There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 2)

I continue on from Part 1 of this post, in which I was answering a long and worry-filled question:

(The question continues…)
i heard from a lawyer friend of mine that i still stand a chance to become a lawyer if i take the NY bar exam, come back HK to work as a foreign lawyer for some time and take the QLQE to get myself locally qualified. so my questions are as followed:

1. i hv read the website of NY Bar exam but i am still unsure about says that i hv to be admitted to practice law in a foreign country or If i am not admitted to practice law in a foreign country, submit proof of the educational requirements for admission to practice law in my country and proof from the bar admission authorities that i have fulfilled these requirements–> does it mean i must already be a qualified lawyer or hv the qualification to be admitted as a lawyer in hk?

Bella, having qualified in NY the “usual” way, I actually don’t know the process for becoming eigible to take the NY bar exam as a foreigner.  My understanding was that most people – including already practicing lawyers in foreign jurisdictions – have to take a 9 month LLM program from a an ABA-approved law school before they are eligible to do so.  However, I just had a look at the rules myself, and it looks like those with a foreign legal education background may qualify by EITHER showing that their law education was similar in duration and substance OR that they are admitted to practice in a common law jurisdiction, upon completion of an accredited law education.

However, note that to be eligible via this route, there is an application and review process that can apparently take at least 6 months and a non-refundable fee of US$750.  This is probably one of the most common reasons so many UK lawyers still opt to do an LLM.  Also, if you enroll in a strong LLM program, your likelihood of finding a good job in the US are also increased, as these schools are typically supported by wonderful employment programs.

So based on what little I’ve been able to interpret from some very complicated rules, it appears that you can either go through a legnthy process to try to prove that your legal education is equivalent or yes, you do have to be admitted to practice in HK (which would require the PCLL and training) and have gone to an accredited school.

I have heard, though that quite a lot of HK grads DO take the NY bar exam, and there is even a NY bar exam review course given locally.  So it certainly is a possible path.

2. am i eligible for the NY bar exam as i am only a llb holder? must i study llm in the states?

I think given the above analysis, you don’t HAVE to have an LLM from the US.  However, your extension course – the graduate diploma in law or CPE –  which was 1 or 2 years in duration, is highly unlikely to meet the durational equivalency, since JD programs in the US are 3 years.  It appears you can take courses to supplement and “cure” this insufficiency, but yit also appears that you have to take these courses from ABA approved schools in the United States.

I think chances are, without taking further education in some shape or form, you are probably ineligible to take the NY bar exam — but don’t quote me on it, since my so-called “expertise” is on foreign lawyers becoming HK qualified!

Stay tuned for Part 3…


One response to “There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 3 – final) | Because It's Time

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