Cambridge or Law School?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
Guillaume9
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:24 am

Cambridge or Law School?

Postby Guillaume9 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:05 pm

I've been struggling between mphil in finance and economics in cambridge and J.D. for quite a while. I have been admitted to some law schools in the DNCG tier.
A J.D. fits my career goal. I want to do public interest. But the question is LRAP does not cover French loans and I'm not sure if PI jobs (NGO, etc.) in the States issue working permit for international students. If not, I won't be able to work in the states after graduation, so PI will not work out (obviously European PI would require an European bar, not American ones I suppose?)
So if I go to cambridge, I will probably have to waive goodbye to my career in PI. Sad, but maybe I'll be able to land a job in banking or something.
Doing a French bar is not an option because I will have to start the bac (SAT equivalent) again, which is not possible.
I'm torn between these two options. Working in PI is what I want to do and I truly hope that American PI jobs can issue H1B working permits.
Can anyone just throw some light into this mess, or share some knowledge about the whole PI and work permit thing? Obviously the best scenario would be it turns out that PI jobs do issue work permit. Then the only thing I need to worry is debt.

Guillaume9
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:24 am

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby Guillaume9 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:07 pm

OK I realized that the above thread is a little messy.
IN BRIEF, I want to go to law school and do PI, but I'm worried about (1) debt (LRAP does not cover foreign loan) and (2) work permit (not sure whether PI issues work permit)
If both of the problems are solved, I'll go to law school.
If not, it's going to be a tough choice to make. And I need your input. Merci!

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby cinephile » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:53 pm

Well, I don't know how many people who use this board are international students, so you may have difficulty getting someone knowledgeable to answer your question about visas.

But if your concern is debt, you could do what everyone else I know is planning on doing: try to work in biglaw for long enough to pay off/put a dent in your loans, and then do what you're passionate about.

User avatar
J-e-L-L-o
Posts: 418
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:12 pm

I know USC has a dual degree program for JD/MA Economics at the London School of Economics. But you might want to go to a school with a more international reputation. I am sure there are great dual programs that will give you a JD and opportunity at a good economics degree.

Are you trying to work in the US or do you want to work abroad? If you want to work in the US the JD will give you the ability to practice in the States.

So the question is do you want to use economics and law in your future career or are you deciding between the two? The next question is do you want to practice in the US or strictly abroad?

I have a friend that does some international law if you want to PM me. She did some work recently dealing with nuclear plants in France.

User avatar
sunynp
Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 2:06 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby sunynp » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:03 pm

I would go to Cambridge. You will have a better life long term.

I'm not sure you should rely both on paying off debt and on getting a work visa. I'm not sure what you might bring to the table that a student who doesn't need a work visa would bring. You are making it harder for yourself in an already terrible job market. There might be some large public interest groups that could sponsor a person with an H1B visa, but I wouldn't count on it. You may likely end up with debt and no visa and no job. I'm not sure if JDs qualify for the internship year after you graduate, but if so, that would at least get you enough time to stay and pass the bar and look for jobs.

What special aspects do you bring to a company that they should sponsor you? I think most PI work is local so it may be difficult to justify a visa. With the huge oversupply of lawyers, it may be difficult for an employer to show that there is no American who could fill the job you want. You might contact some PI groups and see if they ever sponsor foreign lawyers to work for them.

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby dingbat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:58 pm

First question is where do you want to end up?

If you definately want to end up in the U.S., you'll be better off getting a J.D.
However, if you want to end up in Europe, the cost of a J.D. in the U.S. is prohibitive (compared to tuition in the EU)

You also need to think of what you want to do. Do you want to do finance or law?
There are public interest opportunities either way (although a lot less for finance than for law) and an Mphil from Cambridge (which college?) can open a lot of doors

As for the requirements to becoming a lawyer in Europe, just google "how to become a lawyer in xxx" and you'll see the requirements for that particular country. However, in most european countries, you're looking at a 6-8 year process.
You seem ready to study in either the U.S. or England. Have you considered studying for an LLM in the UK?
This would qualify you for the bar* in NY state (assuming that you pass the bar exam) and probably several others.
this will be much cheaper than obtaining a JD in the US, especially if you're an EU citizen.

*note: the LLM must meet certain requirements. You should look up the specific rules before embarking on such a course

Guillaume9
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:24 am

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby Guillaume9 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:47 pm

Thank you guys for your input. You've asked some questions so I'll answer here.

If I do a J.D., I definitely want to work in the States, and preferably do PI jobs there. I know that the market is bad, but perhaps a degree from DNCG might make a slight difference?

I personally prefer law to finance because of my career goal in PI, because I believe PI opportunities in finance will be far fewer, and they won't be the type of PI I want to work in. That being said, it won't hurt work in finance, or work in biglaw.

So if I'm reading your posts correctly, does that mean I'll have a slim chance to get work permits from PI groups, and a much larger chance to get work permits from biglaw?

