UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

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MrAdams
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UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby MrAdams » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:16 pm

Hey guys,

So after a very helpful thread in another board here I have drawn the conclusion that a great LSAT score is absolutely essential for an UK student to be admitted into a law school here due to the disparities in how undergraduate courses are graded (non GPA). However, I have researched several routes to working in a Californian law office and I am looking for some pointers or advice by anyone who has been in this situation or is in this situation (and is having trouble deciding on which is the best route). I am in my last year studying law at a t14 UK University, with an exchange year at a t3 Dutch University, on course to a 2:1/1:1 degree with more than good enough high school grades to be considered for employment by any London City firm. My possible routes and thoughts so far:

- Apply to a London firm, complete the mandatory two year Legal Practitioners Course followed by a two years as a trainee at a firm before becoming an associate: Not an option. 4 years in London... no thanks. Especially not with the Olympics coming up.

- Sit the LSAT, (hopefully with enough work) get a great score, be admitted to a Californian J.D at UCLA, USC, Davis or Hastings, sit the Californian Bar, find employment: This is the only option that I think is accessible. If I work hard enough and get a 170+ LSAT it should be fairly simple to get into these schools it seems. The only issue is 3 years of extraordinary private loans...

- Apply to an LLM program at the aforementioned schools: This would cut a year off my education saving a tonne of money and I wouldn't waste my time learning a lot of super basic stuff I already know. I also wouldn't waste any money or time on the LSAT. I hear though that LLM student are 'class B' to JD students when applying to firms and that in order to sit the Californian bar to be a registered attorney in California you must have a JD from a registered school or be a practising lawyer from another country. I will not be a practising lawyer in the UK for a while, even with my LLB.

Any thoughts or experiences? In the previous thread a member of this forum said he knew several International LM students who found jobs with law firms in the states as easily as JD students and that it is easier to find a LM placement than JD placement. He did not, however, mention the specifics, whether they were already qualified lawyers in their home country for example. I have done a significant amount of research into this and have lurked around here looking for people in the situation I am in but have come up trumps. I spend about 5 months a year in California visiting friends (I am here right now), I love it here and I have fantastic friends here, I would do anything and go to any school/work in any office to live here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

Mr Adams

BeautifulSW
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:02 pm

Hunh. I had thought that the LPC was one year long, not two. Yet another reason to opt for the Bar!

If you hold a good LL.B. from a UK law faculty, I'm under the impression that you can qualify to take the California Bar Exam as a general applicant after completing one of the standard LL.M. for foreign lawyers programs in residence at a U.S. ABA approved law school. You can find a listing at the ABA website http://www.americanbar.org under "Legal Education".

The California bulletin is here:

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkCli ... tabid=2267

Your LL.B. has to be the "substantial equivalent" of a U.S. J.D. other than for the peculiarities of U.S. Constitutional Law and such that are covered in the LL.M. program. If you are taking something like B.A. Accounting with Law instead of a straight LL.B., that might be a problem.

creatinganalt
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby creatinganalt » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:30 am

There's no such thing as a t14 UK university and the LPC is one year.

As to the rest, YMMV. Two separate issues here, one is getting the qualifications but the other is getting the job. An LLM qualifies you (I think - call them and check) but I'm not sure that LLM students are getting jobs ITE.

If you never want to come back, then the JD will pay for itself. If you think you'll miss London once the Olympics are done (we're not prepared. Did you see the Beijing Opening Ceremonies? We don't have control over our people like that! :lol:) then it's a waste of your money. Get hired at a US law firm in London and transfer over for a few years. Yes, you'll have to suffer the Olympics but it's a lot of money and an expensive state and a PITA to qualify just for a holiday.

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MrAdams
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby MrAdams » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:51 pm

I only said t14 to give an understanding of the rank of my school to Americans. My school used to be ranked 8 :/. I don't know WHAT has happened in these last two years whilst I have been on exchange ha. And sorry yes, the LPC is only one year, I wasn't thinking :).

The problem with the LLB/JD distinction is that, from my understanding, a JD student can become a practising lawyer right out the bat, where as an LLB student cannot? LPC and BVC gets in the way of them being equivalent degrees,... or so I have been told. You can only sit the New York bar with an LLB as I have found from my research. (I wouldn't opt for the bar,.. I saw some statistics that stated that only 1 in 5 BVC students find a pupillage... ever. That 'Barristers' show on BBC confirmed that fact. Don't need that kind of grief.).

I have heard a couple of times now that LLM students are finding it hard to obtain work in the states or just literally cannot. So yeah, back to the J.D. route. LSAT and horrendous debts, here I come.

Thanks for the advice and replies guys.

(As far as London goes,.. I just don't like it ha, Olympics or not)

BeautifulSW
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby BeautifulSW » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:26 pm

Oh, but the wigs are so cute. Yeah, I have a friend who is involved with various Young Lawyers organizations so I hear the horror stories about the impossibility of finding training contracts or pupillages. I guess that desperation has caused some would-be solicitors to enter "contracts" that pay nothing for two years, doing Legal Aid work. Wow. I've not heard whether there's a Bar equivalent.

The irony is, if you became a California lawyer and worked here for a couple of years, you could get yourself enrolled as a solicitor by taking the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Test. No training contract required.

Be glad you didn't take a Scottish degree. Even HARDER to transfer.

creatinganalt
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby creatinganalt » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:17 am

MrAdams wrote:I only said t14 to give an understanding of the rank of my school to Americans. My school used to be ranked 8 :/. I don't know WHAT has happened in these last two years whilst I have been on exchange ha. And sorry yes, the LPC is only one year, I wasn't thinking :).

The problem with the LLB/JD distinction is that, from my understanding, a JD student can become a practising lawyer right out the bat, where as an LLB student cannot? LPC and BVC gets in the way of them being equivalent degrees,... or so I have been told. You can only sit the New York bar with an LLB as I have found from my research. (I wouldn't opt for the bar,.. I saw some statistics that stated that only 1 in 5 BVC students find a pupillage... ever. That 'Barristers' show on BBC confirmed that fact. Don't need that kind of grief.).

I have heard a couple of times now that LLM students are finding it hard to obtain work in the states or just literally cannot. So yeah, back to the J.D. route. LSAT and horrendous debts, here I come.

Thanks for the advice and replies guys.

(As far as London goes,.. I just don't like it ha, Olympics or not)


The rankings in the UK don't work for law in the same way as they do for US rankings. Anyway, it all means nothing if you're leaving the UK.

I've heard the same thing re the LLM students. I think a lot of them do it to go back to their own countries or international stuff. I don't think it gets you Cravath or anything.

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MrAdams
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby MrAdams » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:30 pm

Yeah, I feel bad for the Scot's law students, they have a hard enough time at home without worrying about getting overseas. Need to be consistently rocking first class grades, FROM THE FIRST YEAR, to be even within a chance of hitting a top office in Edinburgh and then they are earning 2/3's of their London counterparts, with the same living costs. Most of them can't even find a diploma placement, poor souls. Times are tough. English firms like Clifford Chance have started to make a real effort to get top Scot's law students down to England though.

I have heard about the non-paying training contracts... There is no way I would enter a non-paying contract in London, it would be impossible to support yourself with those living costs whilst simultaneously going through that steep a learning curve. You'd burn out in no time. Not heard of a similar barrister route but it seems like the profession is too saturated to even leave options like that open any more.

Well yeah, enough confirmation has come my way now to know that an LLM is not the way to go. J.D. it is. I see in my future: balls to the wall for the LSAT. (I am currently in San Francisco airport writing this on my way home... lame).

BeautifulSW
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:57 pm

Just a note to any head-scratchers out there:

Scotland is a mixed common law/civil law jurisdiction rather than straight common law like England and Wales and Northern Ireland. That's why Scots Law degrees don't travel very well.

Them as already kenned that, please disregard.

sophie316
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Re: UK (United Kingdom) students routes into Californian law

Postby sophie316 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:09 pm

If youre really dead set on working in the US I'd do a JD. If you're not a US citizen though bear in mind you;ll need a guarantor for loans and that you;ll have to deal w all the fun visa issues.




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