Value of international legal experience?

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Value of international legal experience?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:40 am

Hello. I'm at a huge personal crossroads and could def use some perspective. Basically, international student from Korea, Class of 2017 graduate from T-6, a little below median, struck out BigLaw during my time there, but summered at large, pretty well-known mid-size firm.

Essentially, my whole legal career thus far has been plagued due to my immigration status. I have had 3 offers that were extended then rescinded (my summer firm, my post-grad position, and a Big Law position I applied for after getting rejected from my post-grad position) due to my immigration status. Now that my immigration clock is close to running up, I have a huge decision to make in terms of next step.

My boyfriend recently proposed to me (we've been together for a while, had talked about marriage, but I think that it's only just now dawned on him that I might have to leave the country), and thus, I *technically* can get status. That being said, we are both dirt poor (even after borrowing money from our folks, we could probably last 4-5 months) and I'm not sure that it's the smartest idea to start a marriage when dirt poor. Here are the two options I am going back and forth on:

1. Get married with the BF, stay here with the uncertainty of unemployment, and try to find *some* position. This could go the whole gamut of possibilities - could land Big Law, could end up unemployed for extended period of time. Realistically, probably can only start looking for positions in August/September due to immigration status.

2. Go back to Korea, make money (I have an offer with one of the largest corporate law firms there and will make 6 figures), then come back to reunite with the BF later (the immigration process will take up a year anyway).

Being the neurotic, risk-averse lawyer that I am, I am leaning more towards to Option 2. But I guess my question is, if I do go back to Korea, how valuable will my experience be considered once I come back to the States? I will most likely be doing transactional work in Korean law. I don't have HUGE ambitions of Big Law (would be nice, but ultimately, goal is really to just live comfortably financially), but I'm worried that by the time I can come back, my experience would not be relevant/marketable at all (for any legal position). Should I just try to stick it out and stay here, or is it not too damaging to go back for now to make some money?

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glitched

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby glitched » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hello. I'm at a huge personal crossroads and could def use some perspective. Basically, international student from Korea, Class of 2017 graduate from T-6, a little below median, struck out BigLaw during my time there, but summered at large, pretty well-known mid-size firm.

Essentially, my whole legal career thus far has been plagued due to my immigration status. I have had 3 offers that were extended then rescinded (my summer firm, my post-grad position, and a Big Law position I applied for after getting rejected from my post-grad position) due to my immigration status. Now that my immigration clock is close to running up, I have a huge decision to make in terms of next step.

My boyfriend recently proposed to me (we've been together for a while, had talked about marriage, but I think that it's only just now dawned on him that I might have to leave the country), and thus, I *technically* can get status. That being said, we are both dirt poor (even after borrowing money from our folks, we could probably last 4-5 months) and I'm not sure that it's the smartest idea to start a marriage when dirt poor. Here are the two options I am going back and forth on:

1. Get married with the BF, stay here with the uncertainty of unemployment, and try to find *some* position. This could go the whole gamut of possibilities - could land Big Law, could end up unemployed for extended period of time. Realistically, probably can only start looking for positions in August/September due to immigration status.

2. Go back to Korea, make money (I have an offer with one of the largest corporate law firms there and will make 6 figures), then come back to reunite with the BF later (the immigration process will take up a year anyway).

Being the neurotic, risk-averse lawyer that I am, I am leaning more towards to Option 2. But I guess my question is, if I do go back to Korea, how valuable will my experience be considered once I come back to the States? I will most likely be doing transactional work in Korean law. I don't have HUGE ambitions of Big Law (would be nice, but ultimately, goal is really to just live comfortably financially), but I'm worried that by the time I can come back, my experience would not be relevant/marketable at all (for any legal position). Should I just try to stick it out and stay here, or is it not too damaging to go back for now to make some money?


This sounds so tough, and very personal. I think the best thing to do is to contact a recruiter. They know much more about the legal market, and marketability than any of us. Sure, we'll have some anecdotes, but for real statistics and situations, they would know best.

My instinct is to go with option 1 if you're ever planning on coming back to the States, assuming you love your BF (or fiance?) and not doing it just for the immigration status. Option 2 to me seems like you're just kicking the can and will have to deal with it again later. Or go with option 3, convince your BF to move to Korea with you and live happily ever after!

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:24 pm

I would consider Hong Kong opportunities that require practicing U.S. law and pay a nice COLA. I assume you are fluent in Korean. The market in Hong Kong is on fire right now and there are many, many Korean language skills required positions. CLS/NYU slightly below median is totally in range for those firms. All of the big name brands need people right now, and you should be able to transfer back to the U.S. if you do a good job there after a year.

If that isn't a possibility, I would try to get married as soon as possible in order to expedite your work visa. You should also be able to find something in New York coming from C/N with median grades.

