I’m a grade 11 student studying in a CBSE school and am considering a career in law, primarily international and corporate law. Can I practice it in a country other than the one I studied it in?
As a student of law, you would be called upon to resolve complex and often intractable issues relating to a spectrum of topics ranging from trade to corporate to criminal law. Law is an excellent career choice for those with passion to resolve disputes. It is intellectually stimulating, challenging and extremely rewarding.
The path to become a lawyer is different in each country and the possibility of studying law in one country and practicing in another would be case specific. It is important to understand every country has its own sovereign law, so having studied in a different country would require you to read and understand the laws of the country you wish to reside in.
In the UK, to become a lawyer you could study LLB or a BA, BSc law first degree or do a degree in another subject and then take a law conversion course, the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). But should you plan to practice outside the UK, it would be prudent to pursue LLB as that qualification would be most easily recognised by (overseas) bar associations.
In addition to the English law, the LLB degree also offers EU law and international law as additional topics. They also have exchange agreements with French, German and few other European universities, where undergraduate students can spend one year of program studying the language and culture of the country.
Generally speaking, if you have studied outside the UK and would like to work there you would need to get your initial qualifications recognised by the bar association and then take the QTLS exam.
In USA the primary degree of law is JD or Juris Doctor which is a post graduate qualification and can be studied after completing a bachelor (in any subject). A bachelor’s degree in economics, history or international studies would benefit the overall world view for this course. You could specialise in international law or comparative law which is quite meaningful even for a non-citizen of USA.
To practice as a lawyer in USA the first step is to get your (original) law degree reviewed and approved by the American Bar Association. Once this is done you would need to clear the bar exam of the state you intend to reside in. By clearing the exam your prospects would be better than working as a law clerk or a foreign legal consultant. To be eligible to take the bar exam most states would require you to complete the JD, states like New York, California, New Hampshire, Alabama, Virginia do not insist on a JD and a foreign student could become eligible to take the exam by studying and acquiring an LLM degree. The LLM is a one-year program designed to give foreign trained lawyers immersion in US laws and a degree from an accredited law school in the US.
However, some areas of international law do have acceptance globally in specific fields. International law practice pertaining to law code relevant for world bodies like U.N. could be an example where the boundaries of countries don’t play any role. Same could be said about the EU. The relevance of specialisation is the crucial factor as the spectrum in international law can range from international trade to international relations to international criminal issues.