Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

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Pokemon
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby Pokemon » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:26 pm

BenJ wrote:I'm not a foreign student, but I know multiple foreign JDs at NYU who graduated last year or are graduating with me this year who are going on to biglaw jobs in the US with American firms. Maybe it's more difficult than getting hired as a citizen, but it's clearly not exceptionally more difficult (and I don't know any foreign JDs at NYU who wanted biglaw and didn't get it, though I know a few citizens who didn't).



I think that overall it is more difficult, or the difficulty is noticed, when you are in the grey areas. Top of the class at NYU and foreign? Not a problem. Already a lawyer/banker/prestigious clerk in your country (at my school foreign JDs tend to have such backgrounds)? Not a problem. Middle of the road, around median, no "hot" language skills, then you might have a serious problem.
To put it another way, if you can get a V10 because of your grades/jobs etc, then you will probably get that V10 even if foreign. If you are fighting for lower ranked firm due to your grades, with their smaller classes, then you are more likely to be in trouble than a citizen.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:09 pm

bmi264 wrote:So can you work as a federal clerk with a TN visa?

TN visas are available for the professions including that of a "lawyer" and the minimum education requirement is a J.D (or equivalent) or bar membership.

To be able to clerk, you need at minimum, a J.D as seen here:http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerProfiles/StaffAttorney_LawClerk.aspx.

So does the job of a federal clerk fall under the profession of "lawyer"? lol

I'm pretty sure that you have to be an American citizen to be a federal clerk. The exception is that if you're a legal permanent resident seeking citizenship, you can clerk (but that wouldn't cover someone on a TN visa of course). See: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerC ... ments.aspx

M458
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby M458 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:22 pm

Pokemon wrote:
BenJ wrote:I'm not a foreign student, but I know multiple foreign JDs at NYU who graduated last year or are graduating with me this year who are going on to biglaw jobs in the US with American firms. Maybe it's more difficult than getting hired as a citizen, but it's clearly not exceptionally more difficult (and I don't know any foreign JDs at NYU who wanted biglaw and didn't get it, though I know a few citizens who didn't).



I think that overall it is more difficult, or the difficulty is noticed, when you are in the grey areas. Top of the class at NYU and foreign? Not a problem. Already a lawyer/banker/prestigious clerk in your country (at my school foreign JDs tend to have such backgrounds)? Not a problem. Middle of the road, around median, no "hot" language skills, then you might have a serious problem.
To put it another way, if you can get a V10 because of your grades/jobs etc, then you will probably get that V10 even if foreign. If you are fighting for lower ranked firm due to your grades, with their smaller classes, then you are more likely to be in trouble than a citizen.


Would firms really have entry-level associates utilizing their foreign language skills on a day-to-day basis (assuming this would amount to doc review in a different language)? I'm a native Spanish speaker and know Portuguese fairly well--just wondering if that's a plus during OCI or just a nice conversation point.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby iShotFirst » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:43 pm

For Canadians: Considering the strict requirements to become members of the bar in Canada (extra year of school for foreign students + articling period for everybody) it makes much more sense to go to a top Canadian law school- UofT etc have American firms that hire from there, mainly NY firms it seems.

Going to a US school hoping to do well enough to get biglaw at a place that will look past visa sponsorship issues, with basically no available backup plan to practice in Canada, is a huge gamble.

I know several Canadians who went to school in the US and were unable to get any employment here - I am Canadian (with dual US citizenship however) and my family has been constantly harping on me about these stories of failure for the past three years.

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby cwlnf » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:56 pm

You can work as a federal clerk on a TN visa. You definitely do not have to be an American citizen to clerk. Aside from the exception A. Nony Mouse mentioned, the restriction on foreign clerks doesn't even apply outside the 48 continental states. In addition, the restriction is not a prohibition on hiring foreign clerks, only on paying them; in other words, in theory at least, you could be an unpaid federal clerk anywhere.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
bmi264 wrote:So can you work as a federal clerk with a TN visa?

TN visas are available for the professions including that of a "lawyer" and the minimum education requirement is a J.D (or equivalent) or bar membership.

To be able to clerk, you need at minimum, a J.D as seen here:http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerProfiles/StaffAttorney_LawClerk.aspx.

