0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

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Lexie_M_89
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0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby Lexie_M_89 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:51 pm

I found TLS is pretty good source of information, so I wanna post my situation and goal and seek some advice from you. Of course I tend to attend JD otherwise I won't spend so much time for LSAT and apps, but I m ready to listen different attitude (perhaps a lot)...Say whatever you want, I am strong and have my own judgement. (I posted this topic in ask a law student/graduate too, not really sure which forum fits better.)

I was born in a large city in Mainland China, went to Hong Kong for LLB, now in the final/fourth year. My grades and experience are pretty good in the law faculty, so as everywhere in the world, I have already got an offer from a V40 firm, HK office in the summer of my third year. (In HK, in the first two years you are called trainee solicitor, then qualified as associate.) Salary is like 80+K

Last semester (yr4, sem1), I began to prepare for JD apps. The primary reason is after spending a year in the US on exchange during which I really liked most parts of the American lifestyle and the atmosphere in a US law school, as well as the feeling of being a lawyer there. In contrast, I hate HK to death (don't want to elaborate here). The expectation from JD: I don't have to stay in the US for all my life, but hope to at least spend several years there in my 20s and 30s. As to career, I want to be a corporate lawyer, glad with any major cities in fact, but I prefer DC the most. I do like it, not only for money. We should admit that not everyone is fit for and enjoys litigation. Corporate work, though sometimes boring, still brings some sense of achievement when you close a deal... My goal is V10, but will happy with V20 as well. I know I need to very good GPA unless I go to HYS, which is impossible.... Currently, I have got UVA and Michi...still reach for Penn, NYU n CLS...most likely to be a sticker.

Do you think 3yrs JD investment for me is worthwhile? If I finally go to a school of MVP level, can my goals be achieved with affordable efforts? Its true that I have a strong, uncommon personal preference. Most of my classmates would be very very excited about the offer I got now.....

Anonymous User
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:13 am

Hi friend,

I am also from China. I worked this summer in HK as a summer associate for a US firm. Given that you already have a HK degree and a trainee position, I think you are set for a good career in HK. If you want to do a JD degree in the US, the question you need to ask is whether or not you want to stay in the US.

You need to figure out that question because if you have a US JD and go back to HK, you might make more money as a US associate first but you likely have more career potential go through the trainee route than the US associate route. If you go back as a US associate, you will mostly be doing capital markets and M&A, focusing on US side of deals. If you stay as a trainee, you can do finance, litigation, energy, arbitration, local aspects of capital markets and M&A, etc. There are much more room for you to grow professionally. You don't need the 3 year JD degree to achieve that. That's my conclusion from spending a summer working there. It is cool to be a US associate making more than 3-4th year HK associates but you know you will be stuck doing the same area forever.

If you want to stay in the US, I think it is worth it. Your best shot in finding a job in the US is through a JD degree; LLM won't cut it. Your HK JD degree probably won't help much directly but I am certain that you are more prepared and mature to go to law school than a lot of other applicants who just graduated from college here in the US.

jc1988
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby jc1988 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:20 am

I am the guy from the second post. Sorry didn't mean to be anonymous.

kryptix
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby kryptix » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:19 am

Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I've had class mates who have been successful at getting large firm jobs coming from China and earning their JDs, and the ones who got offers were sponsored to stay in the US (however a couple only got offers in HK which makes you no better off and $150k down the drain). If you really want to practice in the US, ask your firm if they would be willing to let you summer again then earn a LLM in the US and take the NY bar. That would let you practice in New York with only 1 extra year and your firm might let you treat your summer as a US student would treat their 2L summer. You already got the offer so you might as well ask if that's what you really want.

The thing is, you would be stuck with only practicing in NY then I believe. However, there are a few other states that let you take their bar exam with a HK LLB and a US LLM than with a PRC LLB and US LLM, so if you do your research that is one possible route. I do want to point out though, unless your firm is sending you to study for the LLM or you have a good chance to have a permanent offer with them afterwards, its not the best of choices to study for the LLM because most law schools career services do not help LLMs stay in the US.

bdubs
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby bdubs » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:23 am

Brutal honesty here. Your English is not good enough to do as well as you would need to do at a T14 to stay in the US as a biglaw associate. I think you should stick with your offer in HK.

jc1988
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby jc1988 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:25 am

kryptix wrote:Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I've had class mates who have been successful at getting large firm jobs coming from China and earning their JDs, and the ones who got offers were sponsored to stay in the US (however a couple only got offers in HK which makes you no better off and $150k down the drain).


