired. Yes, certain firms (especially biglaw) prefer US JDs, but I know plenty of foreign trained attorneys who obtained high-salary positions. If you don't pass the bar though, be ready to be paid as a law clerk.


Nightcrawler wrote:I know of many small to medium size firms (SoCal) that value foreign languages and the CA Bar way more than a JD. Just look at international law, business, immigration, etc.

I think there is a demand (though also a strong supply) for bilingual lawyers fluent in both English and Spanish (and to a lesser extent, English and Portuguese). This is true at bigger firms, which are interested in expanding in Latin America, and also at small CA practices, particularly those focusing on immigration.

But I'm not award of any particular demand for lawyers fluent in Hindi (or any of India's other languages).

Nightcrawler wrote:I am saying that it is not that difficult as long as you pass a bar exam (preferably your state's), are fluent in English, and look for a firm that needs either (1) your foreign language, or (2) candidates with an international background (like business law, international law, immigration law, etc.).

I absolutely agree with the fact that it is harder for LLM graduates to find a job because US JDs are more valuable to the eyes of employers, but not that hard. Just find the right area, pass the bar exam, and be fluent not only in written but spoken English.

I generally agree with the above, with the following caveats:
  • As noted above, I don't think there's a particular demand in the U.S. legal industry for Hindi (or other Indian language) speakers.
  • Perhaps unfairly, I'm a bit skeptical of OP's wife's English fluency, given OP's English skills. The degree of fluency required for a legal position is far higher than the degree of fluency required for a sci/tech position.
  • I'm not sure what "the right area" would be for OP's wife. It's not obvious that she has a particular expertise in, say, international business law, nor is there an obvious fit in catering to Indian immigrants the way, say, a Mexican lawyer might find success focusing on Hispanic clients.


My bad, I interpreted “US law degree” as referring to solely a JD, not an LLM.



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