Australia JD to US

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Australia JD to US

Postby chancer » Sat Mar 31, 2007 11:27 pm

I am looking into JD programs in Australia. I know it is a newer phenomenon, but am very interested in a change of scene. Basically, I am interested in the parameters of returning to the US to work. From what I understand only 5 states (I am not sure which ones other than CA and NY) will allow an Aussie lawyer to sit for the Bar. And I understand there is new legislation that may allow it to be easier for a foreign trained Esq, especially from AU to sit for the Bar. Since this is a 'top law' forum, I am assuming their are some pretty smart cookies on here. Is there anyone who is on this forum who has investigated going to school in Australia to receive their JD?

All thoughts and info are welcome.


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Postby Bob » Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:26 pm

You will find a listing of bar admission requirements here, including which states allow foreign qualified lawyers to sit for the bar (follow the link "Download a Copy of the Comprehensive Guide - FREE"):

I know that Australian universities are starting to require the LSAT for admission to their JD programs, but that is about it.

You might want to take a look at Monash University's Master of Laws (Legal Practice, Skills and Ethics) program, which also qualifies for the Australian bar, and in a shorter time period than the JD does, if I recall correctly.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby JDabroad » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:55 pm


I am also in your boat... I'd love to do a JD program abroad (particularly in Australia) and then return to the US to practice. I've read that there are 4 universities in Australia that do the require the LSAT and have a JD program structured the same way we do. Have you found any more information?


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Postby deucethejuice » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:57 pm

chancer, that is a great question, thank you for posting it! I have wondered the same thing. I made an inquiry into a few law programs in Australia about two years ago when I was in grad school...they couldn't have been nicer and sent me all the information. I didn't get the feeling that it was that hard to get in as long as I was willing to "buy" my way in and pay the full tuition. I don't think I even had to take the LSAT!! I felt like it was simply fill out the paperwork, send us a check, and welcome to Australia. I think I looked at the major law schools. In Sydney and Perth and Queensland.

I think it is a bit of a novelty to have an American going to their school and they like the diversity it adds to their class. I seriously considered it, but decided in the end that I couldn't afford to swing it. But I sort of regret that, so I say go for it if you can, especially if you have an interest in International Law or something that you could easily translate to US law and be a strong justification for why you went that route.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby biffied » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:24 am

Do you know the names of the schools? I only know of Bond University in Queensland.

Thanks :D

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby ozzie » Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:41 pm

If you are thinking about going to School in Australia, I would generally recommend sticking to the public universities and avoiding the newer, private institutions like Bond University.

The older, established schools have considerably higher reputations and attract stronger faculty and students. As a rule the private universities are for those who couldn't gain admission to the better programs.

Until relatively recently, for Australia students, tuition costs were largely borne by the government at the public schools but the admission numbers could be limited. The private schools were established as full-fee schools that would allow attendance by those who didn't meet academic standards at the public schools. Over the past several years, the burden of tuition costs have shifted more towards students, although total costs are still a relative bargain by US standards.

Because the universities can charge full fees to US students and the resulting income does not count against their amount of government funding, most schools tend to like foreign students a great deal.

Traditionally the law degree required for legal proactice in Australia has been the LLB (Bachelor of Laws). At some schools, this is still the only alternative but an increasing number of schools are also offering or changing to JDs.

My guess at the top five schools (in rough order) would be:
- University of New South Wales (in Sydeny
- University of Sydney
- University of Melbourne
- Monash University (Melbourne)
- University of Queensland (Brisbane)

Hope this information helps.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby biffied » Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:56 pm

Hey thanks so much for the reply. It helped a lot. I was wondering if the people you spoke to said anything about practicing in the US. I was going to take the New York Bar Prepration Program for Non-US Trained Attorneys at the University at Buffalo after I am done. I was also wondering if it is better to do a JD program or the LLB program?

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby ozzie » Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:12 am

I don't know anything specific about practicing in the US after training elsewhere - sounds like you have already looked into that somewhat.

There's probably not much difference between getting an LLB and a JD in Australia as far as how much and what type of law you would learn or how acceptable either degree was to the various state credentialling authorities, but you would probably have to do less informal explaining to people back in the US if you could just tell them that you had a JD. Not that that should be a reason by itself to select a particular program.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby son » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:10 am


Thats a good list. In terms of which cities to live in, I'd pick Sydney and Melbourne over any other Aussie city.

And just to back up Ozzie, yes, do stay away from private places like Bond. The best universities in Australia are the U. of X places with UNSW, USyd, UMelb, UAdelaide etc easily the best.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby suzy_chop » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:35 am

Training in Australia to work in the states does not strike me as a great idea, unless you are Australian. There are tremendous employment opportunities in Australia's booming economy. Why not train there to work there?

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby mikecw23 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:45 pm

Does anyone know what kind of money lawyers make in Australia?

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby iShotFirst » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:54 pm

I am not too aware of the Australia JD--> US idea but I just want to warn you to be 100% sure you can do it before you go.

I had a strange situation that relates to this, I have an MBA from Monash University in Melbourne. Coming here, employers respect it as a normal MBA, but when I signed up for LSAC, they judged it to be the fourth year of an American Bachelors program, since they have 3 year bachelors over there. This makes no sense as their three year programs are all specialization and almost no general education classes, but thats how it was classified.

Obviously its an entirely different situation but I just mean it as a cautionary tale to be 100% certain of your situation before you spend your money and time on this idea.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby Havaianas » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:57 am

Melbourne Uni requires the LSAT and although you still have to apply by paper they use LSAC. The deadlines are quite different than the US deadlines so keep your eyes open.
FWIW Brisbane is also a great - very livable city with GREAT weather but I dont know anything about UQ's law school.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby gdizz01 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:09 pm

I have been researching this heavily lately, and feel as though I'm starting to max out on information available online. I'll offer what pertinent points I have based on other people's comments:

Melbourne JD is recognized by the ABA (perhaps the only non-US/canadian school that is) and qualifies you to sit for the bar.

re: money AUS lawyers make- it is crap by US standards, but then again most places are. like UK lawyers, AUS prospectives go through a period of articling before becoming lisenced. Attorneys at the top firms start in the 50-60's, with the absolute best paying 75k to start I believe. The market there is bad like ours, and salaries are frozen at a lot of top firms.

The generally agreed upon ranking of AUS law schools typically involves ANU, U Syd and U Melbourne, although their relative positions is debated.

If your intention is to work in the states, but you want to be adventurous, get a change of scenery, etc., you will probably not be competitive for top jobs as there are plenty of US grads to go around. However, I believe that a viable route would be a first degree in aus, followed by an LLM at a top US school. This is probably a solid career path. Also, FYI U of Melbourne has a dual JD/JD and JD/LLM with NYU, and a JD/BCL or JD/MSc with Oxford. I drool over the thought of some of these degree combos, but could only imagine how competitive they are.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby mugrad06 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:27 pm

I saw this thread and was really curious. For those Australian schools that require the LSAT, how can you find out what what score range they accept? I was on Melbourne's site and couldn't find anything.

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Re: Australia JD to US

Postby jms1987 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:44 pm

I don't want to derail the OP's thread, but what about practicing law in Germany?

edit- just found some nice info on Cornell's website, regarding a dual degree program- ... d_mllp.cfm

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