canadian citizen, visa/immigration questions re: employment

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canadian citizen, visa/immigration questions re: employment

Postby blech » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:57 pm

I'll begin by outing myself as a 0L. Please don't stop reading here.

I'm a Canadian citizen who is seriously considering law school (and practice) in the US. What I've recently become worried about, though, are job prospects after graduation. Specifically - what effect will my not being an American citizen have on my employment prospects? Presumably I would need some sort of visa, but what type? and are these difficult to come by? I've seen terms like H1-b and TN thrown around but do not really understand the nuances of them and their application to law school graduates. Are the immigration/visa issues something that firms don't care about and will sponsor relatively easily?

That was a few more questions than I planned. Sorry.

In short:
Canadian citizen->Wants law school in US->Wants to practice (and live) in the US

Is this possible? or am I setting myself up for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt only to not be able to practice both in the US (for immigration reasons) and Canada (for JD reasons)?

Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Does anyone want to marry me?

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Re: canadian citizen, visa/immigration questions re: employment

Postby Horsefeathers » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:01 pm

With far cheaper legal education and a more robust legal economy, it's hard to understand why you wouldn't want to just try your luck
north of the border.

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Re: canadian citizen, visa/immigration questions re: employment

Postby adameus » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:05 pm

fellow Canadian here.

First off I'd like to say that you should only come to the US for law school if you know you are okay with working in the US and if you can get into a top law school (ie. top 6). Otherwise just stay in Canada where the job market for lawyers is a lot stronger. Yes they won't pay you 160K in Canada, but only big law pays that here, and in recent times big law is not easy to get.

Assuming you meet the above criteria and decide to come to school in the US, from what I've learned, you should have almost no problem getting a big law firm to sponsor you. As Canadians I think we can get a working visa easier than any other country as the TN visa is available to us and can be renewed infinitely. So assuming you can get into a top school and you are okay with working in the US, then you shouldn't feel that immigration issues will be any more than a relatively minor inconvenience.

I should disclaim that I have never actually applied for a TN visa myself, but I have spoken with a number of my classmates who are going through that now, the international office at my school and have asked similar questions on TLS before and they would all agree with what I have to say regarding the ease of getting a visa for Canadians.

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Re: canadian citizen, visa/immigration questions re: employment

Postby blech » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:37 pm

Wow, thanks for quick replies.

Staying in Canada is less of an option for me because I (expect to be) a fairly extreme splitter (2.8/PTing 170-175) and will therefore have a better shot at decent American schools than Canadian I think.

A few more questions:

When you say to only go stateside for the top-6, is that simply because of the state of legal market in the US, notwithstanding of my visa/immigration considerations? Or do you think I would run into unique visa problems as the result of attending a lesser ranked school (splitter friendly t14-30ish GWU, WUSTL, etc)? Would non-biglaw firms be less receptive to visa sponsorship?

Thanks again, and sorry for my neuroticism.

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