So does the job of a federal clerk fall under the profession of "lawyer"? lol

I'm pretty sure that you have to be an American citizen to be a federal clerk. The exception is that if you're a legal permanent resident seeking citizenship, you can clerk (but that wouldn't cover someone on a TN visa of course). See: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerC ... ments.aspx

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:12 pm

The link doesn't say anything about a TN visa - do you have a source for that? (And I was just assuming that even the most diehard pro-clerking crowd wanted to be paid for their clerkship. Though Hawaii would be sweet.)

cwlnf wrote:You can work as a federal clerk on a TN visa. You definitely do not have to be an American citizen to clerk. Aside from the exception A. Nony Mouse mentioned, the restriction on foreign clerks doesn't even apply outside the 48 continental states. In addition, the restriction is not a prohibition on hiring foreign clerks, only on paying them; in other words, in theory at least, you could be an unpaid federal clerk anywhere.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
bmi264 wrote:So can you work as a federal clerk with a TN visa?

TN visas are available for the professions including that of a "lawyer" and the minimum education requirement is a J.D (or equivalent) or bar membership.

To be able to clerk, you need at minimum, a J.D as seen here:http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerProfiles/StaffAttorney_LawClerk.aspx.

So does the job of a federal clerk fall under the profession of "lawyer"? lol

I'm pretty sure that you have to be an American citizen to be a federal clerk. The exception is that if you're a legal permanent resident seeking citizenship, you can clerk (but that wouldn't cover someone on a TN visa of course). See: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerC ... ments.aspx

cwlnf
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby cwlnf » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:22 pm

Any visa that authorizes you to work is good enough. As someone mentioned earlier, TN visa is just the easiest work visa to get (for Mexicans and Canadians). Because you need a JD for a clerkship, you can get a TN visa. I know this only second-hand, but from a reliable source.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The link doesn't say anything about a TN visa - do you have a source for that? (And I was just assuming that even the most diehard pro-clerking crowd wanted to be paid for their clerkship. Though Hawaii would be sweet.)

cwlnf wrote:You can work as a federal clerk on a TN visa. You definitely do not have to be an American citizen to clerk. Aside from the exception A. Nony Mouse mentioned, the restriction on foreign clerks doesn't even apply outside the 48 continental states. In addition, the restriction is not a prohibition on hiring foreign clerks, only on paying them; in other words, in theory at least, you could be an unpaid federal clerk anywhere.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
bmi264 wrote:So can you work as a federal clerk with a TN visa?

TN visas are available for the professions including that of a "lawyer" and the minimum education requirement is a J.D (or equivalent) or bar membership.

To be able to clerk, you need at minimum, a J.D as seen here:http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerProfiles/StaffAttorney_LawClerk.aspx.

So does the job of a federal clerk fall under the profession of "lawyer"? lol

I'm pretty sure that you have to be an American citizen to be a federal clerk. The exception is that if you're a legal permanent resident seeking citizenship, you can clerk (but that wouldn't cover someone on a TN visa of course). See: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerC ... ments.aspx

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NDJ
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby NDJ » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:28 pm

wait a sec so canadians can clerk on a TN visa ?? this is contrary to everything ive read on here..

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:40 pm

NDJ wrote:wait a sec so canadians can clerk on a TN visa ?? this is contrary to everything ive read on here..

I'm not convinced, given what the judiciary site says - there's one little line that says, "Judiciary offices must obtain concurrence from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Office of General Counsel, to appoint an individual who is not a U.S. citizen," but I'd be surprised if that happened very often. cwlnf, are you sure you're talking about federal clerks? State clerks are a totally different matter. Or was it just a non-continental court? I know a Canadian who's clerking, but she's a dual citizen.

(There was an intern in our chambers who was interning precisely because she wasn't a US citizen, so couldn't clerk [and get paid], but wanted to see what it was like.)

I could always ask one of the HR people at work and find out what they say.

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby cwlnf » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:01 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
NDJ wrote:wait a sec so canadians can clerk on a TN visa ?? this is contrary to everything ive read on here..

I'm not convinced, given what the judiciary site says - there's one little line that says, "Judiciary offices must obtain concurrence from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Office of General Counsel, to appoint an individual who is not a U.S. citizen," but I'd be surprised if that happened very often. cwlnf, are you sure you're talking about federal clerks? State clerks are a totally different matter. Or was it just a non-continental court? I know a Canadian who's clerking, but she's a dual citizen.

