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HELP!!!!! Can a UK LLB, and LLM be used in the US

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Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 2
HELP!!!!! Can a UK LLB, and LLM be used in the US
Tue Jan 31, 2006 07:11 PM

Can anyone tell me whether my UK LLB and LLM will be as recognised by employers in the US, as it is in the UK?

Is there a conversion course that one must take in order to start practicing in the US with a UK LLB and LLM?

Also, can one do the bar exam without actually attending a bar course? Are there books, guides etc to read which prepares you for the exam, without actually attending a class?

Finally, how expensive is it to do the bar exam in the US??

Please help.

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Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 157
HELP!!!!! Can a UK LLB, and LLM be used in the US
Wed Feb 01, 2006 01:56 AM
In my view, although US adopted most Common Law rule from UK, US has been developing its own law system which,I think, quite different from UK now. Therefore, it is necessary to study US Law.(maybe J.D. or LL.M.)
Moreover, there are almost a million of praticing lawyers now in US, therefore it's very competitive.
I do not know about attending a bar course. But what bar do you want to know about? (NY bar or CA bar which are eligible for LL.M.?)
I estimate the cost of taking bar exam not less than 10,000 USD including tuition fee, books and living expense.
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 48
HELP!!!!! Can a UK LLB, and LLM be used in the US
Sun Feb 26, 2006 01:02 AM
No, your UK LLB and UK LLM will not be recognized by United States law firms as it is in the UK. US firms don't consider those to be the equivilant of a JD, which is what they look for 99% of the time when hiring associates. I'm not saying that it's right, it's just a fact of life here and no matter what, you're not going to change their minds (unless you work for an international law firm in the UK, and they have an office somewhere in the United States, and you're able to transfer offices).

That being said, some foreign law graduates have been able to find employment in the US after doing an American LLM program. Many of these positions are temporary, like for 6 months, 9 months, or 1 year. Those are somewhat common to get if you do a LLM at places like Harvard and NYU. It is much harder to get a permanent associate position, but not completely impossible. I know a couple Australian students at my school who have received permanent job offers with large American law firms. But they also had about 3 years of experience working in Australia.

There is no course or process you can go through to start practicing law in the US, with your LLB and LLM degrees. In order to practice law in the US, you must be admitted to the bar of a state. Not all states allow foreign trained attorneys/law graduates to take their bar exam.

I am not fully aware of the requirements in New York that one must meet to take the bar exam (because I'm American), but I think you may have to do an American LLM course in order to qualify to sit for the New York bar exam. In California a American LLM isn't required, but if you have no American schooling you have to go through an approval process and submit all of your records from your legal and college schooling, so they can determine whether they think your schooling is equivilant to the minimum requirements.

In terms of taking a bar course, it is not required, but mostly everyone takes one. Most people take BarBri. When I took it, 2 years ago for California, it cost about $2,800. Then you have to think about paying rent, buying food, etc. for the 2-3 months you prepare for the exam. It also costs money to take the exam -- around $1,000 for California, and probably $500 for New York.

A bar course is not required, and there are books you can buy, tapes, etc. to use to study on your own. They range in price. The best thing about the bar study course is that it gives you structure and really tells you how to prepare and how to tackle the actual exam. It's hard to learn that from books.

Some people work during that time (part time or full time) but from what I've seen, its a very bad idea, because you don't have enough time to fully prepare to pass.

As far as a total budget for the bar exam....thats hard to calculate because it depends on where you live, what state's bar you're taking, how cheaply you can live, etc. But consider that you will pay somewhere around $2,500 for the NY BarBri course. Then there's $500 or so of application fees. Then you have to pay rent and living expenses for about 2.5 months while you study and take the bar. Rent can be very expensive if you're coming to New York or another major city.

Good luck with whatever you plan to do!
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Joined: 19 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
HELP!!!!! Can a UK LLB, and LLM be used in the US
Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:37 AM
Cal and NY - LLB is sufficient

About 1/2 the states - need an LLM

Other 1/2 - full JD

Lousiana - forget it

Very few firms hire w/out a JD w/out prior international experience or a sought after language (chinese etc)

Cost of Bar Bri, registration, plus 3 months living costs - dunno for NY, but Cal is about $10,000. LA and SF are as expensive as London for accom, if not more so.
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Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 35
HELP!!!!! Can a UK LLB, and LLM be used in the US
Mon Feb 27, 2006 04:24 PM
I have an LL.B from ireland and sat and passed the New York Bar last year. I thought all the courses were too expensive and didn't want to go to the US to do a bar review course. so I ordered books online from Micromash. I studied at home for 6 weeks - about 4 hours a day. The exam is really not that hard - micromash even give you a money back guarantee if you fail - provided you complete your assignments. The only catch is you have to go to albany to sit teh exam but if you are willing to do that don't waste your money on Barbri or those lectures in Holborn.
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