Best shot at jobs in Europe?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273202
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Best shot at jobs in Europe?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:43 am

I'm a 1L at a (lower) T-14. I'm from Europe, and I've recently decided that my original plan won't work: I don't want to be in NYC after law school; I want to go home (meaning EU, I guess). I know that will be hard to do, and I'm open to working in the US for a couple of years. But what's my best shot if I really, really want a job in Europe? A magic circle firm? A multinational corporation? A US firm with offices overseas? An LLM from a European school? My grades are good (let's, just for the sake of the argument, assume top 20-25% after 1L), and I'm leaning transactional (but know nothing about capital markets etc.).

User avatar
JohannDeMann
Posts: 13831
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: Best shot at jobs in Europe?

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:50 am

if you speak the native language you should be fine. most foreign lawyers have LLMs so youll need a bit more education, but you'll be fine.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273202
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best shot at jobs in Europe?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 1L at a (lower) T-14. I'm from Europe, and I've recently decided that my original plan won't work: I don't want to be in NYC after law school; I want to go home (meaning EU, I guess). I know that will be hard to do, and I'm open to working in the US for a couple of years. But what's my best shot if I really, really want a job in Europe? A magic circle firm? A multinational corporation? A US firm with offices overseas? An LLM from a European school? My grades are good (let's, just for the sake of the argument, assume top 20-25% after 1L), and I'm leaning transactional (but know nothing about capital markets etc.).


JohannDeMann;s post is pretty misinformed. You gotta look at the requirements to get licensed for the country in which you want to practice. For example, to become a solicitor in the UK, it only takes an ungrad degree plus a traineeship thing. The way into magic circle firms is to get a top university undergrad degree, and during your last year of college, you would apply for a training contract at those firms (I think that this is the process, but I'm not 100% sure with time frames of when you apply to what). You would work at the firm as a trainee for 2 years for about 40,000 pounds a year. Then the firm hires you (if they like you) as a solicitor and you get bumped to around 60,000 pounds. (Obviously these salaries are a lot lower than they are in US biglaw, which probably reflects the fact that you only need an undergrad degree and the very low levels of debt you have incur to become a lawyer (universities are heavily subsidized in the UK)). As a US law school grad, you're basically never going to get into one of these firms as a UK solicitor since you wouldn't fit into that mold (it's like if you were a foreign law degree holder and wanted to come to the US and work in biglaw without ever having gone to school here, without being licensed here, and without having gone through the 2L SA hiring program). The process to become a barrister in the UK is pretty difficult, and requires a pupillage that you will quite literally never get unless you redo your entire education and get very lucky. (Although, there was some rule that allowed you to take the qualified foreign lawyers test to become a solicitor for around $12,000, and then once you were a solicitor, you could technically become a barrister---but I highly doubt many people have successfully done that, and even if you do, you probably wouldn't ever get work.)

The alternative is to work in Europe as a US attorney practicing US law, but out of a European office. This also varies largely country by country. But if you want to be in the UK, you could work at a magic circle firm doing transactional securities work. You would be licensed in NY, and would be doing pretty much the same work you would be working for a NY biglaw firm. One nice thing about going this route is that you get paid the same as a NY biglaw associate (so $160k /year salary for your 1st year); although, that salary doesn't go nearly as far in a place as expensive as London (pounds there seem to have the same value as dollars here, despite the fact that each pound costs about $1.50-1.65 (depends on transaction rates at the given time)). Beats only making 60,000 pounds a year, though.

I'd highly recommend reaching out to attorneys in the country in which you want to practice to get more information. If it's something that's more common (e.g. London offices firms came to my law school's OCI each year, and people from class go to London each year), you might be able to find alumni from your law school who you can talk to for more information about the details of what you can do there and how you can do it. I don't think anyone on TLS can provide you with information about how to broadly work in the "EU," since the process is going to vary vastly based on the specific country that you want to work in.

User avatar
AOT
Posts: 1317
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:34 pm

Re: Best shot at jobs in Europe?

Postby AOT » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:47 pm

Did some research on this as well a while ago and found this useful: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2 ... n_ame.html. Similar to what's been said, although the outlook for solicitors doesn't seem to be as bad as it's made out to be here.

"In response to the question about US trained lawyers working in the UK, there are a couple of ways to do this. I'll try to outline the main paths here. First, both US and UK law firms hire US trained lawyers to work in their London offices. Most of this work tends to be securities and project finance. These lawyers are effectively practicing US law (generally NY law) but doing so based in London. There are no special requirements for doing this other than getting hired for a London office and then passing a US bar exam (normally NY). These positions can be quite lucrative as lawyers make an NY salary plus ex-pat benefits.

"A second option is to actually qualify as an attorney in England. As you may know, in England there are two separate routes to legal practice. Solicitors work directly with clients and do a range of corporate transactions and preparation for litigation. Barristers (the ones who wear the wigs) are then hired by solicitors to provide legal opinions or argue cases in court. Though barristers tend to work as part of a chambers, they are independent rather than salaried or part of a partnership. This is not quite the same as the corporate/litigation distinction in a US law firm as they are fundamentally different career tracks, but that can be a useful reference distinction.

