Will international law degrees transfer?
This week’s podcast discusses international law degrees and their transferability into the United States legal system, i.e., whether students who obtained their legal degrees outside of the U.S. can practice law in America. Our experts today are John Riccardi, assistant dean for Graduate and International Programs and director of the Office of Graduate and International Programs at Boston University School of Law, and Herbert Larson, professor at Tulane University Law School.
John Riccardi explains that, when it comes to international law degrees, whether or not international students can practice in the United States depends on the state that they would like to practice in. Each state, he says, has its own requirements when it comes to internationally-educated law graduates and will have different bar requisites. In order to make the transition in the U.S. legal system easier and more seamless, Dean Riccardi suggests that internationally-educated students consider applying to and undertaking an LL.M. program, which will allow them to not only become familiar with the U.S. legal system, but also obtain a student visa (which they can then transfer to a work visa upon graduation). He encourages students considering an LL.M. program to seek one which integrates J.D. classes into its curriculum—in this way, the student’s U.S. law knowledge base will increase while also making it easier for him or her to find legal employment post-graduation.
Our other guest, Professor Herbert Larson, agrees with Dean Riccardi and reiterates that practicing in the United States for an international law student is mostly up to the regulations and requirements of the individual states. He also emphasizes that most states don’t recognize foreign law degrees and, like Dean Riccardi, recommends that internationally-educated law graduates work towards receiving an LL.M. degree from a U.S. law school and then sit for the bar in that same state in order to maximize their chances of finding gainful legal employment.
John Riccardi – Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Programs and Director of the Office of Graduate and International Programs at Boston University School of Law
Herbert Larson – Professor at Tulane University Law School