I agree with most of what you said except this part. It is not necessarily a bad thing for people with Asia education/work background to do JD and then go back to HK. They will return to HK with US salary and COLA. It is a good deal financially. The main problem is that his/her career will be limited to very narrow practice areas in Hong Kong.

jc1988
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby jc1988 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:34 am

bdubs wrote:Brutal honesty here. Your English is not good enough to do as well as you would need to do at a T14 to stay in the US as a biglaw associate. I think you should stick with your offer in HK.


I knew 2 Chinese JDs who came to US only after undergrad in China. Both of them in T14. One graduated top 30% and another top 10% of class. Both ended in white shoe firms. If OP finished her degree in HK and passed PCLL (both require high level of English proficiency and also extremely competitive), I think she will be fine in law school.

NYstate
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend Lin

Postby NYstate » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:35 am

You may not realize how many people are realizing that the JD is a terrible bet. Applications are down and schools are hurting financially. The reason applications are down is that some transparency in employment figures have led many people to understand that the cost of a degree is way too high for the potential employment. I posted a link to a New York Times article explaining this in another thread- but I don't want to cross-post. I only mentioned it here as you may not be aware of the drastic drop in applications. Note: this drop doesn't mean it is a great chance for you to go! On the contrary it means that people are avoiding law- I used to say "fleeing" law- for excellent reasons based on debt, job cuts and career instability .

So no, I don't think a JD is a wise move, maybe there are other programs you could do that might cost less and allow you to stay in the United States.

Good luck!

bdubs
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby bdubs » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:38 am

jc1988 wrote:
bdubs wrote:Brutal honesty here. Your English is not good enough to do as well as you would need to do at a T14 to stay in the US as a biglaw associate. I think you should stick with your offer in HK.


I knew 2 Chinese JDs who came to US only after undergrad in China. Both of them in T14. One graduated top 30% and another top 10% of class. Both ended in white shoe firms. If OP finished her degree in HK and passed PCLL (both require high level of English proficiency and also extremely competitive), I think she will be fine in law school.


Did you read his/her post? It's full of incorrect grammar and missing articles. Although you know a few foreign JD students who have done well, I know a number who have struggled. I would venture to guess that doing poorly is more likely than doing well given the level of competition within the T14.

jc1988
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby jc1988 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:46 am

bdubs wrote:
jc1988 wrote:
bdubs wrote:Brutal honesty here. Your English is not good enough to do as well as you would need to do at a T14 to stay in the US as a biglaw associate. I think you should stick with your offer in HK.


I knew 2 Chinese JDs who came to US only after undergrad in China. Both of them in T14. One graduated top 30% and another top 10% of class. Both ended in white shoe firms. If OP finished her degree in HK and passed PCLL (both require high level of English proficiency and also extremely competitive), I think she will be fine in law school.


Did you read his/her post? It's full of incorrect grammar and missing articles. Although you know of a few foreign JD students who have done well, I know a number who have struggled. I would venture to guess that doing poorly is more likely than doing well given the level of competition within the T14.


You make a fair point about the competition within T14. But based on my experience in HK, high level of English proficiency is almost a basic requirement to pass PCLL and also receive offers from law firms. English is essentially the working language for the legal market there.

I am sure there are foreign JDs who have struggled as many American JDs. However, as an international student myself, I have met quite a few Chinese JDs. The ones I have met at least, are all doing very well. I am guessing that is because most of them came out of a very competitive system to have the opportunity to study in the US. English isn't their biggest challenge. I admit my sample is small because I know few foreign JDs outside of T14.

kryptix
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby kryptix » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:16 am

English proficiency really isn't all that when it comes to doing well on law school exams, I've seen people getting As who I thought had trouble writing a complete sentence but apparently they are boss issue spotters. The OP's English is definitely good enough to finish above median I think at which point he might actually fare better than someone who only knows English but is top 1/3 etc.

I still wouldn't do it without a job in hand after the fact though.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:29 am

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Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:32 am

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Lexie_M_89
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby Lexie_M_89 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:06 am

Did not expect so much critique on my grammar....I should have written it more carefully and double check... But thanks all the same.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:32 am

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aces
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby aces » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:09 am

Paying sticker at MVP is not a great proposition, especially when there are significant opportunity costs (the HK trainee position). My understanding is that at UVA or Penn, you need to be in the top 20% of your class to be competitive for V10 offers, and even that is a necessary but not sufficient condition. D.C. in particular is a brutally hard market to get in to, as there are relatively few openings (compared to NY) and there are always a flood of highly qualified candidates who want to work there.

I think with your background, you would be very competitive with firms looking to grow their HK/Shanghai/Beijing offices, and you'd come in as a JD associate with higher salary and cost of living adjustments, but it makes no sense to forgo three years of salary and be $200K+ in debt and you don't want to end up back in Asia anyways.

