V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:17 am

V10 anon here.
analytic_philosopher wrote:Could you please offer your opinion on biglaw career prospects for foreigners at American law schools (assume JD candidate at T14 school). Do you know any in your professional life? Do you think they faced any special challenges? Also, which market (aside from NYC) would be likely to hire foreign JDs? According to TLS wisdom, when applying for a law firm job in any city other than NYC, it is important to have strong 'ties' to that city (e.g. the city is your hometown, you went to school there, your family lives there, etc.).

Thanks very much in advance!
Assuming that by "foreigner," you mean non-citizen and non-green card-holder, then it's very difficult to land a big law gig, especially in this hypercompetitive job market. If you're just merely a good law student, then law firms can find everything you offer in immigrants who have citizenship or green cards. You'll really have to stand out to get hired. The foreign JDs that I have encountered at law firms (very few indeed) who were hired as summer associates have usually had these qualifications:

  • major domestic and international connections
  • lots of business experience before they embarked on their legal careers
  • business fluency in at least one key language (ex: French, German, Russian, Mandarin, and increasingly, Arabic)
  • undergrad and advanced degrees in math and science
  • near-perfect grades at every level, including law school

Obviously, they are almost always at least 5 years older, if not 10-15 years older than Americans hired as summer associates. Usually, they were hired specifically for practice areas in which deep familiarity with international corporations and bodies is a must. Their summers were usually spent doing serious work and billing serious hours, rather than fraternizing and doing poor or inconsequential work the way most American summers do, because foreign JDs are usually hired to meet a specific need and are expected to hit the ground running. When a foreign JD fits this criteria and the firm has a need for what that JD offers, connections to the city are usually irrelevant.

For foreign JDs who are not basically perfect, it is not impossible to get hired, but it is very, very difficult without connections. The very few foreign JDs who I see getting hired without truly being head and shoulders above their American counterparts tend to be Canadians who speak unaccented English and they tend to have at least started their legal careers in NYC.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

analytic_philosopher
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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby analytic_philosopher » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
analytic_philosopher wrote:Could you please offer your opinion on biglaw career prospects for foreigners at American law schools (assume JD candidate at T14 school). Do you know any in your professional life? Do you think they faced any special challenges? Also, which market (aside from NYC) would be likely to hire foreign JDs? According to TLS wisdom, when applying for a law firm job in any city other than NYC, it is important to have strong 'ties' to that city (e.g. the city is your hometown, you went to school there, your family lives there, etc.).

Thanks very much in advance!
Assuming that by "foreigner," you mean non-citizen and non-green card-holder, then it's very difficult to land a big law gig, especially in this hypercompetitive job market. If you're just merely a good law student, then law firms can find everything you offer in immigrants who have citizenship or green cards. You'll really have to stand out to get hired. The foreign JDs that I have encountered at law firms (very few indeed) who were hired as summer associates have usually had these qualifications:

  • major domestic and international connections
  • lots of business experience before they embarked on their legal careers
  • business fluency in at least one key language (ex: French, German, Russian, Mandarin, and increasingly, Arabic)
  • undergrad and advanced degrees in math and science
  • near-perfect grades at every level, including law school

Obviously, they are almost always at least 5 years older, if not 10-15 years older than Americans hired as summer associates. Usually, they were hired specifically for practice areas in which deep familiarity with international corporations and bodies is a must. Their summers were usually spent doing serious work and billing serious hours, rather than fraternizing and doing poor or inconsequential work the way most American summers do, because foreign JDs are usually hired to meet a specific need and are expected to hit the ground running. When a foreign JD fits this criteria and the firm has a need for what that JD offers, connections to the city are usually irrelevant.

For foreign JDs who are not basically perfect, it is not impossible to get hired, but it is very, very difficult without connections. The very few foreign JDs who I see getting hired without truly being head and shoulders above their American counterparts tend to be Canadians who speak unaccented English and they tend to have at least started their legal careers in NYC.


