I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

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ghostowl
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I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby ghostowl » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:15 pm

Hey guys. So as the title says, I want to be able to use my JD abroad and live there. The three places I'd like to go are (Sweden, London, or Tokyo). I've lived near Tokyo before, so I'd rather try Europe this time, but that's a story for another day. I know that working abroad with a JD is a low probability event, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

From my understanding, the "easiest way" should be, getting into a big law firm, then transferring to one of their overseas offices, correct?

The problem is, my GPA isn't good enough for a big law, so I'm aiming for a mid-sized law firm at the moment near my school.

I understand that transactional work, compared to litigation, is the key to working abroad, but what subject of transactional do you think will really raise the probability of working abroad?
1. Mergers & Acquisition?
2. International Tax?
3. ???

What do you guys think? Any advice is seriously appreciated. I want to choose my focus of law sooner than later. I also don't mind working near my current city for 3 years+ for this goal.

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B.B. Homemaker
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby B.B. Homemaker » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:24 pm

Consider project finance in addition to M&A and cap markets.

NYCFAN1
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby NYCFAN1 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:44 pm

Where's your school fall rankings wise?

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:52 pm

I know nothing of Sweden so maybe someone can fill you in about that

re: London & Tokyo

you can start in either city, and I think that's increasingly the norm in Tokyo (though not unusual for London)

yes, you're likely going to do transactional work, and as BB said, cap markets, M&A and project finance are what you're most likely to find something in

you can actually do lit from Tokyo (only with MoFo, though)

but what do you mean by
ghostowl wrote:The problem is, my GPA isn't good enough for a big law, so I'm aiming for a mid-sized law firm at the moment near my school.


hate to totally burst your bubble, but I think the lateral market for those places is pretty rough (both for entering the market and for leaving it)

ghostowl
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby ghostowl » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:11 pm

sideroxylon wrote:I know nothing of Sweden so maybe someone can fill you in about that

re: London & Tokyo

you can start in either city, and I think that's increasingly the norm in Tokyo (though not unusual for London)

yes, you're likely going to do transactional work, and as BB said, cap markets, M&A and project finance are what you're most likely to find something in

you can actually do lit from Tokyo (only with MoFo, though)

but what do you mean by
ghostowl wrote:The problem is, my GPA isn't good enough for a big law, so I'm aiming for a mid-sized law firm at the moment near my school.


hate to totally burst your bubble, but I think the lateral market for those places is pretty rough (both for entering the market and for leaving it)


I mean that I'll have to settle for mid-sized law firms rather than big law because my grades aren't good enough to qualify for big law.

I'll look into project finance, cap market, and M&A. Are these 3 too big that I can't focus on all 3 of them? Or are they interrelated?

You mean the lateral market for working overseas? What would be the best method of going overseas? I'm guessing biglaw?

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:13 pm

yeah I'm saying if you're not in biglaw already it'll be a very tough path

ghostowl
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby ghostowl » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:17 pm

sideroxylon wrote:yeah I'm saying if you're not in biglaw already it'll be a very tough path


I heard the lateral market for biglaw is very hot these days actually. I don't mind working 3-5 years in mid-size law firm then transferring to biglaw overseas office. I just wish I could find a way to directly go these foreign places straight out of law school

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:54 pm

ghostowl wrote:
sideroxylon wrote:yeah I'm saying if you're not in biglaw already it'll be a very tough path


I heard the lateral market for biglaw is very hot these days actually. I don't mind working 3-5 years in mid-size law firm then transferring to biglaw overseas office. I just wish I could find a way to directly go these foreign places straight out of law school


are you referring to London? maybe, I don't know as much about that market

Tokyo is dead dead dead

MoFo and SullCrom will be it soon

20141023
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby 20141023 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:14 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Lincoln
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby Lincoln » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:46 am

I'm pretty sure that you cannot practice law in Sweden without a Swedish law degree. There may be exceptions if you're not practicing Swedish law, per se, but it seems unlikely a Swedish law firm would hire you for that purpose.

Also, big law firms are the only ones likely to go to the effort to hire and sponsor a U.S. lawyer wanting to practice in Europe. It's just not something smaller shops have any need for.

ozymandius
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby ozymandius » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:30 am

Speaking about Tokyo, there's some bad information in this thread.

