Law degree and practicing abroad

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Law degree and practicing abroad

Post by mandrewsf » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:48 pm

I'm working in the public sector at the moment (international law, specifically trade law-related), and I am thinking about going to law school in order to ultimately find a springboard to move outside of the U.S. for a host of personal reasons. Somewhere in East or Southeast Asia is my preferred destination due to my cultural background and language proficiency, but I am interested generally in the options available to U.S. JDs outside of the U.S. Ideally, I'd like to practice in an area related to what I'm doing right now.

Given my preferences, is it reasonable for me to consider law school? And does it matter which program I pick or the geographical region in which the law school is based?

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Re: Law degree and practicing abroad

Post by Redamon1 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:30 pm

Most foreign legal jobs will require you to be licensed in the country where you practice. A US JD usually won’t help you get that license. Some countries may allow US-barred attorneys to be admitted to practice locally but the requirements vary (supplemental coursework in the country, work requirements, exams, etc.). You should research the licensing requirements in your preferred region.

A few foreign jobs may be fine with a US JD and US license. These exceptions include some foreign offices of some large US law firms (and even then, many typically prefer or require a local license as well) and international organizations. Both of these are competitive career paths that require a degree from a top US school.

Also important: the prestige of the school in the country/region where you want to go. Ask around; prestige there won’t perfectly match the T14 pecking order. For example, Georgetown and Berkeley have in some regions greater name recognition than, say, Michigan, NU, NYU, UVA or Chicago.

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