Hi, I'm not sure if you're V10 anon, but in any case, thanks very much for your detailed response. I am a non-citizen non-green-card-holder but I did my undergrad at a US university and I'm considering going to law school in the US hoping to land a biglaw gig. My understanding was that while begin a foreigner would make me undesirable to small firms (because they cannot afford to sponsor visas), it would not matter to biglaw firms (because they routinely sponsor visas and can easily afford to do so). Thus, I thought I would be competing pretty much at par (or maybe at a slight disadvantage) with US students. However, you're saying that I will be at a very significant disadvantage (why?) in competing with US students. Anyway, I do really appreciate the honest feedback - so, thanks again.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:23 pm

V10 anon.
analytic_philosopher wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
analytic_philosopher wrote:Could you please offer your opinion on biglaw career prospects for foreigners at American law schools (assume JD candidate at T14 school). Do you know any in your professional life? Do you think they faced any special challenges? Also, which market (aside from NYC) would be likely to hire foreign JDs? According to TLS wisdom, when applying for a law firm job in any city other than NYC, it is important to have strong 'ties' to that city (e.g. the city is your hometown, you went to school there, your family lives there, etc.).

Thanks very much in advance!
Assuming that by "foreigner," you mean non-citizen and non-green card-holder, then it's very difficult to land a big law gig, especially in this hypercompetitive job market. If you're just merely a good law student, then law firms can find everything you offer in immigrants who have citizenship or green cards. You'll really have to stand out to get hired. The foreign JDs that I have encountered at law firms (very few indeed) who were hired as summer associates have usually had these qualifications:

  • major domestic and international connections
  • lots of business experience before they embarked on their legal careers
  • business fluency in at least one key language (ex: French, German, Russian, Mandarin, and increasingly, Arabic)
  • undergrad and advanced degrees in math and science
  • near-perfect grades at every level, including law school

Obviously, they are almost always at least 5 years older, if not 10-15 years older than Americans hired as summer associates. Usually, they were hired specifically for practice areas in which deep familiarity with international corporations and bodies is a must. Their summers were usually spent doing serious work and billing serious hours, rather than fraternizing and doing poor or inconsequential work the way most American summers do, because foreign JDs are usually hired to meet a specific need and are expected to hit the ground running. When a foreign JD fits this criteria and the firm has a need for what that JD offers, connections to the city are usually irrelevant.

For foreign JDs who are not basically perfect, it is not impossible to get hired, but it is very, very difficult without connections. The very few foreign JDs who I see getting hired without truly being head and shoulders above their American counterparts tend to be Canadians who speak unaccented English and they tend to have at least started their legal careers in NYC.


Hi, I'm not sure if you're V10 anon, but in any case, thanks very much for your detailed response. I am a non-citizen non-green-card-holder but I did my undergrad at a US university and I'm considering going to law school in the US hoping to land a biglaw gig. My understanding was that while begin a foreigner would make me undesirable to small firms (because they cannot afford to sponsor visas), it would not matter to biglaw firms (because they routinely sponsor visas and can easily afford to do so). Thus, I thought I would be competing pretty much at par (or maybe at a slight disadvantage) with US students. However, you're saying that I will be at a very significant disadvantage (why?) in competing with US students. Anyway, I do really appreciate the honest feedback - so, thanks again.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).


At what point in the application process is citizenship an issue? I have a green card, an accent... and no luck with OCI (my GPA/school combo should have led to more success). No one ever asked me about my citizenship status, and I did not mention it to anyone. I am also shocked that law firms do not ask about it on their website, though in all other industries that I have applied to, citizenship questions are on their web application. Do you think it is worth putting it on my resume, mentioning it in the interview or something along those lines?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:38 pm

Apologies for the "law student" nature of this question. Yes, I have no experience with other human beings, etc.

But what's the proper way to thank my upcoming SA firm for a holiday gift? E-mailing is probably too cold, right? Just send a card to the recruiter? There was also a callback dinner with some partners -- probably shouldn't trouble them, right?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby spets » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Apologies for the "law student" nature of this question. Yes, I have no experience with other human beings, etc.

But what's the proper way to thank my upcoming SA firm for a holiday gift? E-mailing is probably too cold, right? Just send a card to the recruiter? There was also a callback dinner with some partners -- probably shouldn't trouble them, right?


Pretty sure either (1) emails or (2) doing nothing would be fine in both cases. I'm a little worried that you had to even ask this question, but at least you realized it.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Uncle.Joe » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:01 pm

Please send them all gifts.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).


At what point in the application process is citizenship an issue? I have a green card, an accent... and no luck with OCI (my GPA/school combo should have led to more success). No one ever asked me about my citizenship status, and I did not mention it to anyone. I am also shocked that law firms do not ask about it on their website, though in all other industries that I have applied to, citizenship questions are on their web application. Do you think it is worth putting it on my resume, mentioning it in the interview or something along those lines?
What region of the world is your accent from? Certain accents might actually be of help. Western European accents are often considered charming or intellectual. African accents are beneficial too (as long as people can understand what you are saying) because stereotypes about African work ethic and behavior are more positive than those re: African Americans. If your accent is from Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, or ther Arab world, however, then it probably won't help you and you might trigger associations that aren't very positive.

