Question from overseas law grad

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auslawgrad
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:27 pm

Question from overseas law grad

Postby auslawgrad » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:41 pm

Hey guys,

By way of background, I'm a recent graduate of an Australian law school thinking of moving to New York for work. While I recognise that's probably easier said than done, I'd really appreciate a bit of guidance from anyone who has the time or is in a similar position. I'm currently working at a graduate lawyer at a top 3 Australian law firm in Sydney, have clerked in London at a Magic Circle firm and have good grades/law review etc. What I don't have is a US law degree.

So some quick questions:
1) can anyone say from experience that not having a US law degree is fatal to my pipe-dream;
2) can anyone point me towards a rough template of how American firms like CVs/covering letters prepared; and
3) does anyone know from experience of any firms that are currently taking overseas qualified lawyers?

I work with people who have returned from firms in NY (Skadden etc) but almost all of them went over pre-GFC when things were a whole lot easier.

Thanks in advance.

sophie316
Posts: 374
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:08 pm

Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby sophie316 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:39 pm

You're going to have a really rough time without at least an LLM since you can't take the bar without one. Without being able to practice NY law, I'm not sure anyone would hire you, although I did work with a 'visiting' lawyer at my firm this summer from South Africa, who was not US qualified. So it might be possible on a short term exchange basis but I think these are arrangements worked out between firms rather than individuals.

auslawgrad
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:27 pm

Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby auslawgrad » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:55 pm

Thanks for the help.

Just to clarify though, I can sit for the NY bar exam as my overseas degree satisfies the eligibility requirements of RR520.6 (I've already received advance approval from the NY Bar Association), I'm really just trying to work out whether its worth going through with the rest of the process.

sophie316
Posts: 374
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:08 pm

Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby sophie316 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:17 am

I think you're still going to be fighting an uphill battle without a US LLM(and even with one, but it would still be easier because top firms to actively recuit LLMs from top schools). But why not send out some applications, see if anyone bites and if not if you really want to come to the US, consider an LLM?

Geon
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:10 am

Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby Geon » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:57 am

sophie316 wrote:I think you're still going to be fighting an uphill battle without a US LLM(and even with one, but it would still be easier because top firms to actively recuit LLMs from top schools). But why not send out some applications, see if anyone bites and if not if you really want to come to the US, consider an LLM?


From what i've seen on law schools websites ll.m (foreign) struggle to find US employment and the best path for a foreigner wanting to practice in us is a us jd.

The ops best bet imo is to send his resume everywhere, network, try to find somewhere off the beaten path and get a job. Of course it will be hard for him to land into big law especially if his grades are not A. So maybe he wants to aim for mid sized law or even small firms. IMO your best bet is to send resumes via internet, try to pass the new york bar and to work in an australian firm with us offices so then you can just transfer.

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piccolittle
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Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby piccolittle » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:11 am

Echoing the "you're gonna have a hard time" refrain. I have an LLB from the UK, am a US citizen, and took the NY Bar (I grew up here). Couldn't find a job. Doing a JD now for the job prospects. Frankly, US graduates are flooding these firms, so they don't really have incentive to hire foreign grads. It sounds as though you have a pretty good gig in Australia. Is there any chance you could lateral over to a firm with a NY office, maybe spend some time there on sort of internal secondment (not sure what it's called), and look into your prospects of transferring permanently? Honestly, I think that is the best option - always. stay. employed. In this economy there are absolutely no guarantees and US firms are spoilt for choice.

Good luck! Feel free to PM me if you have anything you'd like to chat more about.

auslawgrad
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:27 pm

Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby auslawgrad » Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:51 am

Thanks everyone, I appreciate you all taking the time.

It looks like I'll just have to float my resume around a little bit and see if anyone is willing to bite.

Geon
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:10 am

Re: Question from overseas law grad

Postby Geon » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:35 pm

piccolittle wrote:Echoing the "you're gonna have a hard time" refrain. I have an LLB from the UK, am a US citizen, and took the NY Bar (I grew up here). Couldn't find a job. Doing a JD now for the job prospects. Frankly, US graduates are flooding these firms, so they don't really have incentive to hire foreign grads. It sounds as though you have a pretty good gig in Australia. Is there any chance you could lateral over to a firm with a NY office, maybe spend some time there on sort of internal secondment (not sure what it's called), and look into your prospects of transferring permanently? Honestly, I think that is the best option - always. stay. employed. In this economy there are absolutely no guarantees and US firms are spoilt for choice.

Good luck! Feel free to PM me if you have anything you'd like to chat more about.


Op this just demonstrates the difficulty you'd face. If an American with a foreign jd who lives in America can't find work you see the uphill battle.

Another recommendation I have is to target firms who either bring in lots of aussie immigrants or target firms who are australian or do significant business in australia as they may be more likely to need a aussie. As a Canadian I know a small % of Canadians find work in places like Florida, Mass. and New York with businesses and law firms doing lots of business in Canada




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