There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 3 – final)

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo for me (it appears some people choose any month to NaBloPoMo – but November is it for me), and fittingly, I finally finish this post on my “Shortcut” series.   Following from Part 2 of this long question, it continues:

3. some say that its 2 years while some say its 3 years of working experience as a foreign lawyer in hk before i could start taking the QLQE , may i know which is true?

I recently re-checked the Law Society’s rules and it is still 2 years’ of work experience required before a foreign lawyer is eligible to take the OLQE.

4. i am also rather confused if i can only work as a foreign legal consultant or i can work as a foreign lawyer in hk after applying to be a FRL?

You must must MUST be a properly registered foreign lawyer in Hong Kong if you want that legal experience to count towards your application fo rthe OLQE – whether it is to get the 2 years to become eligible to take the exam of the 5 years needed for certain exemptions.  If you are a foreign legal consultant, your time will NOT count!

5. would it be hard for me to obtain a job in hk if i could pass the NY bar exam successfully ? is the only job i can find available in some city/ international law firm? i am worried they may not consider me as i do not hv good llb result

If you’re talking about a job as a registered foreign lawyer in Hong Kong with NY bar admissions, chances are you will only be able to work at firms that would desire that admission – and yes, that would be international firms (whether US firms or the British “city firms” you refer to).  These firms are very competitive and typically recruit from the very best, and as an NQ (newly qualified) your NY admissions alone will not be enough to get you a job.  You will absolutely have to have top grades, if no other relevant work experience. 

Local firms will have no use for you as a NY qualified lawyer (though in my previous post, I fear you may not even be able to take the NY bar exam on the qualifications you’ve described to me so far).   Also, they will need to have someone who is also NY qualified to supervise you, since you are under 2 PQE, and at most local firms, there are no NY qualified lawyers.

thank you so so so so much for taking the time to answer these questions. im really grateful that i can benefit from the information at your site!!!!

hv a nice day, looking forwards to your reply =]

a lost bella

I feel terrible because my reply does not inspire much confidence I’m afraid.  I also feel terrible, again, for answering so late.

But then there was another follow-up question:

  • sorry but last question, must i practice in the states for some time before i can come back to hk to apply for QLQE? if so, is there any way to waive this requirement? thanks so much

    As I mentioned at the top of this post, you need to have two years’ experience in the practice of foreign law to be eligible to take the OLQE.  You can theoretically get that in Hong Kong, though it is not easy to do so, but these are the rules and there is no waiver.

    The whole point in offering this alternative method of admissions for Hong Kogn solicitors is to recognize that experienced overseas lawyers should not need to start from scratch — so they absolutely need experience in the first place.  Two years is probably the requirement because by the “normal” route, a two year training contract is required before the motion is made for admission, so in a sense, this experience requirement sort of equalizes the inexperienced to-be lawyers with the foreign lawyers.

    And once again, I just have to conclude that there’s no such thing as a shortcut – especially when it comes to becoming a lawyer in Hong Kong.  It can be a wonderful, fulfilling profession, as I have happily found in the 1+ years I’ve been qualified and practicing Hong Kong law, but it is not easy to get here.

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