Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay? Forum

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shadypinesma

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Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by shadypinesma » Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:04 pm

Hi everyone. :)

I haven't been on this board in a while! I ended up graduating with a 3.82 LSAC GPA and have a 177 LSAT under my belt. For personal reasons I have decided to put off applying to law school until sometime next year. In the meantime (and truthfully on and off since 2009 which is why it took me so long to graduate from undergrad in the first place lol), I've been living in Italy and absolutely love it here. I still have intentions on going for my JD but I am absolutely positive that I want to work for a US firm in Europe (preferably Italy).

How much of a pipe dream is this? Is it reasonable? What do I need to do to make it happen?

If you are an American attorney working in Europe, I want to hear from you!


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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:22 pm

I’m a US lawyer in London. It’s possible and it happens, but it’s usually Europeans who go to the US to get a JD/LLM and return home to Paris, Madrid, Milan, etc. These lawyers tend to be qualified in a European jurisdiction as well.

Are you fluent in Italian? Latham has a Milan office with some US qualified attorneys. I’m sure there are a few others.

Casper123

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Casper123 » Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:22 pm
I’m a US lawyer in London. It’s possible and it happens, but it’s usually Europeans who go to the US to get a JD/LLM and return home to Paris, Madrid, Milan, etc. These lawyers tend to be qualified in a European jurisdiction as well.

Are you fluent in Italian? Latham has a Milan office with some US qualified attorneys. I’m sure there are a few others.
So I looked at the other quoted thread and the suggestion that LW Milan has a bunch of US attorneys doing US law seemed so strange that I looked at the profiles of all associates in that office. There is not a single associate who does not have an Italian law degree. Rather, it's just the typical first local law degree + US LLM that you will see in most EU offices of US firms.

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 18, 2021 6:30 pm

Casper123 wrote:
Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:22 pm
I’m a US lawyer in London. It’s possible and it happens, but it’s usually Europeans who go to the US to get a JD/LLM and return home to Paris, Madrid, Milan, etc. These lawyers tend to be qualified in a European jurisdiction as well.

Are you fluent in Italian? Latham has a Milan office with some US qualified attorneys. I’m sure there are a few others.
So I looked at the other quoted thread and the suggestion that LW Milan has a bunch of US attorneys doing US law seemed so strange that I looked at the profiles of all associates in that office. There is not a single associate who does not have an Italian law degree. Rather, it's just the typical first local law degree + US LLM that you will see in most EU offices of US firms.
Anon above. Yes, this is exactly what I said was common in my original post.

You will find some lawyers in continental Europe who hold only a US JD, but these people tend to have attended international private high schools followed by US college and US law school. Seems that most of these people are children of diplomats/international business people who return to their native country after completing their education.

If you have a JD from a top school and speak/write Italian fluently, you may be able to convince a firm to let you sit in Milan and work on London and Milan capital markets deals.

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 19, 2021 2:28 pm

It's definitely fair to say that there are borderline no positions in Europe at US law firms employing US JDs that do not have an additional local qualification and fluency in the local language. Way more than half of all US-qualified associates are in London to begin with (in the case of Italy, many US law firms run their Italian practice, to the degree they really have one, out of London). I have known senior lawyers to operate out of Paris and Frankfurt, in both cases to accommodate a partner needing to relocate rather than because the firm wanted it, but they had a lot of institutional cred and experience at that point, and they were both fluent in local language.

As a practical matter, American attorneys are very expensive relative to European attorneys, so a biglaw firm will almost always prefer to have their Italian/German/French associates do the relevant work instead of a US-qualified individual.

It's certainly not impossible to get a US JD and end up practicing in Italy, but if you have a strong desire to have a career in Italy in a US law firm with a US legal education, that's a hard situation to make happen.

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:26 pm

I’ve only ever seen it (in my very limited experience) with US attorneys based in London

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:50 am

Not for US pay. Salaries are in line with local market in continental European offices - and that’s way way lower. Many don’t offer health insurance or 401k. You’ll be working as much as a NY associate (or more- heavily understaffed deals) for a fraction of the money. And quality of work is often not at the same level, so you won’t be learning as much (and will be very frustrated).

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by nealric » Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:50 am
Not for US pay. Salaries are in line with local market in continental European offices - and that’s way way lower. Many don’t offer health insurance or 401k. You’ll be working as much as a NY associate (or more- heavily understaffed deals) for a fraction of the money. And quality of work is often not at the same level, so you won’t be learning as much (and will be very frustrated).
This is not true. I have a friend who worked in Paris for U.S. pay for a few years (international arbitration). I also have a family member who went over to London as a partner for a few years.

It's semi-common in capital markets in London/HK/Singapore, and there's traditionally a COLA on top of U.S. pay. When I was in law school, there were a few firms that explicitly recruited for ex-pat roles. Most of the people who got them had some sort of "hook" for going abroad (foreign language fluency, banking experience in the jurisdiction, etc.). I'm guessing with Brexit and the troubles in HK, these positions are more rare than they used to be, but they do exist.

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:45 pm

But it's still the case that it's mostly in London. At this stage of your career, you can't plan around doing this in Italy, whereas London is a realistic option and you may not even need to do a US JD (in fact it would be unusual if you did).

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Re: Kind of a niche question. Do US-qualified attorneys ever work for US firms in Europe for US pay?

Post by nealric » Mon Sep 26, 2022 5:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:45 pm
But it's still the case that it's mostly in London. At this stage of your career, you can't plan around doing this in Italy, whereas London is a realistic option and you may not even need to do a US JD (in fact it would be unusual if you did).
True- you aren't going to find a job paying U.S. salary in Italy.

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