Tokyo is emphatically not dead, it's just a niche market. Some firms are thriving, while others are having trouble. If you speak Japanese you can often hit well above your weight in the associate market, though I'm guessing that you probably don't if you've never lived "near Tokyo." If you don't speak Japanese, that's not necessarily an impediment to getting a job, although if you don't have the GPA for biglaw in the states and, again, if you don't speak Japanese, then you're not going to be a great candidate for biglaw in Tokyo. Starting in Tokyo, while becoming occasionally possible, is still pretty unusual and is generally considered to be a bad idea because you'll have to go abroad for 2 years at some point anyway to qualify for registration as a foreign attorney in Japan.

Project finance is the most active transactional practice in Tokyo at the moment. M&A is decent, and capital markets is OK at some firms but not others (for U.S. capital markets work it's arguably all about DPW, Sullivan, and Simpson).

Litigation is not at all limited to MoFo, though MoFo has the largest U.S. litigation practice and is probably the only U.S. firm that can staff a U.S. domestic case without any support from another office. Otherwise, there's a fair bit of international arbitration in Tokyo, with a number of firms having strong and growing practices (the UK and Australia firms lead here to an extent, although White and Case Tokyo has a great IA practice, and Hogan Lovells is only half-British).

For someone who isn't competitive for biglaw, though, Tokyo's probably not a great market to look at. That said, there are absolutely positions in large Japanese firms (of which there are a number, and are easy enough to research on google) for native English speakers--typically the job title would be foreign legal consultant, and the job responsibilities would vary but, in candor, would be primarily focused on checking the English in work prepared by the Japanese attorneys. It's not a bad gig, but it might not be what you had in mind. At some Japanese firms, foreign legal consultants can play much more active roles, and I know of at least one non-Japanese-speaking foreign legal consultant at a smaller (but still quite large for Japanese standards) firm who is on the partnership track.

iskim88
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby iskim88 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:12 am

ozymandius wrote:Speaking about Tokyo, there's some bad information in this thread.

Tokyo is emphatically not dead, it's just a niche market. Some firms are thriving, while others are having trouble. If you speak Japanese you can often hit well above your weight in the associate market, though I'm guessing that you probably don't if you've never lived "near Tokyo." If you don't speak Japanese, that's not necessarily an impediment to getting a job, although if you don't have the GPA for biglaw in the states and, again, if you don't speak Japanese, then you're not going to be a great candidate for biglaw in Tokyo. Starting in Tokyo, while becoming occasionally possible, is still pretty unusual and is generally considered to be a bad idea because you'll have to go abroad for 2 years at some point anyway to qualify for registration as a foreign attorney in Japan.

Project finance is the most active transactional practice in Tokyo at the moment. M&A is decent, and capital markets is OK at some firms but not others (for U.S. capital markets work it's arguably all about DPW, Sullivan, and Simpson).

Litigation is not at all limited to MoFo, though MoFo has the largest U.S. litigation practice and is probably the only U.S. firm that can staff a U.S. domestic case without any support from another office. Otherwise, there's a fair bit of international arbitration in Tokyo, with a number of firms having strong and growing practices (the UK and Australia firms lead here to an extent, although White and Case Tokyo has a great IA practice, and Hogan Lovells is only half-British).

For someone who isn't competitive for biglaw, though, Tokyo's probably not a great market to look at. That said, there are absolutely positions in large Japanese firms (of which there are a number, and are easy enough to research on google) for native English speakers--typically the job title would be foreign legal consultant, and the job responsibilities would vary but, in candor, would be primarily focused on checking the English in work prepared by the Japanese attorneys. It's not a bad gig, but it might not be what you had in mind. At some Japanese firms, foreign legal consultants can play much more active roles, and I know of at least one non-Japanese-speaking foreign legal consultant at a smaller (but still quite large for Japanese standards) firm who is on the partnership track.


Wow! U seem to know about the Japanese market really well :) thx for all that info!
Do u by any chance know anything about 1L summer gigs in Tokyo? I know of many friends who had worked at firms ranging from MoFo, Bingham to TMI associates for their 1L summer, but they were all at T14 and got the gigs through their school connections. I'm a 1L at a T30 with good Japanese connections (or so I think), but don't think it's probably an easy task like my friends to just slide my way in. I am fluent in Japanese (JLPT N1) and Korean (mother tongue) though, if that helps at all. Sorry about hijacking the thread btw.

ozymandius
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby ozymandius » Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:58 am

iskim88 wrote:
ozymandius wrote:Speaking about Tokyo, there's some bad information in this thread.