(There was an intern in our chambers who was interning precisely because she wasn't a US citizen, so couldn't clerk [and get paid], but wanted to see what it was like.)

I could always ask one of the HR people at work and find out what they say.


I am talking about federal clerks. I know of people who have clerked on TN visa outside the 48 continental states. I also know of foreigners clerking (but not getting paid) in the 48 continental states, though I do not know what kind of visa you need/can get for an unpaid clerkship.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:06 am

cwlnf wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
NDJ wrote:wait a sec so canadians can clerk on a TN visa ?? this is contrary to everything ive read on here..

I'm not convinced, given what the judiciary site says - there's one little line that says, "Judiciary offices must obtain concurrence from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Office of General Counsel, to appoint an individual who is not a U.S. citizen," but I'd be surprised if that happened very often. cwlnf, are you sure you're talking about federal clerks? State clerks are a totally different matter. Or was it just a non-continental court? I know a Canadian who's clerking, but she's a dual citizen.

(There was an intern in our chambers who was interning precisely because she wasn't a US citizen, so couldn't clerk [and get paid], but wanted to see what it was like.)

I could always ask one of the HR people at work and find out what they say.


I am talking about federal clerks. I know of people who have clerked on TN visa outside the 48 continental states. I also know of foreigners clerking (but not getting paid) in the 48 continental states, though I do not know what kind of visa you need/can get for an unpaid clerkship.

Oh, okay, so exactly what it says on the judiciary page. So if you want to clerk in the continental US and get paid, which probably describes most of the people here, you have to be a citizen (or working towards citizenship).

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby NYstate » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:29 am

I think you need to talk to a good immigration lawyer who works with law firms to get these answers.

I know that the entire years H1B quota gets filed within days of it being opened. I'm not sure how this applies to law students getting visas.
It is beyond foolish to expect to get a big law job as a non-citizen. You don't know the individual skills that people have in order to get a job.

I can't advise you but you should be able to find a good immigration attorney to help you. Try calling AILA ( American immigration law association?) to find out.

There are so many unemployed and qualified US lawyers that it has to be a hard fight to get hired.

I don't know if many people here can help you. Get some legal advice so you know exactly what your options are before you commit time and money to this enterprise. Immigration law is one of those practices where just reading the rules does little to reflect reality.

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby NYstate » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:55 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
NDJ wrote:wait a sec so canadians can clerk on a TN visa ?? this is contrary to everything ive read on here..

I'm not convinced, given what the judiciary site says - there's one little line that says, "Judiciary offices must obtain concurrence from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Office of General Counsel, to appoint an individual who is not a U.S. citizen," but I'd be surprised if that happened very often. cwlnf, are you sure you're talking about federal clerks? State clerks are a totally different matter. Or was it just a non-continental court? I know a Canadian who's clerking, but she's a dual citizen.

(There was an intern in our chambers who was interning precisely because she wasn't a US citizen, so couldn't clerk [and get paid], but wanted to see what it was like.)

I could always ask one of the HR people at work and find out what they say.

There are many many government jobs that require you to be a citizen. I would be surprised if clerking was an exception. Those other clerkship locations might have relaxed requirements but I suspect US citizens get preference. I recall campos having a post about someone who had good credentials but the best job they got was in Guam or somewhere. That person was a citizen .

bmi264
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby bmi264 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:40 pm

To work for as a federal clerk, you need to have have a visa that enables you to work here legally, like a TN visa, not necessarily citizenship or permanent residence. That's what most job listings for a law clerk will say. In order to get a TN visa (only for Canadians or Mexicans), your job has to fall in a category under this list called Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA Chapter 16: See here. (LinkRemoved)
---> you will see "Lawyer" listed with minimum requirements being a JD or bar membership.

Now in order to be paid, ever since the passage of the Appropriations Act, foreigners can only be paid if they are:
1. Lawful permanent residents who are seeking citizenship as outlined in 8 U.S.C. §1324b(a)(3)(B);
2. Persons admitted as refugees or granted asylum who have filed a declaration of intention to become a lawful permanent resident and then a citizen when eligible;
or
3. Persons who owe "allegiance to the United States" (e.g., nationals of American Samoa, Swains Island, and Northern Mariana Islands, and nationals who meet other requirements described in 8 U.S.C. § 1408). Which includes Canada. See here.
-- you can find this language in almost any clerkship handbook distributed by law schools, or here: See here.

So Canadians (and Mexicans) can become federal clerks and can get paid, but only if they can secure a work visa.. So does a federal law clerk fall under the "Lawyer" profession according to the NAFTA requirements for a TN?

cwlnf, you say the answer to this question is YES from your second-hand source, does that mean you know someone who successfully went this route?

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The link doesn't say anything about a TN visa - do you have a source for that? (And I was just assuming that even the most diehard pro-clerking crowd wanted to be paid for their clerkship. Though Hawaii would be sweet.)

cwlnf wrote:You can work as a federal clerk on a TN visa. You definitely do not have to be an American citizen to clerk. Aside from the exception A. Nony Mouse mentioned, the restriction on foreign clerks doesn't even apply outside the 48 continental states. In addition, the restriction is not a prohibition on hiring foreign clerks, only on paying them; in other words, in theory at least, you could be an unpaid federal clerk anywhere.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
bmi264 wrote:So can you work as a federal clerk with a TN visa?

TN visas are available for the professions including that of a "lawyer" and the minimum education requirement is a J.D (or equivalent) or bar membership.

To be able to clerk, you need at minimum, a J.D as seen here:http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerProfiles/StaffAttorney_LawClerk.aspx.

So does the job of a federal clerk fall under the profession of "lawyer"? lol

I'm pretty sure that you have to be an American citizen to be a federal clerk. The exception is that if you're a legal permanent resident seeking citizenship, you can clerk (but that wouldn't cover someone on a TN visa of course). See: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerCitizenshipRequirements.aspx
Last edited by bmi264 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby bmi264 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:47 pm

I've been looking at job postings and some say explicitly that they are looking for citizens and some say you just need to be able to work in the United States. For example this is some text I pulled from a posting for a Law Clerk for a District Court in Colorado

"Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or eligible to work in the United States. The federal immigration and appropriations law significantly limits the circumstances in which the federal judiciary may employ a non-citizen of the United States. Therefore, the U.S. Courts is responsible for ensuring that all new employees are eligible to work in the United States by reviewing one of the employment eligibility documents specified on the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) before placing the selected candidate on federal payroll. Proof of eligibility status will be required. The Court requires employees to adhere to a code of ethics and conduct as well as specific employee policies and performance expectations."
Found here: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/JobVacanciesDetails.aspx?Label=JobVac2013-03-25--15-50-25-46--0.603661078406
(P.S Link is only good til Apr 12, 2013.)

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
bmi264 wrote:So can you work as a federal clerk with a TN visa?

TN visas are available for the professions including that of a "lawyer" and the minimum education requirement is a J.D (or equivalent) or bar membership.

To be able to clerk, you need at minimum, a J.D as seen here:http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerProfiles/StaffAttorney_LawClerk.aspx.

So does the job of a federal clerk fall under the profession of "lawyer"? lol

I'm pretty sure that you have to be an American citizen to be a federal clerk. The exception is that if you're a legal permanent resident seeking citizenship, you can clerk (but that wouldn't cover someone on a TN visa of course). See: http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerC ... ments.aspx

062914123
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Postby 062914123 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:19 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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guano
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby guano » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:38 pm

bee wrote:I know this isn't helpful in any way, but may I ask why OP and others in this thread WANT to be a lawyer in the US? The market is so competitive, over-saturated, and unhealthy compared to (for example) Canada's. Not to mention the absolutely brutal cost of law school in the US. It's just a little puzzling to me (from my limited viewpoint as an American). If I had a compelling reason to go to law school in Canada at the moment (and I thought about it for a while when I was in a serious relationship with a Canadian citizen), I'd be jumping at the chance.

Have you seem the Somalia legal market?