If your accent is thick, I would definitely advise you to mention your resume that you have a green card. Put it in the "personal" section as an interesting bit of trivia ("born in [insert country] and acquired green card in [insert year]"). Reiterating during your interview that you have a green card can't hurt as long as you weave it into your general narrative. Something like "Being an American of [country] origin, I possess the language skills and ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds that I believe are increasingly important in this global world." The person interviewing you will likely then follow up with questions. You can really stand out if you sell yourself as bicultural, so don't just throw out something awkward like "I know my accent is thick but I have a green card."

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:Apologies for the "law student" nature of this question. Yes, I have no experience with other human beings, etc.

But what's the proper way to thank my upcoming SA firm for a holiday gift? E-mailing is probably too cold, right? Just send a card to the recruiter? There was also a callback dinner with some partners -- probably shouldn't trouble them, right?
Your question is a common one and even if it wasn't, there would be no need to apologize for a "law student" question. I was once a law student pretty unsure of how to navigate and I'm still learning. Assuming your firm sent you the same gift it sent your entire summer class (it is common for law firms to send students generic care packages for the holidays or exams), then you don't really need to thank anyone. Just receive the gift and enjoy. If you are particularly close to a partner or recruiter, you can send an e-mail noting how nice the gift is and reiterating how much you like the firm (no need to thank them personally bc they prob had nothing to do with the gift), but you don't have to and most of your peers won't. If the gift is a personalized one or one that only a small number of people in your summer class received, however, then e-mail a short acknowledgment (something like "[insert gift] was gorgeous/delicious/useful and a pleasant surprise. I am really looking forward to returning to the firm next year") to whichever HR person directed the summer program.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:43 pm

Maybe no way to know other than anecdotally. Are new SAs (beginning their SA in ’13) usually (or ever) invited to the firm’s formal Christmas party? Also, if not, should the SA reach out with a Happy Holiday email or card, or just stay under the radar.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:45 pm

My V15 New York firm invites all SAs to the annual holiday party, but it was the night before an exam and so I politely declined.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:59 pm

I'm a 3L and will apply for a federal clerkship for 2014-15. In the event I manage to land one (long odds, I know), I'll obviously need a job between graduation and the start of the clerkship. So I have two questions:

1. I know the usual rule is that once you start out at a non-biglaw firm, it's really difficult to lateral into biglaw. Is there an exception for those who do small-law/mid-law for 1 year and then do a federal clerkship?
2. If I did secure a clerkship offer for 2014-15, would any biglaw firms consider me for an entry-level position? I.e., knowing that I would be doing a fed clerkship in 2014, would a biglaw firm be interested in me being an associate for 2013-14, being a clerk from 2014-15, and going back to the firm thereafter? Or would they just tell me to apply after the clerkship?

If it makes a difference, I'm thinking non-NYC (but still primary market) biglaw. I struck out at biglaw during 2L OCI, but did get a midlaw 2L SA. I'm top 5% at a T3 within my market of interest.

Thanks for your time!

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My V15 New York firm invites all SAs to the annual holiday party, but it was the night before an exam and so I politely declined.


Same. But there's no need to reach out to them if there's been no conduct.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).


At what point in the application process is citizenship an issue? I have a green card, an accent... and no luck with OCI (my GPA/school combo should have led to more success). No one ever asked me about my citizenship status, and I did not mention it to anyone. I am also shocked that law firms do not ask about it on their website, though in all other industries that I have applied to, citizenship questions are on their web application. Do you think it is worth putting it on my resume, mentioning it in the interview or something along those lines?
What region of the world is your accent from? Certain accents might actually be of help. Western European accents are often considered charming or intellectual. African accents are beneficial too (as long as people can understand what you are saying) because stereotypes about African work ethic and behavior are more positive than those re: African Americans. If your accent is from Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, or ther Arab world, however, then it probably won't help you and you might trigger associations that aren't very positive.

If your accent is thick, I would definitely advise you to mention your resume that you have a green card. Put it in the "personal" section as an interesting bit of trivia ("born in [insert country] and acquired green card in [insert year]"). Reiterating during your interview that you have a green card can't hurt as long as you weave it into your general narrative. Something like "Being an American of [country] origin, I possess the language skills and ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds that I believe are increasingly important in this global world." The person interviewing you will likely then follow up with questions. You can really stand out if you sell yourself as bicultural, so don't just throw out something awkward like "I know my accent is thick but I have a green card."