Tokyo is emphatically not dead, it's just a niche market. Some firms are thriving, while others are having trouble. If you speak Japanese you can often hit well above your weight in the associate market, though I'm guessing that you probably don't if you've never lived "near Tokyo." If you don't speak Japanese, that's not necessarily an impediment to getting a job, although if you don't have the GPA for biglaw in the states and, again, if you don't speak Japanese, then you're not going to be a great candidate for biglaw in Tokyo. Starting in Tokyo, while becoming occasionally possible, is still pretty unusual and is generally considered to be a bad idea because you'll have to go abroad for 2 years at some point anyway to qualify for registration as a foreign attorney in Japan.

Project finance is the most active transactional practice in Tokyo at the moment. M&A is decent, and capital markets is OK at some firms but not others (for U.S. capital markets work it's arguably all about DPW, Sullivan, and Simpson).

Litigation is not at all limited to MoFo, though MoFo has the largest U.S. litigation practice and is probably the only U.S. firm that can staff a U.S. domestic case without any support from another office. Otherwise, there's a fair bit of international arbitration in Tokyo, with a number of firms having strong and growing practices (the UK and Australia firms lead here to an extent, although White and Case Tokyo has a great IA practice, and Hogan Lovells is only half-British).

For someone who isn't competitive for biglaw, though, Tokyo's probably not a great market to look at. That said, there are absolutely positions in large Japanese firms (of which there are a number, and are easy enough to research on google) for native English speakers--typically the job title would be foreign legal consultant, and the job responsibilities would vary but, in candor, would be primarily focused on checking the English in work prepared by the Japanese attorneys. It's not a bad gig, but it might not be what you had in mind. At some Japanese firms, foreign legal consultants can play much more active roles, and I know of at least one non-Japanese-speaking foreign legal consultant at a smaller (but still quite large for Japanese standards) firm who is on the partnership track.


Wow! U seem to know about the Japanese market really well :) thx for all that info!
Do u by any chance know anything about 1L summer gigs in Tokyo? I know of many friends who had worked at firms ranging from MoFo, Bingham to TMI associates for their 1L summer, but they were all at T14 and got the gigs through their school connections. I'm a 1L at a T30 with good Japanese connections (or so I think), but don't think it's probably an easy task like my friends to just slide my way in. I am fluent in Japanese (JLPT N1) and Korean (mother tongue) though, if that helps at all. Sorry about hijacking the thread btw.


Well, it'll depend a lot on your grades, as with everything in law. 1Ls show up in Tokyo all the time, although usually as summers from top schools. But for someone fluent in Japanese and Korean, much weirder things have happened than a 1L summer gig from a T30.

If you end your first semester with strong grades (maybe top 20%-ish--lower than that and you'll probably struggle even with your language skills), then you should be contacting people at firms in Tokyo directly. Nothing good ever came from being shy. Just email partners who do work that you're interested in, introduce yourself and your skills, say that you want to be in Tokyo long term (if true!) and politely ask whether they would be willing to consider you. Worst case they'll ignore you, second worst case they'll forward your email to HR or tell you to apply in the US, and all of the cases after that are pretty decent.

Make sure you sell your Japanese language skills (Korean is useful too, so make it clear that you speak that).

iskim88
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby iskim88 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:08 am

ozymandius wrote:
iskim88 wrote:
ozymandius wrote:Speaking about Tokyo, there's some bad information in this thread.

Tokyo is emphatically not dead, it's just a niche market. Some firms are thriving, while others are having trouble. If you speak Japanese you can often hit well above your weight in the associate market, though I'm guessing that you probably don't if you've never lived "near Tokyo." If you don't speak Japanese, that's not necessarily an impediment to getting a job, although if you don't have the GPA for biglaw in the states and, again, if you don't speak Japanese, then you're not going to be a great candidate for biglaw in Tokyo. Starting in Tokyo, while becoming occasionally possible, is still pretty unusual and is generally considered to be a bad idea because you'll have to go abroad for 2 years at some point anyway to qualify for registration as a foreign attorney in Japan.

Project finance is the most active transactional practice in Tokyo at the moment. M&A is decent, and capital markets is OK at some firms but not others (for U.S. capital markets work it's arguably all about DPW, Sullivan, and Simpson).

