If you're gearing up for law school or are a J.D. in search of an LL.M., perhaps it's time to start thinking outside the continental box. Studying abroad is a great, and sometimes once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity to broaden your education and experience and the good news is that it's not limited to undergraduates.
Read on to learn more about law schools in Asia and whether law school abroad is right for you.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis
Going to law school abroad does come with its share of challenges -- especially for lawyers. First and foremost are the jurisdictional restrictions. You can't practice law in the U.S. with a foreign law degree unless, of course, you pass a U.S. bar exam and meet all of the other practice requirements for a state (many of which require U.S. law degrees).
However, setting that aside, there are many lawyers who have American-earned J.D.s, but who don't technically "practice" the law. An example would be a New York licensed attorney working as a professor in California or a law school graduate working for an international corporation outside of their jurisdiction of practice.
If you're looking for a less conventional legal career, going to law school in Asia could present a unique opportunity to become a sought after specialist in some of the world's fastest growing economies. Asia, for example, is home to at least 6 of the top 10 emerging markets according to Bloomberg. The ability to practice law in such countries and the experience of living abroad could position you well for employment with international corporations seeking to invest in Asia. Often these firms are looking to recruit attorneys with legal experience that's not unique to the U.S. After all, positions with an international corporation could include:
- Foreign regulatory/compliance specialists;
- International trade specialists;
- Maritime specialists; and
- Country lead attorneys.
In many cases, an ideal hire for an international corporation with operations in Asia would be someone with legal experience in the relevant area and who has an understanding of local institutions, cultures and languages. Such a deep understanding is something that you could really only acquire if studying abroad.
Going to law school in Asia can also put you at the forefront of social and political reform in the golden age of another country's historical trajectory. Once referred to as the "third wave of democracy," many countries in Asia have been engaging in economic innovation ever since. Working as an attorney for an international human rights organization or non-governmental organization could put you right in the heart of the development process.
How Can I Find a Law School in Asia?
U.S. News and World Report is probably best known for its rankings of U.S. law schools, but it's also a good source of information about universities in Asia, as it has its own list ranking top schools in Asia. That being said, below is a list of some of the better known law schools in the region.
University of Batangas
|South Pacific Islands|
Taking Your Next Steps
The decision to go to law school, regardless of the location, is an important one that often involves seemingly incomplete answers to ever increasing questions. The key for you is to have access to quality information and resources from those who've been in your shoes. As you move forward, let the attorneys at FindLaw for Law Students be your go-to guide for all your law school questions.