Foreign Citizens

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Trequartista
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Foreign Citizens

Postby Trequartista » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:15 am

Can foreign citizens work as lawyers in the U.S?

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:51 am

Theoretically. If you can get an employer to sponsor you for an H1B. First year after law school you get an OPT which is the equivalent of a work visa for one year (back in the 2000s it used to be 18 months). That's granted automatically. You just have to apply. If your OPT expires before your H1B kicks in (assuming you get one, which it will), you can still work until your H1B kicks in and not be out of legal status.

Anonymous User
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:17 pm

nael wrote:Can foreign citizens work as lawyers in the U.S?


If you're educated abroad, no. You have to get a U.S. LLM first. Unless you're Canadian, in which case you can sit for some bar exams (such as New York) directly.

If you're a foreigner educated at a U.S. law school, you can for a year after graduation, then you have to get an H1B employer-sponsored visa. This can be expensive to get, so it depends on how badly your employer wants you. Unless of course you're Canadian, in which case a T-N will suffice.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:37 pm

nael wrote:Can foreign citizens work as lawyers in the U.S?

Yes.

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NewHere
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby NewHere » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:05 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
nael wrote:Can foreign citizens work as lawyers in the U.S?

Yes.


Yes.

You need to pass the bar and you need a visa. Different states have different rules for who can sit for the bar exam. In NY you can sit for the bar if you have
(a) an American JD,
(b) a foreign law degree + American LLM,
(c) a foreign law degree from one of a handful of countries for which an LLM is not required (aside from Canada, mentioned above, Australia is another one, I believe), or
(d) one year of American law school + something like 2 years of practice at a law firm.

Many employers who want to hire you don't mind applying for a visa, but it depends on the kind of employer.

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straxen
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby straxen » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:11 pm

Theoretically yes, but H1Bs are not easy things to deal with, and it's an employer-sponsored visa so you'd have to find an employer willing to sponsor you. (As competitive as it is now, imagine trying to make the argument that you're valuable enough for them to have to spend an extra few thousand dollars on your visa over the years).

Be aware that, very generally speaking, H1Bs are limited to six years and gaining permanent residency out of an H1B is very difficult short of marrying an American while you're here. Since American JDs aren't exactly valuable outside of the US, I would never think it a good thing for a foreign Citizen come to the US for law school.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:26 pm

I wouldn't call it "difficult". It takes forever though. And H1Bs aren't limited to 6 years. If you apply for permanent residency and you get to a certain part of the process before your H1B term is up, you renew once a year until you get off the damn waitlist (during which time you're unfortunately locked into that employer).

Assuming they "want" you, they can be sure they can dick you around as much as you want and you pretty much have no recourse besides quitting and getting deported lol. But then again, what's a few extra K when they're looking to spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions on you over nearly a decade?

But once they want you, they'll do what they need to do to keep you. Or so I heard.

Trequartista
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Trequartista » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:38 pm

Thank you for the input.

Not that I will get into big-law but assuming I do will it be easier to get a H1b?

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:39 pm

Why do you assume you won't get into biglaw? Shitlaw definitely won't sponsor you, if anyone will, it's going to be biglaw/midlaw/a boutique or a corporation. Nobody can tell for sure, but biglaw/multinational corps have expensive lawyers on retainer (or inhouse) to deal with this kind of crap, so I'm guessing probably yes.

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tome
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby tome » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:53 pm

Citizenship does not matter whatsoever in any state as far as I am aware. All that matters is passing the bar and getting authorization to work.

Of course, there are some particular jobs that require citizenship--particularly government jobs.

Fun fact: you do not need to be a US citizen to be a supreme court justice (however, all thus far have been, and since about the 1950s all have been born in the USA too).

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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby awesomepossum » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:07 pm

motiontodismiss wrote:Why do you assume you won't get into biglaw? Shitlaw definitely won't sponsor you, if anyone will, it's going to be biglaw/midlaw/a boutique or a corporation. Nobody can tell for sure, but biglaw/multinational corps have expensive lawyers on retainer (or inhouse) to deal with this kind of crap, so I'm guessing probably yes.



This is actually not true. I know a foreigner who worked for a mom and pop where the boss really liked the employee. The boss sponsored an H1B and subsequently a green card. I think it was actually easier than biglaw because you only needed to convince one person to do it.

Trequartista
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Trequartista » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:18 pm

motiontodismiss wrote:Why do you assume you won't get into biglaw? .


Well unless I improve my LSAT score I am looking at a school outside the T-25.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:28 pm

nael wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:Why do you assume you won't get into biglaw? .


Well unless I improve my LSAT score I am looking at a school outside the T-25.


A law school outside the T25 isn't worth going to.

Trequartista
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Trequartista » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:40 pm

motiontodismiss wrote:
nael wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:Why do you assume you won't get into biglaw? .


Well unless I improve my LSAT score I am looking at a school outside the T-25.


A law school outside the T25 isn't worth going to.