Litigation is not at all limited to MoFo, though MoFo has the largest U.S. litigation practice and is probably the only U.S. firm that can staff a U.S. domestic case without any support from another office. Otherwise, there's a fair bit of international arbitration in Tokyo, with a number of firms having strong and growing practices (the UK and Australia firms lead here to an extent, although White and Case Tokyo has a great IA practice, and Hogan Lovells is only half-British).

For someone who isn't competitive for biglaw, though, Tokyo's probably not a great market to look at. That said, there are absolutely positions in large Japanese firms (of which there are a number, and are easy enough to research on google) for native English speakers--typically the job title would be foreign legal consultant, and the job responsibilities would vary but, in candor, would be primarily focused on checking the English in work prepared by the Japanese attorneys. It's not a bad gig, but it might not be what you had in mind. At some Japanese firms, foreign legal consultants can play much more active roles, and I know of at least one non-Japanese-speaking foreign legal consultant at a smaller (but still quite large for Japanese standards) firm who is on the partnership track.


Wow! U seem to know about the Japanese market really well :) thx for all that info!
Do u by any chance know anything about 1L summer gigs in Tokyo? I know of many friends who had worked at firms ranging from MoFo, Bingham to TMI associates for their 1L summer, but they were all at T14 and got the gigs through their school connections. I'm a 1L at a T30 with good Japanese connections (or so I think), but don't think it's probably an easy task like my friends to just slide my way in. I am fluent in Japanese (JLPT N1) and Korean (mother tongue) though, if that helps at all. Sorry about hijacking the thread btw.


Well, it'll depend a lot on your grades, as with everything in law. 1Ls show up in Tokyo all the time, although usually as summers from top schools. But for someone fluent in Japanese and Korean, much weirder things have happened than a 1L summer gig from a T30.

If you end your first semester with strong grades (maybe top 20%-ish--lower than that and you'll probably struggle even with your language skills), then you should be contacting people at firms in Tokyo directly. Nothing good ever came from being shy. Just email partners who do work that you're interested in, introduce yourself and your skills, say that you want to be in Tokyo long term (if true!) and politely ask whether they would be willing to consider you. Worst case they'll ignore you, second worst case they'll forward your email to HR or tell you to apply in the US, and all of the cases after that are pretty decent.

Make sure you sell your Japanese language skills (Korean is useful too, so make it clear that you speak that).


Thank you so much again for the advice :) my interest in law lies in IA pratice, so Tokyo would definitely be one of the destinations I would be interested in working long-term!
I will email them as soon as I get my grades back in January (that is, if I do well lol). Meanwhile, I'll get off TLS and work my butt off!! Thank you so much!!!! :D

ozymandius
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby ozymandius » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:22 am

iskim88 wrote:
Thank you so much again for the advice :) my interest in law lies in IA pratice, so Tokyo would definitely be one of the destinations I would be interested in working long-term!
I will email them as soon as I get my grades back in January (that is, if I do well lol). Meanwhile, I'll get off TLS and work my butt off!! Thank you so much!!!! :D


No problem. One other thing--N1 proficiency can mean a lot of different things. Can you, e.g., easily draft business documents in Japanese? That's something that a lot of N1s can't do without a lot of additional learning, and even then they might be significantly slower than a native Japanese speaker (although a lot of bengoshi are also slow, just because that's just the work culture in Tokyo). So be frank about your ability, and if you are N1+, then definitely make that clear.

iskim88
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby iskim88 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:51 am

ozymandius wrote:
iskim88 wrote:
Thank you so much again for the advice :) my interest in law lies in IA pratice, so Tokyo would definitely be one of the destinations I would be interested in working long-term!
I will email them as soon as I get my grades back in January (that is, if I do well lol). Meanwhile, I'll get off TLS and work my butt off!! Thank you so much!!!! :D


No problem. One other thing--N1 proficiency can mean a lot of different things. Can you, e.g., easily draft business documents in Japanese? That's something that a lot of N1s can't do without a lot of additional learning, and even then they might be significantly slower than a native Japanese speaker (although a lot of bengoshi are also slow, just because that's just the work culture in Tokyo). So be frank about your ability, and if you are N1+, then definitely make that clear.


