8 reasons to consider law school abroad
If you're a high school student enthralled by old re-runs of shows like The Practice (one of my favs), Law & Order or the modern day classics of Suits and Better Call Saul, maybe you've pictured yourself one day standing in a courtroom of your own.
Maybe you've also had extensive practice on the Debate Team at your school or if you're lucky enough to have one, a Mooting Society.
You've probably then been told by your guidance counselors or teachers that you should look into Pre-Law majors at colleges across the U.S.
But how about another thought... what if you skipped the Pre in Pre-Law?
You can do this - if you apply for law school abroad.
In the U.S. the typical route toward becoming a lawyer by completing a 4-year undergraduate program followed by a 3-year Juris Doctor degree, totalling seven years of studies.
However, it's a little known fact (amongst American students anyway) that you can apply directly to a law program straight out of high school in most countries overseas (a Bachelor of Laws degree, or LLB).
In most cases, the degrees are only three years as well.
What does that mean?
You can save yourself four years of studies simply by enrolling in a law program overseas!
Think about how much money you could save by cutting out four years of tuition and living costs - and how much you could start earning simply by getting out into the workplace sooner.
Want to save on student loans? This is a great solution.
You just need to know for sure that a law degree is what you want to do because it's difficult to change majors overseas once you get started.
Sometimes no essays or test to apply
Depending on where you apply, you may not even need to write an essay, personal statement or take any sort of exam like the LSAT to get in!
This would save you both time, money and anxiety in the stressful law school application process back home.
Want to learn how to apply for college in the UK? Check out this self-guided module!
Specialize in a unique field of study
Nowadays, it's not enough just to know about law.
If you want to make yourself really competitive in the market, you need to have specialist knowledge on top of that.
For example, at universities overseas, you can do a double degree with law and fields such as media, engineering, arts, business, science, psychology and more.
At the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, you can also do a double degree in Data Science & Decisions/Law, a 5.5-year degree that has employers lining up to get a list of students that they can quickly snatch up for 6-figure starting salaries, given how few lawyers there are with this type of knowledge.
That's what I call job security.
Wondering how to find the right universities abroad? Check out these DIY college search resources.
Incorporate an American legal study experience into the degree
Did you know? Some universities abroad have partnerships in the U.S., in which students spend time studying or interning there as a component of their degrees.
For example, Birmingham City University in the UK is home to the Centre for American Legal Studies, a centre of excellence for the study of U.S. law.
The academics who teach and research at this centre happen to be experts in U.S. legal topics such as the death penalty, wrongful convictions and equal protection.
And one of the most interesting features is that any student enrolled in their Law with American Legal Studies program has the opportunity to undertake the U.S. internship with an attorney, a program that has been running for more than 20 years.
This is an excellent way to combine a foreign perspective on the U.S. legal system with an up close and personal experience of your own.
International law/EU law experts wanted
A law degree from abroad will give you the ability to draw on perspectives from a variety of legal systems around the world, especially given law is becoming increasingly international.
Comparative law is also a field that's growing in importance because of this.
Tilburg University in the Netherlands, for example, offers a really interesting 3-year Bachelor of Global Laws taught in English, which combines insights from multiple legal systems around the world.
Armed with a global perspective, graduates from these types of programs will be ready to take the lead in transnational conflicts.
Practice overseas (better benefits!)
Many countries offer graduates the opportunity to remain on a post-study work visa, so you'd have the chance to qualify as a lawyer (or solicitor/barrister, etc.) and work abroad.
In addition to the fantastic opportunity to put global work experience on your resume, you may find that the workplace benefits are better overseas than in the U.S., too - and you may actually have a life outside the office (you know, that whole work-life balance thing that's hard to come by here).
Bringing a law degree back to the U.S.
On the other hand, American students wishing to return to the U.S. and practice as lawyers can do so pretty easily, depending on the state in which they wish to practice.
New York and California are two of the most friendly states toward foreign-trained lawyers.
In New York, foreign law graduates can sit for the Bar straight away and then validate it in another state if necessary.
In the end, if you decide that practicing law is not what you want to do after you complete the degree, that's totally fine; you've still managed to save yourself many years of studies - and having that law degree will still make you highly employable in other industries.