Grow into a barrister: how to prepare yourself to getting a legal education abroad
Legal education can promise an excellent career prospects and turn into a “suitcase without a handle” as soon as its owner crosses the state border and finds himself in the neighboring jurisdiction. Especially if it belongs to another legal field, this is what awaits for those who have English as their only foreign language. The CEO of the AcademConsult educational agency, Irina Sledieva, tells us what should be foreseen when going for a legal diploma to the territory of Anglo-Saxon law.
Start planning as early as possible
If you want to study at a top-rated university, they will definitely look at your average grade. If your grade (GPA) is not high enough try to retake all the disciplines in which you have low marks. Usually such universities admit the graduates who are in the top 10% list of academic progress.
In some countries it is required to pass complex professional examinations for admission to the master’s degree in law school (e.g. LSAT). If you want to be successfully enrolled, you should get prepared in advance: find an experienced teacher, study the necessary literature and improve the knowledge of the language of the country you will be going to.
If your average grade is not enough or you do not have a high enough level of English or you are not ready to pass another entrance tests, it makes sense to enter the preparatory program. It will provide you with all the necessary skills for studying. You will pass the exams and will be able to be easily enrolled to your chosen university.
Decide as to the degree
The variants usually are:
Undergraduate (degree LLB and others): duration is 3-4 years, the main requirement is knowledge of the language (sometimes another 1-4 exams on the subjects).
Postgraduate (degrees LLM, MBA in Law and others): duration is 1-3 years, basic requirements are knowledge of the language and often a bachelor’s degree in law (sometimes even a work experience).
Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma (for those who change the direction of their activities): duration is 5-12 months, basic requirements are knowledge of the language and a higher education.
Doctorate (degree PHD): duration is from 3 years, basic requirements are knowledge of the language and a higher education in law.
Juris Doctorate (JD): duration is 3 years, basic requirements are knowledge of the language, a bachelor’s degree (Pre-Law). This is an analogue of legal Doctorate in the USA, Canada and Australia.
Choose a country
If after graduation you want to work abroad, look for a country which visa rules are loyal to graduates from local universities. This, for example, are Canada, Australia, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, the USA, Spain, Italy, France, Cyprus.
In Great Britain, this shall mean a lawyer who prepares materials for consideration in the courts and/or works as a legal adviser.
A lawyer of a higher rank than the solicitor who pleads before the court.
In this case, one should get a degree in the law (LLB). Then take courses in Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Professional Skills Course, if you want to become a solicitor or complete a course in Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and complete the practice if you plan to work as a barrister.
“Before a student visa Tier 4 expires, the student must receive an offer from an employer, who may become the so-called sponsor for a work visa [Tier 2]” said a spokesman for Anglia Ruskin University. The university will help to find a job: for example, Middlesex University regularly organizes job fairs, helps graduates to write CVs and cover letters, prepares for interviews and supports those who start their own law practice.
Examples of tuition fee per year at a law school in England:
- BPP University, Undergraduate, full time — 7.9 thousand pounds
- BPP University, certificate, full time — 10 thousand pounds
- Middlesex University, Postgraduate, full time — 12.9 thousand pounds
Education structure: after graduation, a foreign student can look for a job for 14 months; and those who have studied at the professional certificate or diploma programs (for at least 9 months) can count on a one-year paid internship.
Examples of tuition fee per year at a law school in the USA:
- Santa Barbara City College, diploma of higher, full time — $7.9 thousand.
- University Of New Haven, Undergraduate, full time — $16 thousand — $32 thousand.
- St Thomas University, Postgraduate, full time — $20 thousand — $25 thousand.
The duration of a work permit after graduation from a college or university depends on the duration of the program on which the student was studying; usually it is 2-3 years. With Canadian education, you can relatively easily obtain a residence permit, and in a few years apply for citizenship.
Examples of tuition fee per year at a law school in Canada
- Fanshawe College, diploma of higher, full time — 13 thousand –14 thousand CAD
- Royal Roads University, Undergraduate, full time — 15 thousand . CAD
- Royal Roads University, Postgraduate, full time — 24 thousand CAD
- Seneca College, certificate, full time — 13 thousand CAD
Undergraduates and postgraduates can stay in the country for up to 2 years; graduates of research programs – up to 3 years; doctorates up to 4 years. A diploma from a local university gives advantages in obtaining a residence permit.
Examples of tuition fee per year at a law school in Australia:
- Southern Cross University, Undergraduate, full time — 24 thousand AUD
Foreign graduates receive a work visa and can build a career in both the private and public sector.
Examples of tuition fee per year at a law school on Cyprus:
- Neapolis University, Undergraduate, full time — €7.3 thousand.
- UCLAN Cyprus, Postgraduate, full time — €8.9 thousand.