Jump to content
Indlaw

Osgoode vs UC Irvine

Recommended Posts

Hello all, 

I am an engineer and an MBA from India with eight years of full-time work experience in India. I have obtained a Canadian PR as well as admits to Osgoode and UC Irvine (California) for their JD programs starting this fall. Osgoode would cost me 75K CAD + living expenses (assuming 120K since I would be living with my wife and kid) while UC Irvine has given me a full ride so it would cost me about 120K CAD. 

My aim is to work in biglaw as a transactional lawyer and since I am making good money already but taking 3 years off for law school, I would prefer to maximize my salary at least for a few years after law school. 

Now, UC Irvine has consistently placed about 35% of its batch in biglaw or federal clerkships, which means I need to be at least in the top one-third to be competitive for a biglaw job in the US. And I assume I would need to be in the top third at Osgoode for a good shot at TO biglaw. 

I would ideally want to work in the US (given the high starting salaries there) and then move to Canada after a couple of years where I would like to eventually settle down since I would be able to live as a permanent resident unlike in the US where I have to stay on an H1B visa. 

I would like to get your views on the decision I have to make given my above-stated goals and the difficulty in lateral-ing to Canadian biglaw firms after working in the US (would also like to understand your views on trying to find a job in Canada - biglaw or otherwise - in the scenario where I am unable to secure a biglaw position out of UC Irvine if I head there. Please also note that if I study in the US, I need to secure a biglaw position because no other employer will sponsor my H1B visa)

Thanks so much for your time.  

P.S. - I do have admits from Cornell and Fordham but I would be paying 130K USD and 70K USD more respectively (for the three-year cost of attendance) but I am not too sure if I would want to take that high a loan given the H1B uncertainty. :S

Edited by Indlaw
PS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm... 

You want to work in US big law because of the higher starting salaries, but you only want to work there for two years before moving back to Canada to make less money. And it would cost you almost double what it would in Canada to study in the US. So your higher American starting salary will go towards paying off your higher American law school debt. And then you have to deal with NCA requirements to transfer your degree back to Canada. Or you could go to a Canadian law school, owe less money, make less money and not have to worry about transferring degrees down the line ... 

The most obvious issue with your plan is that your employment post-degree is not guaranteed. And your options seem like they hinge on landing a highly paid law gig. Look, it's fine to have big law, either in the US or Canada as a goal, but if your plan doesn't work unless you're earning the very highest salaries out the gate, I'd advise to pick a new one.

Also is your engineering degree from India? I don't know how much of a leg up that will give you with Canadian or US firms. An engineering degree can be an asset for a lawyer, but the profession tends to be biased in favour of North American degrees.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about biglaw in the US but in other sectors it's almost impossible to get a company to agree to sponsor you for an H1B. With 4 more years of Trump who knows how worse the situation could get. Stay in Canada where you have peace of mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check the permanent residency requirements. Your plan in the U.S. is unlikely to work.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TheAEGIS said:

Hmm... 

You want to work in US big law because of the higher starting salaries, but you only want to work there for two years before moving back to Canada to make less money. And it would cost you almost double what it would in Canada to study in the US. So your higher American starting salary will go towards paying off your higher American law school debt. And then you have to deal with NCA requirements to transfer your degree back to Canada. Or you could go to a Canadian law school, owe less money, make less money and not have to worry about transferring degrees down the line ... 

The most obvious issue with your plan is that your employment post-degree is not guaranteed. And your options seem like they hinge on landing a highly paid law gig. Look, it's fine to have big law, either in the US or Canada as a goal, but if your plan doesn't work unless you're earning the very highest salaries out the gate, I'd advise to pick a new one.

Also is your engineering degree from India? I don't know how much of a leg up that will give you with Canadian or US firms. An engineering degree can be an asset for a lawyer, but the profession tends to be biased in favour of North American degrees.

Thanks for that. Yes, my engineering degree and the MBA are both from India. 

Just wanted to clarify one thing, though - I think I wasn't clear earlier. I have a full ride at UC Irvine and hence my total expenses (essentially living expenses) over 3 years would be 120K CAD. While at Osgoode, it would be 75K tuition+120K CAD living = 195K CAD. I am accounting for higher living expenses than normal because my wife would move along with me and we are expecting a child later this year. So, higher debt in the case of Canada. 

Does this change anything? In any case, I do get what you are saying. 

Would you have any idea how useful my UC Irvine JD would be if I am unable to get a big law position in the US and look for an articling position in Canada immediately after school? I understand lateral-ing to Canadian biglaw is slightly easier if you have good corporate law experience under your belt but is it at all possible fresh out of law school?

Thanks again for your inputs. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

I don't know about biglaw in the US but in other sectors it's almost impossible to get a company to agree to sponsor you for an H1B. With 4 more years of Trump who knows how worse the situation could get. Stay in Canada where you have peace of mind.