I thought that was the T-14. 8)

I will retake and hopefully get the score I need.

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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:44 pm

Go to a T14 and try your best to get Biglaw, seriously.

I am an international at a T14 which is quite friendly to international students. Unfortunately, some of my friends from c/o 2010 and 2011 missed the Biglaw boat, and they had to scramble hard for the state court clerkship / small firms / PI which does not require citizenship (read: PI that has nonexistent prestige and pays poorly). Sure, you'll still have the green card issue several years down the road even if you get biglaw, but at least you'll have decent exit options in your home market by then (hopefully).

I'm not saying Biglaw in US is the only worthwhile goal. If you really want to be a lawyer, a JD from a decent US law school would probably be worth it in the long run. But Keynes has told us that "in the long run we're all dead".

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:51 pm

Maybe by then you'll get married to an American citizen. Or your firm will like you and sponsor you for a greencard. Or you'll have saved up enough money to hang out your own shingle and buy one (only costs $1 mil I heard).

EDIT: oh wait, it's $500k in certain areas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EB-5_visa# ... r_projects

Then again you'll have to save quite a bit to save up $500k in 6 years. That's like, $90k a year, on average. Back in the day when bonuses were like $45k for first years I guess it wouldn't have been too hard but these days they rarely exceed $10k.

Then again you also don't know when the EB5 program is going to expire or get repealed or whatever either. But if you can somehow procure a half million in cash it's a viable idea.

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straxen
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby straxen » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:32 am

motiontodismiss wrote:I wouldn't call it "difficult". It takes forever though. And H1Bs aren't limited to 6 years. If you apply for permanent residency and you get to a certain part of the process before your H1B term is up, you renew once a year until you get off the damn waitlist (during which time you're unfortunately locked into that employer).

Assuming they "want" you, they can be sure they can dick you around as much as you want and you pretty much have no recourse besides quitting and getting deported lol. But then again, what's a few extra K when they're looking to spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions on you over nearly a decade?

But once they want you, they'll do what they need to do to keep you. Or so I heard.


Hence why I said "very generally" limited to 6 years. You can game it with recaptures and permanent labor certification applications, etc. If you don't get permanent labor certification...game's over. If you do, you can renew for three year increments until you get the green card.

BUT (1) permanent labor certification means (or at least is supposed to mean) that no US Citizen can do your job...which is relatively difficult to prove for your average associate, and (2) once you get permanent labor certification, have fun waiting the 5-10 years for your visa number to come up....that's a long time for a firm to stick with the process.

And if you lose your job, you don't have much time to get a new one before the H1B runs out.

My partner is going through this process in the Corporate world with a very specific set of skills amenable to PERM...and it sure as hell ain't fun...I think for an attorney it would be so much harder and riskier to the point of not being worth it.

You can say...what's a few K when they're already paying you so much. I agree in principle...but with such a competitive environment for hiring, if you come in and say that they're going to cost you more, I can't imagine your name going to the top of the pile.

Basically my recommendation would remain...go to law school and find an American to marry. :P
Last edited by straxen on Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:34 am

Or better yet, find $500k in cash. I have a friend who's canadian whose parents threw down a couple million and got her EB-5 in 9 months or something.

And you could probably structure your job description such that only you would have the skills to do it.

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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:42 am

Yes, but not for fed gov.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Yes, but not for fed gov.


Assuming the federal government even hires H1B lawyers.....

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straxen
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby straxen » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:50 am

motiontodismiss wrote:Or better yet, find $500k in cash. I have a friend who's canadian whose parents threw down a couple million and got her EB-5 in 9 months or something.

And you could probably structure your job description such that only you would have the skills to do it.


That'd be nice, but not many people fall into that category.

Tailoring to meet a specific foreign worker's requirements is expressly forbidden (not that it isn't done in practice with mixed success).

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:45 am

straxen wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:Or better yet, find $500k in cash. I have a friend who's canadian whose parents threw down a couple million and got her EB-5 in 9 months or something.

And you could probably structure your job description such that only you would have the skills to do it.


That'd be nice, but not many people fall into that category.

Tailoring to meet a specific foreign worker's requirements is expressly forbidden (not that it isn't done in practice with mixed success).


How would the government prove that though? You can't really argue with "We need a lawyer who's fluent in (insert language) and familiar with (insert culture) who has an expertise in (insert specialty) because we're planning to expand into that market."

Trequartista
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby Trequartista » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:43 am

Marrying an american it is then. :D

motiontodismiss
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby motiontodismiss » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:34 pm

Or maybe you could lateral into a Toronto firm, or transfer to the Toronto office if the whole labor cert thing falls apart. That's probably what they'll do if you can't get it. Or fire you.

sophie316
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Re: Foreign Citizens

Postby sophie316 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:19 am

Sorry to sort of hijack: can anyone who has done the OPT to H1B w a biglaw firm PM me? I have questions and my school is fairly useless at answering them.




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