JWalker

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby JWalker » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would consider Hong Kong opportunities that require practicing U.S. law and pay a nice COLA. I assume you are fluent in Korean. The market in Hong Kong is on fire right now and there are many, many Korean language skills required positions. CLS/NYU slightly below median is totally in range for those firms. All of the big name brands need people right now, and you should be able to transfer back to the U.S. if you do a good job there after a year.

If that isn't a possibility, I would try to get married as soon as possible in order to expedite your work visa. You should also be able to find something in New York coming from C/N with median grades.


Speaking as a T6 graduate from a few years back who started his legal career in Korea, I agree with this post. Based on my personal experience and hearsay, regardless of immigration status it is highly if not extremely unlikely that you will be able to lateral to a "legit" legal job in the U.S. from a Korean firm (even if that firm were to be, let's just say, K&C, BKL, etc.), as whether you started your career at a U.S. or UK firm truly makes all the difference in the world. To be blunt, U.S./UK firms just don't seem to take candidates with no U.S. experience seriously.

On that note, if you can find literally anything in the U.S., take it. If not, do try to find something in Hong Kong instead, preferably in big law.

Npret

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby Npret » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:46 am

If you want to stay in the US, the only sure way is to marry your boyfriend. I think you can still do your one year OPT that should be enough for a firm to hire you. I’m not sure why you haven’t set that up yet,

If you leave, your changes of coming back are extremely low compared to the sure immigration path of marriage and staying here. You don’t have a job in Korea either, so that’s an uncertain and risky path.

If you’ve graduated, you must be running out of time. I would have a quick ceremony and apply. You can do a larger ceremony later.

You think the risk averse option is going home, but the risk averse thing is to stay now instead of hoping things work out. You only need enough money to be above the poverty line to get to stay as a spouse.

You don’t need to talk to a recruiter. You need to tal to a good immigration attorney. City college has great free lawyers who advise all New Yorkers on immigration and citizenship. http://www2.cuny.edu/about/university-r ... -services/

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:10 am

DO NOT take that job in Korea. I have a few friends who did this and they all ended up being translators.

These firms have a ton of accomplished non-Korean speaking US attorneys (mostly white) doing a lot of their more cross-border work and the only reason they hire Korean lawyers with US degrees is so they can use you for more accurate translating. The money is good, but I hear they work you hard (I guess Korean “biglaw” is notorious for horrendous hours).

I’m assuming all of the US firms know that’s the case.

Anonymous User
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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:20 pm

why is marriage that big of a risk? you guys are both dirt poor so that even eliminates the necessity of a pre-mup(get one though), and use birth control. nobody cares.

also, employment authorization can come within 3 months of marriage if you hustle on application process and most of athe firms start in september anyways with their incoming associates. good luck

BKing

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby BKing » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would consider Hong Kong opportunities that require practicing U.S. law and pay a nice COLA. I assume you are fluent in Korean. The market in Hong Kong is on fire right now and there are many, many Korean language skills required positions. CLS/NYU slightly below median is totally in range for those firms. All of the big name brands need people right now, and you should be able to transfer back to the U.S. if you do a good job there after a year.

If that isn't a possibility, I would try to get married as soon as possible in order to expedite your work visa. You should also be able to find something in New York coming from C/N with median grades.


This.

ternarydaemon

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby ternarydaemon » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:38 pm

You are still young and poor, so, frankly, getting married should not pose a large contingency for you. Use birth control in any case.

If you are sure on getting a Korean Big Law offer, I would take it. Why do you want to practice in the US so much? To stay for your spouse, for the country, or for the "prestige"? You are graduating without a job in line, and with a dubious migratory status. Why would any law firm consider investing in you, compared to the hundreds of available graduates that can perform the same job at the same cost?

Another road would be that you make a good career in Korea, and nurture and create connections with big law attorneys from global firms with a presence on Korea, so that in 2-4 years you make an LLM in the USA, apply to the NY bar, and, hopefully, lateral to a us big law firm. This is a credited road for some good attorneys, though your practice area will need to match a US-Korea market. This plan will take years, and in the meantime you will be making good money in your homeland.

JWalker

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Re: Value of international legal experience?

Postby JWalker » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:DO NOT take that job in Korea. I have a few friends who did this and they all ended up being translators.

These firms have a ton of accomplished non-Korean speaking US attorneys (mostly white) doing a lot of their more cross-border work and the only reason they hire Korean lawyers with US degrees is so they can use you for more accurate translating. The money is good, but I hear they work you hard (I guess Korean “biglaw” is notorious for horrendous hours).

I’m assuming all of the US firms know that’s the case.


Sadly, this is very true. Trust me, you do not want to be a glorified translator, and believe it or not depending on the firm/practice group this happens to "foreign attorneys" with U.S. big law experience as well. Billing hundreds of hours a month just for translation is absolutely demoralizing.



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