"Assuming you have a US law degree, to qualify as a solicitor in the UK you must pass a US state bar exam and gain two years of common law practice experience. Then you can complete the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (far easier than a US bar exam). Many US trained lawyers working in London go ahead and qualify even if they do not plan to practice English law. For more information on this route visit this site. It is worth noting that most English lawyers undertake legal study as an undergraduate degree and therefore begin work at a younger age. They are therefore required to complete a 2 year traineeship at their solicitors firm before becoming fully qualified. Most firms will waive this if you qualify from abroad after 2 years of experience. As debt burdens are lower in England, solicitors firms tend to pay significantly lower salaries for English lawyers than a US firm would for a US qualified lawyer.

"Becoming a barrister is far harder. The typical route for a British lawyer would be to complete their normal legal training followed by a year of Bar School (often at the Inns of Court School of Law) in which one learns the practical elements of court appearances, etc. Then you must get offered a pupilage at a barrister's chambers which are highly competitive. Some proportion of those offered a pupilage will, after a year, be given a tenancy. Once you have a tenancy at a barrister's chambers, you are formally called to bar, have an independent legal practice with rights of audience in court.

"For a foreigner to become a barrister, you have to pass a bar exam in your home jurisdiction and have 'regularly exercised rights of audience in the superior courts of a common law jurisdiction for at least 3 years,' have UK work status, and have reasonable grounds to expect that a barristers chambers will offer you a pupilage. These are fairly difficult standards for a recent US law graduate to have. Often the easiest route to being a barrister is actually to get a job at a law firm in the UK, qualify as a solicitor, get work status, and then complete bar school and then get offered a pupilage with a chambers. There is one shortcut. If you have an academic appointment as a teacher of law in England, you can automatically get called to bar and skip all the above. Useful information can be found at this site."


Also: I've spoken to a solicitor who did UG in Africa, and his JD here then went to practice in the UK at a British firm. I didn't ask much about it but I would imagine that it's still an option

Anonymous User
Posts: 273202
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best shot at jobs in Europe?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:51 pm

alloverthat wrote:Did some research on this as well a while ago and found this useful: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2 ... n_ame.html. Similar to what's been said, although the outlook for solicitors doesn't seem to be as bad as it's made out to be here.

Also: I've spoken to a solicitor who did UG in Africa, and his JD here then went to practice in the UK at a British firm. I didn't ask much about it but I would imagine that it's still an option


It's not bad if you want to be a US attorney who transactional securities work for a big firm in the UK (that's a pretty direct route). It's not easy to get into a magic circle firm as a solicitor, though. The entry level hiring is pretty rigid, just like the 2L SA --> biglaw associate track here. Becoming a solicitor in the UK is quite literally like if you were a foreign law degree holder and wanted to come to the US and work in biglaw without ever having gone to school here, without being licensed here, and without having gone through the 2L SA hiring program. If you don't believe me, talk to a recruiter in the UK (I did). It's possible, but not very easy to do. Becoming a barrister is really difficult coming out of US law school. And, again, OP this is only an example that covers the path to work in the UK. It's going to vary greatly based on which specific country you want to work in.

alloverthat wrote:Also: I've spoken to a solicitor who did UG in Africa, and his JD here then went to practice in the UK at a British firm. I didn't ask much about it but I would imagine that it's still an option


This doesn't make any sense. Why would he get a US JD only to go backwards to work as a solicitor at a British magic circle firm (assuming you meant magic circle firm)? It would have made so much more sense to simply do UG in the UK, and get hired there in the first place (especially given the salary cut). Are you sure that he wasn't simply a NY attorney practicing NY securities law in the UK? Or, if he was in litigation, maybe he was in the UK for a specific project from his US based law firm (this is not atypical)? Or, if he really was a UK solicitor, was he an attorney who practiced in US biglaw for a number of years before taking the foreign attorney's solicitor's transfer exam, and then went to work as a solicitor in the UK (maybe for a very specific practice group that he had a lot of experience in)? I find it hard to believe many people would be able to become solicitors at UK magic circle firms as a freshly minted US JD. It's pretty much contrary to everything I've read, and what recruiters in England told me.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9635
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Best shot at jobs in Europe?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:19 pm

If its just about living in Europe and you don't need to practicing European law, then apply for Freshfields, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Kirkland (London), Cleary (Paris/Brussels), Simpson (London), White & Case, ect. at your school's OCI. These firms and others like them hire US trained attorneys to work full time in a foreign office. However, in the long-term this becomes a little murkier once the allure of junior associate life abroad wears off. You are essentially restricted to one practice group as a junior, and to make partner you almost always have to rotate back to the US for at least a few years. I don't know as much about exit options in-house at European companies or offices but I imagine they want licensed attorneys in those countries.

Does your school have a dual degree LLM program at European universities? For example, we can go to Cambridge, Humboldt, Paris I, LSE, ect. for a dual LLM (or LLB) to be completed in 3 or 4 years. The application deadlines are probably coming up soon though, and you'd want to investigate how firms recruit from the European LLM program.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.