Haha you are spot on! I got my N1 this year. I have never lived in Japan (though traveled there numerous times), but I speak it like a regular Japanese person (in other words, I can be in sales). Not up to business level, I would say, in terms of drafting legal documents. If it's just a regular report I have to deliver to my senior, I can do that. Legal terminology would be too much for me at this point, but I can always learn!
But yeah, unless I dramatically improve in the next yr or so, I will be frank about it in my resume (something like, "proficient - JLPT N1" might suffice?)

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:14 am

kappycaft1 wrote:
sideroxylon wrote:Tokyo is dead dead dead

MoFo and SullCrom will be it soon

lol I dunno where you heard this but it isn't true. MoFo is obviously a powerhouse with clients like SoftBank and what not, but there are a lot of firms who are doing okay in Tokyo. And SullCrom is just a small outpost like Skadden and Latham that basically only assists their U.S. offices do capital market / M&A deals.


I head this in Tokyo while working in Tokyo from associates at other firms.

Skadden associates there have had a rough time even though there are some wonderful people. The firm isn't supportive of coming back.

Ted Paradise has been trying to rebrand himself as an M&A attorney, but I don't think I'd go to DPW on faith that he'll succeed in doing so.

Jones Day recently pulled out of the market.

Meanwhile MoFo has been able to pull away institutional clients from firms with longstanding connections.

Let me put it this way—if you were an American attorney trying to work in Tokyo, where would you want to work? Where would you feel safe? Shearman? Simpson? One of the big four?

There aren't that many options, dude.

Total Litigator
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby Total Litigator » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:39 am

I actually lol'd at the title of this thread because I thought it was an obvious international law 0L parody/flame, since JD's lead to bar memberships and bar memberships are inherently restricted to practicing in a certain state.

If you are T14 with good grades and you know a foreign language, you have a shot though.

Midlaw to international work might only work if you find a international trade law boutique or something on coastal port city in the US.

20141023
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby 20141023 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:01 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:06 pm

We have similar experiences kappycaft1, I'm just less prone to self-aggrandizement.

My question stands—where would you work? It's a market that is compressing rapidly and is increasingly dominated by MoFo. I don't see great options there. Unless someone knew that they wanted to stay in Japan for personal reasons, I have no idea why someone would choose to work there.

Put another way, If you don't think that the Tokyo market is pretty much dead, would you recommend that others work there? Where would you send them?

20141023
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby 20141023 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:12 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dkb17xzx
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby dkb17xzx » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:14 pm

don't mean to steal the thread...but any insights on HK / Singapore?

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:16 pm

dkb17xzx wrote:don't mean to steal the thread...but any insights on HK / Singapore?


I'm way less familiar with the market, but as a comparison point, I think it is growing in a way that Tokyo is not.

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sideroxylon
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby sideroxylon » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:19 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
sideroxylon wrote:We have similar experiences kappycaft1, I'm just less prone to self-aggrandizement.

My question stands—where would you work? It's a market that is compressing rapidly and is increasingly dominated by MoFo. I don't see great options there. Unless someone knew that they wanted to stay in Japan for personal reasons, I have no idea why someone would choose to work there.

Put another way, If you don't think that the Tokyo market is pretty much dead, would you recommend that others work there? Where would you send them?

I would feel confident recommending anyone to work there so long as they put in their 2 years outside of Japan first. For example, a few years ago when Allen & Overy basically laid off half of the people at its Tokyo office, other firms in Tokyo jumped on the opportunity to pick up A&O's qualified attorneys. The thing that scares me with MoFo is that if Ken Siegel ever leaves, that office would likely take a big hit. Also, the fact that they make you start in Tokyo isn't very appealing, either.


I guess I just disagree. I had Skadden attorneys telling me to not come because they can't leave. I had attorneys who had lateraled telling me not to come because firms are starting to pull out of the market.

Maybe if you did something that was specialized and transferrable, it would make sense, but you're still not gaining much by taking your JD to Japan. You're likely working brutal hours (with weekends off) and you're less able to sell your experiences when you come back.

The only real exception I'd see is that if a person was very gifted, had great language skills and was very social, they might have a better shot at making partner at MoFo Tokyo than at an office in the US.

Otherwise it just seems like taking a career hit for an unappealing set of intangibles.

iskim88
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Re: I want to go take my JD abroad and use it there

Postby iskim88 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:23 pm

kappycaft1// wow! Thanks for all that info :)




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