In your shoes, I would stay in HK, but I think it ultimately comes down to (a) how much you want to come to the US and (b) how risk averse you are. Personally, I think it's a terrible gamble to give away a solid job to take $200K in debt for a chance at getting a job only marginally better than the one you'd have otherwise. But if you really really want to come to the US and are willing to take a significant risk to do so, it might be a worthwhile option for you.

RE: language-- something you want to note is that summer associate positions are filled almost entirely on the basis of your resume, transcript, and a series of 20-minute conversational interviews. For students with heavy accents or for whom english is a second language, those traits can hurt you during screening interviews or callbacks. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I think many lawyers may view those traits in a negative light, especially if you're just interviewing for a vanilla U.S. position.

bdubs
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby bdubs » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:28 am

ajax adonis wrote:
Lexie_M_89 wrote:Did not expect so much critique on my grammar....I should have written it more carefully and double check... But thanks all the same.


It has more to do with your clarity and ability to communicate a clear message. I can't understand you. If I can't understand you, a law professor who has to read 100 exams conveyor-belt style isn't going to try to decipher your prose. Stick to HK.


Agree with this 100%. To add to it, it's not just your ability to write correctly and clearly, you need to be able to do it at an incredibly fast pace. Law school exams are extremely time pressured, it's a written race. If you write like you did in your post when you are going quickly any professor is going to automatically mark you down a few grade categories. I'm pretty sure a few of my professors would score an exam that spotted exactly the same number of issues differently based purely on clarity and organization.

onionskin
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby onionskin » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:39 am

Lexie_M_89 wrote:Last semester (yr4, sem1), I began to prepare for JD apps. The primary reason is after spending a year in the US on exchange during which I really liked most parts of the American lifestyle and the atmosphere in a US law school, as well as the feeling of being a lawyer there. In contrast, I hate HK to death (don't want to elaborate here). The expectation from JD: I don't have to stay in the US for all my life, but hope to at least spend several years there in my 20s and 30s. As to career, I want to be a corporate lawyer, glad with any major cities in fact, but I prefer DC the most.

Do you think 3yrs JD investment for me is worthwhile? If I finally go to a school of MVP level, can my goals be achieved with affordable efforts? Its true that I have a strong, uncommon personal preference. Most of my classmates would be very very excited about the offer I got now.....


Do you like gambling? That's exactly what you're doing. I would also imagine the atmosphere in an American law school will be very different to the atmosphere in an American law firm.

de5igual
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby de5igual » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:59 am

aces wrote:RE: language-- something you want to note is that summer associate positions are filled almost entirely on the basis of your resume, transcript, and a series of 20-minute conversational interviews. For students with heavy accents or for whom english is a second language, those traits can hurt you during screening interviews or callbacks. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I think many lawyers may view those traits in a negative light, especially if you're just interviewing for a vanilla U.S. position.


This. While there's a chance you (OP) might end up alright grade-wise at a T14, your accent and international status would be a major strike against you during OCI unless it's for an Asia-specific practice or the China/HK office (which puts you pretty much back at square 1 but with a shit ton more debt)

kryptix
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby kryptix » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:42 pm

f0bolous wrote:
aces wrote:RE: language-- something you want to note is that summer associate positions are filled almost entirely on the basis of your resume, transcript, and a series of 20-minute conversational interviews. For students with heavy accents or for whom english is a second language, those traits can hurt you during screening interviews or callbacks. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I think many lawyers may view those traits in a negative light, especially if you're just interviewing for a vanilla U.S. position.


This. While there's a chance you (OP) might end up alright grade-wise at a T14, your accent and international status would be a major strike against you during OCI unless it's for an Asia-specific practice or the China/HK office (which puts you pretty much back at square 1 but with a shit ton more debt)


Pretty much what I was pointing out earlier. However, I will say that in the past two years at my school I've known 3-4 Chinese JD candidates who all pretty much came straight to law school from Asia. They all had pretty good English skills but all went part time with a job in NYC already and I think all ended up at Linklaters. None of them went to the HK office though (however some white people from the school did). Take from that what you will. I will note that all of them ended up being competitive grade wise for those positions and knowing Chinese never hurts for a position these days.

cooldude87
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby cooldude87 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:20 pm

Bro, do us a favor and stay in China. We've already lost our whole manufacturing industry to you guys, we don't need you coming here and taking over our legal industry as well!

brownpride
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Re: 0L HK LLB student seeking advice about whether to attend JD

Postby brownpride » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:18 am

cooldude87 wrote:Bro, do us a favor and stay in China. We've already lost our whole manufacturing industry to you guys, we don't need you coming here and taking over our legal industry as well!


You are not a cool dude.




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