OK I need to clarify this post. A little about me first: non-citizen and no green card, 2L at a T14 (also went to undergrad in the US), grades were a hair below median. I got a SA position at a v10 firm for next summer and I was asked about my citizenship status once during all of OCI (screeners, callbacks, etc.). I interviewed with around 30 firms. Big firms generally don't give a shit. Most of us quit before green card/citizenship issues come up anyway since work visas last 6 years. Maybe coming from a T14 also helped in law firms deciding not to ask but I seriously doubt this.

Putting that you have a green card on your resume sounds pretty ridiculous. I suppose it varies depending on the special circumstances of each student but I have never heard this before from my non-citizen/no green card law school and lawyer friends. Honestly, don't stress. Study hard and work on your grades. Practice interviewing. Good luck!

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:27 pm

V10 anon.
Anonymous User wrote:Maybe no way to know other than anecdotally. Are new SAs (beginning their SA in ’13) usually (or ever) invited to the firm’s formal Christmas party? Also, if not, should the SA reach out with a Happy Holiday email or card, or just stay under the radar.
I've heard of SAs being invited, but it's a formality and no one who is a decision-maker expects or notices if you attend. No need to send a greeting card/e-mail either. Save the gestures for the summer.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:32 pm

V10 anon.
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).


At what point in the application process is citizenship an issue? I have a green card, an accent... and no luck with OCI (my GPA/school combo should have led to more success). No one ever asked me about my citizenship status, and I did not mention it to anyone. I am also shocked that law firms do not ask about it on their website, though in all other industries that I have applied to, citizenship questions are on their web application. Do you think it is worth putting it on my resume, mentioning it in the interview or something along those lines?
What region of the world is your accent from? Certain accents might actually be of help. Western European accents are often considered charming or intellectual. African accents are beneficial too (as long as people can understand what you are saying) because stereotypes about African work ethic and behavior are more positive than those re: African Americans. If your accent is from Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, or ther Arab world, however, then it probably won't help you and you might trigger associations that aren't very positive.

If your accent is thick, I would definitely advise you to mention your resume that you have a green card. Put it in the "personal" section as an interesting bit of trivia ("born in [insert country] and acquired green card in [insert year]"). Reiterating during your interview that you have a green card can't hurt as long as you weave it into your general narrative. Something like "Being an American of [country] origin, I possess the language skills and ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds that I believe are increasingly important in this global world." The person interviewing you will likely then follow up with questions. You can really stand out if you sell yourself as bicultural, so don't just throw out something awkward like "I know my accent is thick but I have a green card."


OK I need to clarify this post. A little about me first: non-citizen and no green card, 2L at a T14 (also went to undergrad in the US), grades were a hair below median. I got a SA position at a v10 firm for next summer and I was asked about my citizenship status once during all of OCI (screeners, callbacks, etc.). I interviewed with around 30 firms. Big firms generally don't give a shit. Most of us quit before green card/citizenship issues come up anyway since work visas last 6 years. Maybe coming from a T14 also helped in law firms deciding not to ask but I seriously doubt this.

Putting that you have a green card on your resume sounds pretty ridiculous. I suppose it varies depending on the special circumstances of each student but I have never heard this before from my non-citizen/no green card law school and lawyer friends. Honestly, don't stress. Study hard and work on your grades. Practice interviewing. Good luck!
I hope you don't think I'm going to debate this or any other issue with a 2L. Follow my advice or don't.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:49 pm

V10 anon.
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 3L and will apply for a federal clerkship for 2014-15. In the event I manage to land one (long odds, I know), I'll obviously need a job between graduation and the start of the clerkship. So I have two questions:

1. I know the usual rule is that once you start out at a non-biglaw firm, it's really difficult to lateral into biglaw. Is there an exception for those who do small-law/mid-law for 1 year and then do a federal clerkship?
2. If I did secure a clerkship offer for 2014-15, would any biglaw firms consider me for an entry-level position? I.e., knowing that I would be doing a fed clerkship in 2014, would a biglaw firm be interested in me being an associate for 2013-14, being a clerk from 2014-15, and going back to the firm thereafter? Or would they just tell me to apply after the clerkship?

If it makes a difference, I'm thinking non-NYC (but still primary market) biglaw. I struck out at biglaw during 2L OCI, but did get a midlaw 2L SA. I'm top 5% at a T3 within my market of interest.