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby dingbat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:24 pm

Guillaume9 wrote:Thank you guys for your input. You've asked some questions so I'll answer here.

If I do a J.D., I definitely want to work in the States, and preferably do PI jobs there. I know that the market is bad, but perhaps a degree from DNCG might make a slight difference?



I think you have this backwards.
Do you want to work in the States, or in Europe?
If you want to work in the States, you get a J.D.
If you want to work in Europe, you do not get a J.D.

That is the first decision that has to be made.
Have you taken the LSAT yet? If not, you should take it and see how you score - if you can't get to the high 160's, then don't go for a JD.

If you decide to go for a JD, then you should figure out how to pay for it (preferably scholarship, otherwise, check what loan options are available to you and find out if these are or are not covered by LRAP)

Don't worry about a work permit just yet. First get a student visa.
Once you're a 1L you should focus on doing very well, because when you'll be looking for a job, whether PI or Biglaw, you will have a harder time competing, because it's easier to hire someone who doesn't need a work permit.
Note that it is possible to get a work permit through PI.
You just have to make sure you're such a good candidate that it's worth it for them to go through the trouble of getting you a work permit (same is true for biglaw)

User avatar
sunynp
Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 2:06 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby sunynp » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:38 pm

dingbat wrote:
Guillaume9 wrote:Thank you guys for your input. You've asked some questions so I'll answer here.

If I do a J.D., I definitely want to work in the States, and preferably do PI jobs there. I know that the market is bad, but perhaps a degree from DNCG might make a slight difference?



I think you have this backwards.
Do you want to work in the States, or in Europe?
If you want to work in the States, you get a J.D.
If you want to work in Europe, you do not get a J.D.

That is the first decision that has to be made.
Have you taken the LSAT yet? If not, you should take it and see how you score - if you can't get to the high 160's, then don't go for a JD.

If you decide to go for a JD, then you should figure out how to pay for it (preferably scholarship, otherwise, check what loan options are available to you and find out if these are or are not covered by LRAP)

Don't worry about a work permit just yet. First get a student visa.
Once you're a 1L you should focus on doing very well, because when you'll be looking for a job, whether PI or Biglaw, you will have a harder time competing, because it's easier to hire someone who doesn't need a work permit.
Note that it is possible to get a work permit through PI.
You just have to make sure you're such a good candidate that it's worth it for them to go through the trouble of getting you a work permit (same is true for biglaw)

I disagree with this a bit. OP already knows he can't get LRAP because he is foreign. The only way he will be able to stay in the US and practice is to get a work permit. I think the student visa will not be an issue, unless OP has some issues he hasn't mentioned. But he also needs to be able to stay in the US to take the bar and to work. He won't know for 9 months if he takes and passes the bar. He won't be able to stay in the US after he graduates unless he has a sponsoring internship.
But even if he gets visa and a PI job, will he be able to repay debt? Will he earn enough? If OP needs to get biglaw, is his English good enough to get biglaw? But maybe he has a free ride somewhere that will minimize debt and the need for biglaw.

I hope everything works out great for OP. I just want him to do the research needed to make sure he can get what he wants.

I think OP needs to do more research on this. Maybe he can contact the schools where he has been accepted and see what other foreign students have done. Maybe they could put him in touch with PI firms. I think that the PI groups might wonder why a foreign national wants to do PI here in the US instead of their home country. It just seems a bit odd to come to the US to do PI when your own country must need help too. He needs to know for sure that it is possible to get an H1B visa through a PI group - they are expensive to do and I think they might have trouble making a case, though OPs foreign language fluency might help with certain groups.

On the other hand OP can come to the US, fall in love, marry a US citizen and then he won't need a HB1. OP sounds like a nice guy and he may be a great partner for someone!
Last edited by sunynp on Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
sunynp
Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 2:06 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby sunynp » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:41 pm

also - OP you need to understand what these PI organizations are like to work for. They are not easy agencies to work for and the jobs are difficult to obtain. Make sure this is a career you can undertake and stick to.

Danteshek
Posts: 2172
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby Danteshek » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:59 pm

This thread makes no sense. Rational French people don't pay 3 years tuition at US rates, especially if they are contemplating a career in public interest.

Egzon
Posts: 183
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 6:01 pm

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby Egzon » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:47 pm

I am an international student as well (Je suis de Belgique Guillaume :D) and I have to say that I don't understand why you want to come to the US to do PI, the only reason why people want to come to the US (I must be honest) is to work at a big law firm.

PS: Je ne comprends pas tellement pourquoi tu veux payer près de 200000$ pour simplement travailler dans le domaine public...

User avatar
bernaldiaz
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:51 am

Re: Cambridge or Law School?

Postby bernaldiaz » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:53 pm

I went to Cambridge for a year and hated it. Academic system is so fundamentally different from what we do in the US you need to really consider how you would like their way of learning. Wasn't for me at all.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests