International student applying to law school

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historyengland95

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International student applying to law school

Postby historyengland95 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:35 pm

I have a few questions about applying to a JD program as an international (UK citizen, currently studying at university in England):

1. Am I right that a high GPA/high LSAT combo is essentially all that's needed for admission to a top law school? I've got the standard essay competition/editorial position/work experience extracurriculars, but I assume this is secondary to the GPA/LSAT. I'm going into my second year, so I'd be applying in the 2017/18 cycle. At present, I have a 'first' (which is roughly 3.7-4.0 GPA equivalent according to a GPA calculator).

2. If I was admitted, I've read that student (F-1) visa applications could be rejected because, by going to study a JD, you are insinuating that you do not intend on returning to your home country. In my case, I would say that if there was an opportunity to work in the US, I would stay, but if there was no such opportunity, I would be happy to return to the UK (which leads me to the next question...)

3. If I was unable to stay in the US to work, I've read (on the Harvard website) that there are firms (e.g. in London) that need JD qualified lawyers to work for them. Is this accurate? Alternatively, if I did decide that I wanted to stay in the US, how likely is it that a firm (either big law or something smaller) would be willing to sponsor me for a work visa/citizenship/whatever was required? Someone on this forum that a graduate of a T14 would have no problem securing a visa, but I'm not sure if that is true.

4. Is it sensible to only consider studying law in the US if I was admitted to HYS? Obviously, I wouldn't want to fork over $250,000 (quoted on Harvard website) if I couldn't get a job that could pay off that debt. Are there viable employment prospects for graduates of HYS if they are international graduates? I am aware, however, that my LSAT score would have to be very high.

5. As an international student at an American law school, would I be able to do summer internships in the US? Or would I go back to my home country? My concern here is that summer associates are sometimes hired after graduation, and if I was not able to do so, I would be disadvantaged.

Many thanks for all your help!

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lymenheimer

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:46 pm

Sounds like a 3 year program? Make sure that the degree you get coming out will be acceptable for US Law schools (most of which require a 4-year degree equivalence).

historyengland95

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby historyengland95 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:17 pm

Shoukd have specified - in the UK, a BA degree takes 3 years instead of the 4 years US degree. I'm studying History

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lymenheimer

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:20 pm

historyengland95 wrote:Shoukd have specified - in the UK, a BA degree takes 3 years instead of the 4 years US degree. I'm studying History

Which is why you need to make sure that it is equivalent to a 4-year degree and acceptable for US law schools.

historyengland95

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby historyengland95 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:37 pm

lymenheimer wrote:
historyengland95 wrote:Shoukd have specified - in the UK, a BA degree takes 3 years instead of the 4 years US degree. I'm studying History

Which is why you need to make sure that it is equivalent to a 4-year degree and acceptable for US law schools.


Yep, checked and it's equivalent.

CptnAwesome

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby CptnAwesome » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:53 pm

I'll let other people answer most of your questions, but for the last one you'd just use a CPT designation as an SA. I used it for internships during undergrad.

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby Babum » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:03 pm

historyengland95 wrote:I have a few questions about applying to a JD program as an international (UK citizen, currently studying at university in England):

1. Am I right that a high GPA/high LSAT combo is essentially all that's needed for admission to a top law school? I've got the standard essay competition/editorial position/work experience extracurriculars, but I assume this is secondary to the GPA/LSAT. I'm going into my second year, so I'd be applying in the 2017/18 cycle. At present, I have a 'first' (which is roughly 3.7-4.0 GPA equivalent according to a GPA calculator).

2. If I was admitted, I've read that student (F-1) visa applications could be rejected because, by going to study a JD, you are insinuating that you do not intend on returning to your home country. In my case, I would say that if there was an opportunity to work in the US, I would stay, but if there was no such opportunity, I would be happy to return to the UK (which leads me to the next question...)

3. If I was unable to stay in the US to work, I've read (on the Harvard website) that there are firms (e.g. in London) that need JD qualified lawyers to work for them. Is this accurate? Alternatively, if I did decide that I wanted to stay in the US, how likely is it that a firm (either big law or something smaller) would be willing to sponsor me for a work visa/citizenship/whatever was required? Someone on this forum that a graduate of a T14 would have no problem securing a visa, but I'm not sure if that is true.

4. Is it sensible to only consider studying law in the US if I was admitted to HYS? Obviously, I wouldn't want to fork over $250,000 (quoted on Harvard website) if I couldn't get a job that could pay off that debt. Are there viable employment prospects for graduates of HYS if they are international graduates? I am aware, however, that my LSAT score would have to be very high.

5. As an international student at an American law school, would I be able to do summer internships in the US? Or would I go back to my home country? My concern here is that summer associates are sometimes hired after graduation, and if I was not able to do so, I would be disadvantaged.

Many thanks for all your help!



1. You won't get more than anecdotal evidence on that point. That seems to be the case, GPA/LSAT. Personally I was also asked to interview at many law schools during the application, something that others didn't do, and I am assuming it was to check fit/language skills.

2. I don't think this is too much of an issue. Then again, that's just anecdotal. As an individual able to travel abroad to get a JD at a completely foreign country, I am sure that you have some demonstrable ties to your home country.

3. The gist of it is true. The main issue is that these firms "abroad" have more stringent hiring criteria and smaller classes. Moreover, their need of JDs is for their corporate work, not litigation. Big firms do sponsor, medium and smaller firms I do not think that they do. Government and non-profits are a big no no.

4. Is it sensible to only consider studying law in the US if I was admitted to HYS? It depends on what you consider sensible. Is it sensible to narrow your law school options to 3 out of 200+ schools in the country? Perhaps. Again, big firms generally don't mind the sponsoring process (for an H-1B visa) the rest vary. From the outset I can say that I disagree with your focus. Look into the school's employment data. Where do they place? How many? What is their weak point? Your focus shouldn't be on ranking but on the ability the school has of giving you a job.

5. As an international student at an American law school, would I be able to do summer internships in the US? Absolute yes to this one. Being on an F1 visa only stops you from getting paid internships in the federal government. The rest is not a concern (paid state positions might differ on this).

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Topszn

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Re: International student applying to law school

Postby Topszn » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:23 am

historyengland95 wrote:I have a few questions about applying to a JD program as an international (UK citizen, currently studying at university in England):

1. Am I right that a high GPA/high LSAT combo is essentially all that's needed for admission to a top law school? I've got the standard essay competition/editorial position/work experience extracurriculars, but I assume this is secondary to the GPA/LSAT. I'm going into my second year, so I'd be applying in the 2017/18 cycle. At present, I have a 'first' (which is roughly 3.7-4.0 GPA equivalent according to a GPA calculator).

2. If I was admitted, I've read that student (F-1) visa applications could be rejected because, by going to study a JD, you are insinuating that you do not intend on returning to your home country. In my case, I would say that if there was an opportunity to work in the US, I would stay, but if there was no such opportunity, I would be happy to return to the UK (which leads me to the next question...)

3. If I was unable to stay in the US to work, I've read (on the Harvard website) that there are firms (e.g. in London) that need JD qualified lawyers to work for them. Is this accurate? Alternatively, if I did decide that I wanted to stay in the US, how likely is it that a firm (either big law or something smaller) would be willing to sponsor me for a work visa/citizenship/whatever was required? Someone on this forum that a graduate of a T14 would have no problem securing a visa, but I'm not sure if that is true.

4. Is it sensible to only consider studying law in the US if I was admitted to HYS? Obviously, I wouldn't want to fork over $250,000 (quoted on Harvard website) if I couldn't get a job that could pay off that debt. Are there viable employment prospects for graduates of HYS if they are international graduates? I am aware, however, that my LSAT score would have to be very high.

5. As an international student at an American law school, would I be able to do summer internships in the US? Or would I go back to my home country? My concern here is that summer associates are sometimes hired after graduation, and if I was not able to do so, I would be disadvantaged.

Many thanks for all your help!


background; I'm a UK resident that went to a above average (not russell group) UG in the UK and I'm attending Harvard Law this fall.

1. Yes. If you get a first your transcript will likely be marked as Superior, which is as good as it gets for foreigners. I got a sub 65% 2.1 and still managed to get an above average transcript, so you're gonna be fine. A high LSAT will open the door to the most schools, it depends what you're aiming for but for a T14 you want 170+ to be comfortable. After 173/174, returns diminish, although if you ask 5 different TLSers you'll likely get 5 different opinions on this. In sum: it sounds like your transcript will be fine if you keep up the first, and yes a high LSAT coupled with that 'gpa' are probably the two most important factors.

A side note - one of the biggest flags on your application will be that you're coming from england to america to study something that you could ostensibly study in America. In every single interview I had (apart from Cornell, and I presume that was because its all automated there), I was asked why I wanted to come and do something in America that I could do in England. They will also want to know rough ideas on careers, WHY do you want to go to law school? 'To be a lawyer' or 'to make money' or 'its a visa' isn't going to cut it. So whilst a decent transcript and a high LSAT is necessary to get into a top law school, they are by no means sufficient.

2. This isn't really a question, but whoever wrote that is an idiot. If they ask you about it, which is highly improbable, telling them that you would be happy to apply your JD to an international law firm outside of America in lieu of any domestic (USA) sponsorship opportunities is fine. This wont be a problem for you.

3. Your likelihood of getting sponsored to work in America varies greatly based on where you go to law school, what grades you get, and what area of law you wish to practice. If you go to a top 14, beat the curve and want to go into BigLaw, you'd have to dribble on your tie to fuck it up. If you go to Cooley, get straight Bs and want to practice entertainment law - good luck. Obviously these are two extremes, but I hope you understand the principle, at least. And for the love of god, please please if you're considering BigLaw because they're likely to sponsor internationals, READ UP ON WHAT BIGLAW JOBS INVOLVE. Going to LS in America under the pretence of working in BigLaw just because they'll give you a visa, without really knowing what BL involves or knowing you might not enjoy it, is not only an incredibly negligent financial decision, but a fucking terrible personal one too. So just make sure you're sure before you pull the trigger on going. And yes, there are firms all over the world that would like to hire people with J.Ds, especially from T14 (and more specifically, top 5) schools.

4. I'm not sure about 'only' HYS, but of course they would provide any graduate with strong job prospects, regardless of nationality. However, other T14 schools are prestigious enough to give you good job prospects too - Duke for example. Limiting yourself to "HYS or bust" is a pretty risky strategy given how difficult admission is. Like you say, you would need a very (very!) high LSAT to be in play for all of them. You should look into other T14 law schools, get a feel for them, and consider which ones you'd like to apply to, because most of them would be worth a shot to keep your options open.

5. Yes, your Visa is good for 3 years and you can get employment related to your education.

If you've got any more questions about applying as an international or law school in general, feel free to ask.



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