Thanks for your time!
I can't tell you what big law's practices are re: hiring 3Ls pre-clerkship. Firms differ on this and not all clerkships are created equal. Your career services office would have better info on this.

Re: hiring post-clerkship, since you struck out on your first shot big law and presumably aren't at a top school (or you would say you were), I'm not optimistic about your chances of landing big law in a primary market post-clerkship. You're going to be competing against other clerks for the few spots open to clerks who want to lateral and I'm sure I don't have to tell you that clerks provide stiffer competition than the general pool of law students you were competing against at OCI.

The advice I would give you is to aim to have your judge open the door for you (assuming you can't get into big law pre-clerkship). Work very hard for your judge and let him/her know early on what your aspirations post-clerkship are so s/he can start thinking of which friends, contacts, and former clerks can be of help to you. Especially if you are clerking for a judge in a primary market, your judge can skip you straight to the front of the line merely by calling in favors and shilling for you. Even if you are clerking for a judge in the middle of nowhere, never underestimate how well connected federal judges are.

M458
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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby M458 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
analytic_philosopher wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
analytic_philosopher wrote:Could you please offer your opinion on biglaw career prospects for foreigners at American law schools (assume JD candidate at T14 school). Do you know any in your professional life? Do you think they faced any special challenges? Also, which market (aside from NYC) would be likely to hire foreign JDs? According to TLS wisdom, when applying for a law firm job in any city other than NYC, it is important to have strong 'ties' to that city (e.g. the city is your hometown, you went to school there, your family lives there, etc.).

Thanks very much in advance!
Assuming that by "foreigner," you mean non-citizen and non-green card-holder, then it's very difficult to land a big law gig, especially in this hypercompetitive job market. If you're just merely a good law student, then law firms can find everything you offer in immigrants who have citizenship or green cards. You'll really have to stand out to get hired. The foreign JDs that I have encountered at law firms (very few indeed) who were hired as summer associates have usually had these qualifications:

  • major domestic and international connections
  • lots of business experience before they embarked on their legal careers
  • business fluency in at least one key language (ex: French, German, Russian, Mandarin, and increasingly, Arabic)
  • undergrad and advanced degrees in math and science
  • near-perfect grades at every level, including law school

Obviously, they are almost always at least 5 years older, if not 10-15 years older than Americans hired as summer associates. Usually, they were hired specifically for practice areas in which deep familiarity with international corporations and bodies is a must. Their summers were usually spent doing serious work and billing serious hours, rather than fraternizing and doing poor or inconsequential work the way most American summers do, because foreign JDs are usually hired to meet a specific need and are expected to hit the ground running. When a foreign JD fits this criteria and the firm has a need for what that JD offers, connections to the city are usually irrelevant.

For foreign JDs who are not basically perfect, it is not impossible to get hired, but it is very, very difficult without connections. The very few foreign JDs who I see getting hired without truly being head and shoulders above their American counterparts tend to be Canadians who speak unaccented English and they tend to have at least started their legal careers in NYC.


Hi, I'm not sure if you're V10 anon, but in any case, thanks very much for your detailed response. I am a non-citizen non-green-card-holder but I did my undergrad at a US university and I'm considering going to law school in the US hoping to land a biglaw gig. My understanding was that while begin a foreigner would make me undesirable to small firms (because they cannot afford to sponsor visas), it would not matter to biglaw firms (because they routinely sponsor visas and can easily afford to do so). Thus, I thought I would be competing pretty much at par (or maybe at a slight disadvantage) with US students. However, you're saying that I will be at a very significant disadvantage (why?) in competing with US students. Anyway, I do really appreciate the honest feedback - so, thanks again.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).


Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions. I'm also an 0L in the same situation--Mexican without a green card/citizenship but who went to undergrad here and will likely be attending a T-14.

Might the reason the majority of foreign employees are Canadian be due to the ease of getting a TN Visa? Since Mexicans and Canadians qualify for this Visa and it's a lot easier to acquire (it's a very minimal expense and a very quick process--just need a letter from employer) than the typical H1-B, I think that could possibly explain it. At least, I'm hoping that'll give me an advantage over other foreign students looking for BigLaw jobs.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon.
Yes, that was me. Regarding whether big law firms routinely sponsor visas, you have to ask for whom. Big law firms routinely sponsor visas for foreign attorneys through a host of programs lasting months to one or two years. These attorneys are often from these firm's foreign offices or they are participating in special international programs sponsored by these firms (or they have a connection that the firm wants to please). For foreign attorneys who are coming in as summer associates and seeking permanent offers, however, the picture is very different. There are far fewer spots for them and from what I have seen, the vast majority of these few spots are taken up by English-speaking Canadians (perhaps because Canadians have an easier time with the immigration process or because Americans are more familiar with Canadians or maybe something else is afoot). I assume you are not Canadian, since if you were, you would have probably been encouraged by the part of my prior post mentioning Canadians.

As I said in my last post, the reason why you would be at a major disadvantage is very simple: unless you are a standout, firms can easily find green card-holding immigrants, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens who have the credentials they seek, especially in this economy in which big law firms have far more amazing, brilliant applicants than they did before to fill far smaller classes. So, why go through the trouble and expense for a complete foreigner, unless the candidate is special? Big law firms certainly have the money, but there's no reason to spend it unless they're getting someone amazing. None of this means that you shouldn't try your hand at a legal career in the US. It does mean that you have to evaluate your connections, credentials, experience, non-English language skills and basically everything you offer and then honestly ask yourself if you're the sort of standout candidate I've described. Then ask yourself if you can stand out in the same way at a top law school (keep in mind that everyone plans to be at the top of their class, but few actually are).


What region of the world is your accent from? Certain accents might actually be of help. Western European accents are often considered charming or intellectual. African accents are beneficial too (as long as people can understand what you are saying) because stereotypes about African work ethic and behavior are more positive than those re: African Americans. If your accent is from Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, or ther Arab world, however, then it probably won't help you and you might trigger associations that aren't very positive.

If your accent is thick, I would definitely advise you to mention your resume that you have a green card. Put it in the "personal" section as an interesting bit of trivia ("born in [insert country] and acquired green card in [insert year]"). Reiterating during your interview that you have a green card can't hurt as long as you weave it into your general narrative. Something like "Being an American of [country] origin, I possess the language skills and ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds that I believe are increasingly important in this global world." The person interviewing you will likely then follow up with questions. You can really stand out if you sell yourself as bicultural, so don't just throw out something awkward like "I know my accent is thick but I have a green card."


OK I need to clarify this post. A little about me first: non-citizen and no green card, 2L at a T14 (also went to undergrad in the US), grades were a hair below median. I got a SA position at a v10 firm for next summer and I was asked about my citizenship status once during all of OCI (screeners, callbacks, etc.). I interviewed with around 30 firms. Big firms generally don't give a shit. Most of us quit before green card/citizenship issues come up anyway since work visas last 6 years. Maybe coming from a T14 also helped in law firms deciding not to ask but I seriously doubt this.

Putting that you have a green card on your resume sounds pretty ridiculous. I suppose it varies depending on the special circumstances of each student but I have never heard this before from my non-citizen/no green card law school and lawyer friends. Honestly, don't stress. Study hard and work on your grades. Practice interviewing. Good luck!
I hope you don't think I'm going to debate this or any other issue with a 2L. Follow my advice or don't.[/quote]

Despite some anomalous results to the contrary, my personal experience would indicate that the V10 mid-level associate's experience is reflective of hiring. I am about top 1/3rd at a T14 (non-citizen/non-resident) (but not a standout candidate by any means), from one of the regions with "negative associations" (how racist, by the way), and I had ridiculously bad luck with OCI (6 callbacks and 0 offers) -- my citizenship status came up at pretty much every interview. However, I did MUCH better through mass-mailing presumably because at that point, the firms had already run through their alleged pick of citizen/resident etc candidates and needed more warm bodies to fill the spots. I felt so burned by this process. Wound up accepting a non-US offer over V20/V30 offers and very happy about it.
At the same time, this won't be your story if you are, in fact, a standout candidate -- law review, tippity top grades, stellar work experience/interesting life experiences.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I hope you don't think I'm going to debate this or any other issue with a 2L. Follow my advice or don't.[/quote]

Despite some anomalous results to the contrary, my personal experience would indicate that the V10 mid-level associate's experience is reflective of hiring. I am about top 1/3rd at a T14 (non-citizen/non-resident) (but not a standout candidate by any means), from one of the regions with "negative associations" (how racist, by the way), and I had ridiculously bad luck with OCI (6 callbacks and 0 offers) -- my citizenship status came up at pretty much every interview. However, I did MUCH better through mass-mailing presumably because at that point, the firms had already run through their alleged pick of citizen/resident etc candidates and needed more warm bodies to fill the spots. I felt so burned by this process. Wound up accepting a non-US offer over V20/V30 offers and very happy about it.
At the same time, this won't be your story if you are, in fact, a standout candidate -- law review, tippity top grades, stellar work experience/interesting life experiences.[/quote]

Similar experience for me. 1/3, t14... absolutely disastrous OCI... Either that, or I might be the worse interviewer ever.. I have heavy accent from a place not associated with summer vacations, and I can also work here, though I never addressed that on interviews, nor was I asked about it.
At least I can go back to my country and forget about this whole law thing.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby sophie316 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon here.
analytic_philosopher wrote:Could you please offer your opinion on biglaw career prospects for foreigners at American law schools (assume JD candidate at T14 school). Do you know any in your professional life? Do you think they faced any special challenges? Also, which market (aside from NYC) would be likely to hire foreign JDs? According to TLS wisdom, when applying for a law firm job in any city other than NYC, it is important to have strong 'ties' to that city (e.g. the city is your hometown, you went to school there, your family lives there, etc.).

Thanks very much in advance!
Assuming that by "foreigner," you mean non-citizen and non-green card-holder, then it's very difficult to land a big law gig, especially in this hypercompetitive job market. If you're just merely a good law student, then law firms can find everything you offer in immigrants who have citizenship or green cards. You'll really have to stand out to get hired. The foreign JDs that I have encountered at law firms (very few indeed) who were hired as summer associates have usually had these qualifications:

  • major domestic and international connections
  • lots of business experience before they embarked on their legal careers
  • business fluency in at least one key language (ex: French, German, Russian, Mandarin, and increasingly, Arabic)
  • undergrad and advanced degrees in math and science
  • near-perfect grades at every level, including law school

Obviously, they are almost always at least 5 years older, if not 10-15 years older than Americans hired as summer associates. Usually, they were hired specifically for practice areas in which deep familiarity with international corporations and bodies is a must. Their summers were usually spent doing serious work and billing serious hours, rather than fraternizing and doing poor or inconsequential work the way most American summers do, because foreign JDs are usually hired to meet a specific need and are expected to hit the ground running. When a foreign JD fits this criteria and the firm has a need for what that JD offers, connections to the city are usually irrelevant.

For foreign JDs who are not basically perfect, it is not impossible to get hired, but it is very, very difficult without connections. The very few foreign JDs who I see getting hired without truly being head and shoulders above their American counterparts tend to be Canadians who speak unaccented English and they tend to have at least started their legal careers in NYC.


Maybe my case is not typical, but I am a non citizen/non green card holder and I was a summer/am now a first year at a V10 and the only thing in that list I had was near perfect grades at law school. My summer associate experience was identical to everyone else's, I have no connections, and had no substantive prior work experience. No-one batted an eyelid about my citizenship issue throughout my hiring process, although my background came up enough in interviews that everyone was aware that I was foreign. They sponsored my H1B without question. The three other non citizen JDs at my firm in my class that I know of were similar. Their credentials were the same as everyone else in our class, and citizenship was never an issue.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:32 am

sophie316 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon here.
analytic_philosopher wrote:Could you please offer your opinion on biglaw career prospects for foreigners at American law schools (assume JD candidate at T14 school). Do you know any in your professional life? Do you think they faced any special challenges? Also, which market (aside from NYC) would be likely to hire foreign JDs? According to TLS wisdom, when applying for a law firm job in any city other than NYC, it is important to have strong 'ties' to that city (e.g. the city is your hometown, you went to school there, your family lives there, etc.).

Thanks very much in advance!
Assuming that by "foreigner," you mean non-citizen and non-green card-holder, then it's very difficult to land a big law gig, especially in this hypercompetitive job market. If you're just merely a good law student, then law firms can find everything you offer in immigrants who have citizenship or green cards. You'll really have to stand out to get hired. The foreign JDs that I have encountered at law firms (very few indeed) who were hired as summer associates have usually had these qualifications:

  • major domestic and international connections
  • lots of business experience before they embarked on their legal careers
  • business fluency in at least one key language (ex: French, German, Russian, Mandarin, and increasingly, Arabic)
  • undergrad and advanced degrees in math and science
  • near-perfect grades at every level, including law school

Obviously, they are almost always at least 5 years older, if not 10-15 years older than Americans hired as summer associates. Usually, they were hired specifically for practice areas in which deep familiarity with international corporations and bodies is a must. Their summers were usually spent doing serious work and billing serious hours, rather than fraternizing and doing poor or inconsequential work the way most American summers do, because foreign JDs are usually hired to meet a specific need and are expected to hit the ground running. When a foreign JD fits this criteria and the firm has a need for what that JD offers, connections to the city are usually irrelevant.

For foreign JDs who are not basically perfect, it is not impossible to get hired, but it is very, very difficult without connections. The very few foreign JDs who I see getting hired without truly being head and shoulders above their American counterparts tend to be Canadians who speak unaccented English and they tend to have at least started their legal careers in NYC.


Maybe my case is not typical, but I am a non citizen/non green card holder and I was a summer/am now a first year at a V10 and the only thing in that list I had was near perfect grades at law school. My summer associate experience was identical to everyone else's, I have no connections, and had no substantive prior work experience. No-one batted an eyelid about my citizenship issue throughout my hiring process, although my background came up enough in interviews that everyone was aware that I was foreign. They sponsored my H1B without question. The three other non citizen JDs at my firm in my class that I know of were similar. Their credentials were the same as everyone else in our class, and citizenship was never an issue.
So, you fit the type that V10 anon describes. How is V10 anon wrong again? I didn't read his/her post as meaning that you had to have all the credentials he or she mentioned. Just that the more of those you have, the better. Also, what country are you from. V10 anon clearly said that certain countries have an easier time. Unless we have an Egyptian Muslim with a thick accent and none of the credentials v10 laid out getting big law, v10 anon's posts on the whole foreigner issue make a lot of sense to me.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I hope you don't think I'm going to debate this or any other issue with a 2L. Follow my advice or don't.


Despite some anomalous results to the contrary, my personal experience would indicate that the V10 mid-level associate's experience is reflective of hiring. I am about top 1/3rd at a T14 (non-citizen/non-resident) (but not a standout candidate by any means), from one of the regions with "negative associations" (how racist, by the way), and I had ridiculously bad luck with OCI (6 callbacks and 0 offers) -- my citizenship status came up at pretty much every interview. However, I did MUCH better through mass-mailing presumably because at that point, the firms had already run through their alleged pick of citizen/resident etc candidates and needed more warm bodies to fill the spots. I felt so burned by this process. Wound up accepting a non-US offer over V20/V30 offers and very happy about it.
At the same time, this won't be your story if you are, in fact, a standout candidate -- law review, tippity top grades, stellar work experience/interesting life experiences.[/quote]

Similar experience for me. 1/3, t14... absolutely disastrous OCI... Either that, or I might be the worse interviewer ever.. I have heavy accent from a place not associated with summer vacations, and I can also work here, though I never addressed that on interviews, nor was I asked about it.
At least I can go back to my country and forget about this whole law thing.[/quote]

Sorry to hear that. I am the anon poster you quoted and I would have been happy to help with interviewing tips but it's probably too late now. Regardless, for future reference, what wound up working for me were a few things: (1) identifying hiring partners you have things in common with (undergrad, law school etc) and focusing on them -- mail them directly; (2) identify firms' practices where you background is an asset and play it up (provided those practices are significant enough); (3) address your status head on instead of brushing it under the rug (one hiring partner straight up asked me how they happened to be interviewing me in mid October since I looked like a good candidate and I took that as an opening -- got offer); (4) if OCI doesn't work, mass-mail (if you look good enough on paper to get interviews, this works in your favor as you have now overcome the hurdle of offers being made to equally qualified American candidates -- who turned those offers down).
It is definitely worth it to also target non-US based US practices -- here, you are not encumbered with the burden of needing a visa, because almost everyone they are employing will need a visa anyway.
Of course, not saying every international student will find themselves in this precarious position, but in case you do, these are the things that worked for me as a foreign K-JD from what v-10 associate claims is an undesirable region.
Also, this goes against conventional wisdom, but I would advise looking beyond just New York in the US -- almost everyone interested in "international" practices would target NYC so I think that market gets saturated.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Lincoln » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:43 am

I think the non-citizen, non-green card questions are very valid concerns, but they are better moved to a separate thread at this point. They are derailing and clogging this thread a bit (and are difficult to read because at least one person don't know how to use the the quote function), V10 anon has stated his/her opinion, and other people who are or were in this situation are likely to have more detailed answers to this questions anyway.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:29 am

First, thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it.

i'm going to be starting out as an m&a associate in tokyo working on all the japanese m&a stuff going on these days(think skadden, MoFo, etc.) ideally, id like to spend 4-5 years learning the trade, and then come back stateside. as this is somewhat off the beaten path track, any idea what my options would be? off the top of my head i was thinking in house counsel for japanese corporations usa operations (mostly located in nyc im assuming) but i really have no idea. any insight would be appreciated!




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