UK Student's Prospects in the USA

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MrAdams
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UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby MrAdams » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:08 pm

Hello,

I have been lurking on this website for a while. I must say the quality of the posts, posters and articles is nothing short of exceptional. I am sure that my December LSAT will be a walk in the park if I follow the advice and guidance of the posters here.

I have joined because I would like to know realistically what kind of law schools I may be accepted into in order to focus and therefore tailor my applications. Specifically Californian law schools. I am currently expecting to graduate with an LLB with honours from a top 15 UK law school (top 10 two years ago, but that is how our rankings go..) with a 2:1 degree; a 1:1 degree if I work hard enough this final year. In addition I have earned 375 UCAS points in high school. I make this note due to the fact Magic, Silver and US city firms now require prospective trainees to have earned 350 UCAS points in addition to a 2:1 degree in order to be considered for a training contract.

I am not sure how these grades match up against the GPA requirements that US law school's seek. I have good legal experience, good academic experience on exchange years and in mooting competitions and enough city firm experience to be confident to be considered seriously for a contract with a top City firm. I have spent so much time in California on holiday visiting friends however that I wish to take the leap into US law in order to eventually live here (I am currently in America, hence the December LSAT). If anyone has any idea or advice of what schools I would realistically be in with a chance of being accepted to that would be great. I hope you say UCLA or USC is realistic..

kevin261186
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby kevin261186 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:21 pm

You will have to prove that you can finance your entire first year of education if you hope to matriculate into most US law schools. Then when a you graduate you will need to get into big law in order to obtain a work visa to stay indefinitely.

It is a big hill to climb. You could consider doing your training contract in London then try to move to the US office of one of the big city firms.

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MrAdams
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby MrAdams » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:27 pm

I presumed proving you could finance your whole first year was a mandatory requirement for everyone? I have thought hard about applying solely to US firms in London and then making the jump, but that would take a good number of years and I would rather pick up sticks at the end of this coming academic year.

But yeah, my question, if anyone knows and better phrased now, is how well do foreign grades and law degrees transfer over to the States? That should tell me what level of schools I should be applying to and expect to be accepted to as a result.

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kazu
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby kazu » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:46 pm

MrAdams wrote:I presumed proving you could finance your whole first year was a mandatory requirement for everyone? I have thought hard about applying solely to US firms in London and then making the jump, but that would take a good number of years and I would rather pick up sticks at the end of this coming academic year.

But yeah, my question, if anyone knows and better phrased now, is how well do foreign grades and law degrees transfer over to the States? That should tell me what level of schools I should be applying to and expect to be accepted to as a result.


Is an LLB a graduate degree or an undergraduate one? I know that law is usually an undergrad degree in the UK but that you can also do it as a graduate degree.

If you intend on getting a JD (standard law degree), not an LLM (specialized course for people who have a JD or a foreign JD-equivalent) your undergrad GPA will be the main focus. LSAC will rank your GPA (Superior, Above Average, Average, Below Average etc.) instead of giving it a numerical U.S. GPA equivalent. I believe that Upper second class honors is an Above Average, while a First would be a Superior. Therefore, you should work extra hard in your final year...

However, the most important thing would be your LSAT score, not your GPA. This is especially the case for international students.

If you're looking for an LLM program... someone else is going to have to answer :oops:

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Veyron
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby Veyron » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:51 pm

Yep, its all about the LSAT.

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MrAdams
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby MrAdams » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:05 pm

Alright, thanks guys, I appreciate your responses. Yeah, as soon as I get home these next four months are going to be pretty intense going for a 95+% LSAT. I have read a lot about the interest US law schools place on it and understand it's importance. It is a shame that we do not have to take the test back home so thank god for the internet and the advice it brings.

Yes, our law degree is an undergraduate course. I don't want to take an LLM because I have heard several times that they rarely help foreign law students graduate into a US firm and you have to self study the bar at the same time - no bueno. I have friends here who are happy to sponsor me into their private (non-law) businesses... I would just rather be a lawyer. I have spoken to partners and associates at US law firms in London who have confirmed that they do transfers all the time, but that would be years away. So yeah, I am really shooting to get into a law school there,... any law school. I must note, in contrast to most people here, that I am not shooting for a t14. UCLA is to the best of my knowledge 15 and USC is 18.

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yuzu
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby yuzu » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:45 pm

MrAdams wrote:But yeah, my question, if anyone knows and better phrased now, is how well do foreign grades and law degrees transfer over to the States? That should tell me what level of schools I should be applying to and expect to be accepted to as a result.

Your transcript is evaluated by AACRAO (http://www.lsac.org/JD/Apply/cas-internationally-educated-apps.asp), and some weight is given to it. However, I don't think it counts in the way that a GPA otherwise would.
If you've ever taken a class in the US (study abroad, etc.), I think your grade in that class might count as a GPA.

MrAdams wrote:I must note, in contrast to most people here, that I am not shooting for a t14.

Keep in mind that this can hurt your chances of finding good legal employment. For whatever reason, America cares much more about the school you attended than Europe does.

MrAdams wrote:I presumed proving you could finance your whole first year was a mandatory requirement for everyone?

US citizens are essentially guaranteed financing through loans from the federal government; these aren't available to foreign students. In any case, it is not the school that cares, but the immigration authorities (USCIS): they don't want to have to bear the cost of deporting you if you run out of money.

Pip
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby Pip » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:38 am

I knew several LLMs that were international students. The ones that wanted to work in US firms got jobs as easily as if they had been JDs. So i'm not sure why you think it would be a problem. You also realize that you would be able to get a LLM in 2 years (the LLM is only a 1 year program but for the international student they had to do 2 years) instead of the 3 for a JD? So again, there is a benefit to the LLM in saving you at least 40 thousand dollars... Frankly I would suggest you look at the LLMs as in some instances you would find it easier to get into them than into a JD program... the JD is for people that honestly have no legal training, you going into it would not be a very good fit especially in the first year when you would be doing alot of basic BS that you had already had, especially since you are from a UK system that is similar to the US system.
Last edited by Pip on Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MrAdams
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Re: UK Student's Prospects in the USA

Postby MrAdams » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:44 pm

Given the board this thread is on, I feel the conversation is getting a bit off-topic. Going to make a new thread in 'Forum for Law Students', sorry mods.




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