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Postby 062914123 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:40 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:42 pm

I'm completely confused by this, because there's nothing in 8 USC 1408 that applies to Canadians - it addresses US nationals who aren't citizens, and Canadians certainly don't owe allegiance to the US (lol).
Never mind, I finally found the joint defense effort exception, I take it all back. (Makes sense because our intern was from China.)

cwlnf
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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby cwlnf » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:34 pm

There's a lot of confusion about foreign federal clerks. I can only speak to people I know about and to what my understanding of the requirements are. After looking into it some more, I found a helpful memo that was posted on ATL: http://abovethelaw.com/2010/09/clerkshi ... en-clerks/

For all non-citizen clerks, whether the ban doesn't apply or you are hired pursuant to an exception or you are hired without pay, you need to have employment authorization to work in the US under the immigration laws. For Canadians and Mexicans, a TN visa appears to be good enough to satisfy this requirement.

Next, outside the 48 continental states, there appears to be no restrictions whatsoever on the citizenship of a federal clerk, and any foreigner may be hired and paid a salary as a federal clerk there. I personally know of someone who clerked for pay on a TN visa outside he 48 continental states (within the last 3 years).

The courts' explanation of the requirements, at http://www.uscourts.gov/Careers/CareerC ... ments.aspx, makes it seem like any permanent resident (i.e. green-card holder) can be employed and paid as a federal clerk anywhere. I have no direct or indirect knowledge of anyone in this situation.

Finally, it seems there are no restrictions whatsoever on hiring a volunteer clerk, without pay, anywhere in the US, regardless of their citizenship. I know, but only through the grapevine, of a Mexican/Canadian who clerked for no pay in a federal court in a major US state.

Which brings me to my last point: as far as I know/understand, if you are not a citizen/permanent resident or do not otherwise "owe allegiance to the US," you cannot work and get paid as a federal clerk in the 48 continental states. As far as I can understand, that provision is limited to nationals of certain US territories as described in 8 USC 1408. My (admittedly very indirect) knowledge confirms this: why would a Mexican/Canadian clerk for no pay if the law allowed him to get paid? He wouldn't; because I've heard of people doing so (within the last 3 years), I stand by my belief that a non-citizen federal clerk (outside the narrow exceptions above) cannot be paid. The Volokh post and the NALP/Cornell clerkship guide are likely outdated. Volokh is certainly outdated since the change happened in December 2009, as per the memo posted at ATL. Furthermore, the change was a stealth change implemented in a massive appropriations bill, so it wouldn't surprise me that clerkship advisers writing in 2010 would still not know about it. Indeed, the Administrative Office of the US Courts only appears to have found out about the new restrictions in August 2010, as that's the date when the memo (posted at ATL) discussing the change was issued. The memo clearly specifies: "Under prior law, . . . exceptions permitted the hiring of citizens of several designated countries, as well as citizens of countries 'allied with the United States in a current defense effort.' These exceptions have been removed from the law."

A. Nony Mouse: where did you find the joint defense exception? I couldn't find it and I believe it's an outdated exception that is no longer in the current law.

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby thescienceguy » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:43 pm

I know that foreigners can be magistrate court clerks for sure. A friend from my school is doing that and he's a foreigner. He's doing it while on OPT.

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:56 pm

cwlnf wrote:A. Nony Mouse: where did you find the joint defense exception? I couldn't find it and I believe it's an outdated exception that is no longer in the current law.

Just in the NALP Bulletin article from 2010 that you bmi264 linked to - sorry, not the actual statutory/code/whatever source. I agree that it's probably outdated, given the memo discussed at ATL and that there's no reference at all to that exception on the current judiciary website. I was just relieved to find that particular exception existed at some point because I couldn't understand how the "allegiance to the US" exception applied to Canadians! Otherwise, my understanding is exactly as you described (although I think I've been kind of unclear throughout this conversation, sorry about that).

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Re: Can foreigners get jobs in Biglaw firms in the US?

Postby 7ED » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:54 pm

For people who are looking in on this dead thread and want some clarification,

1. The joint-defense exception was pre-2008. In 2008, the financial crisis made Congress slip in the Appropriations Act line barring the paying of foreigners in the continental US.

2. Foreigners have very little difficulty getting biglaw firm jobs in the USA relative to other Americans. I.e., if you go to a T-14 school, firms will treat you almost the same. If you are Canadian, you will be treated the same because the TN is pretty easy to get.

3. I have no idea whether TN can be used for clerkships. CNFW seems to be pretty convincing, but the clerkship office at harvard seems to have no idea - the last Canadian they remember clerking was in 2008 before the appropriations act change, but if he was able to put it off, that probably means he didn't run into any visa issues?




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