Thanks! I have a feeling I am somehow underestimating the value of peace of mind. Let me ponder it over. 

But, I do know for a fact that many biglaw firms do sponsor people for an H1B. That said, it's obviously not as straightforward as hiring a local with the same grades as me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, erinl2 said:

Check the permanent residency requirements. Your plan in the U.S. is unlikely to work.

Will check it. Thanks so much! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few quick thoughts... (1) Irvine is a good law school but it's also relatively new so the alumni network for lawyers is less developed than other SoCal law schools like USC, UCLA or even Loyola. (2) The very high cost of living in OC. (3) The CA bar exam is a big hassle. (4) The H1B is an even bigger hassle for all the reasons mentioned above and there are timing issues with the transition from a student visa to a working visa (and you can't initiate the H1B until pass the CA bar). You can get a bridging visa for 1 year after you finish your JD but the CA bar is only offered twice a year. If you fail the bar the first time, you could be forced to leave the country (I know someone who had that happen). (5) Moving is stressful and expensive-- I wouldn't want to be starting over twice in two different counties.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Were you born in India? If you were then your waiting time for a green card is gonna be atrocious. Last time I checked for H1b holders it is about 5 years for Chinese-mainlander and 9 years for Indians. I could be wrong.

 

Edited by andrewhl
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, andrewhl said:

Were you born in India? If you were then your waiting time for a green card is gonna be atrocious. Last time I checked for H1b holders it is about 5 years for Chinese-mainlander and 9 years for Indians. I could be wrong.

 

Yes born in India. Won't get a green card anytime soon. Am aware :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think SuperBig is correct !!!!

My best friend's mom got her Permanent card confiscated and removed by custom in airport because of super short stay each year, a few day only each year. She had no intention of long staying , so the card was confiscated and removed. I don't know if your US JD tour is considered reasonable or legitimate grounds . 

you may know how to choose, Just in Case SHIT HAPPENS

Edited by akulamasusu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You say only top third of class got in UC Irvine got in Big law

Even you really got the job at big law in US, application to H1B , a work permit,  is 50-60% for Master degree. 30%-35% for bachelor Degree. It take compute-red generated draw..and some sort of luck....If you are out of luck, you may have to leave....I don't know what a degree of USA JD equivalent to Bachelor degree or master degree because that may also shape your chance greatly..

your chance of staying in US might vary from  0.33 *  0.6  = 0.2 roughly

 to    0.33 * 0.35=0.1  roughly

It really depend on whether you are risk-prone and risk averse members

In addition to that, even if you are risk prone,  choose to come back Canada a couple of year later, you may still have to go through 4-5 NCA challenging exams. and Your network is just a bit far and remote.

I don't know if it may grant you long stay in foreign place...or just not much  room for negotiation. 

 

just  choose carefully. 

cheers.

Edited by akulamasusu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/17/2019 at 3:10 PM, Indlaw said:

Thanks for that. Yes, my engineering degree and the MBA are both from India. 

Just wanted to clarify one thing, though - I think I wasn't clear earlier. I have a full ride at UC Irvine and hence my total expenses (essentially living expenses) over 3 years would be 120K CAD. While at Osgoode, it would be 75K tuition+120K CAD living = 195K CAD. I am accounting for higher living expenses than normal because my wife would move along with me and we are expecting a child later this year. So, higher debt in the case of Canada. 

Does this change anything? In any case, I do get what you are saying. 

Would you have any idea how useful my UC Irvine JD would be if I am unable to get a big law position in the US and look for an articling position in Canada immediately after school? I understand lateral-ing to Canadian biglaw is slightly easier if you have good corporate law experience under your belt but is it at all possible fresh out of law school?

Thanks again for your inputs. 

 

Possible, yes. 

Canadian employers, especially Biglaw employers, don't penalize famous, name-brand U.S. law schools like Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame, and NYU ...  basically anything prestigious and in the Mid-West/East-Coast.  A lot of these employers are familiar with schools in this region and have no issues taking a chance on a student coming out of there. But anything outside of that will mean you'll have to work harder at networking/selling yourself to get interviews. 

UC Irvine is a good school, but as far as I know its a good regional school. It's also new. Which means its alumni network is not as well developed for lawyers North of the border. So, I don't know how that shakes down for you as far as articling with a US degree but no US firm experience.

You're right that good corporate law experience will make things easier for you. So, if you're set on going to UC Irvine, I'd do everything I could to work in some fancy California firm for a few years before transitioning to Canada. If a Biglaw employer here doesn't know your school very well, they might know your employer, and that could convince them to give you a chance. 

With a US school you're looking at 5 NCA exams, which isn't terrible. So good luck! 

Also, congrats on the upcoming baby.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, akulamasusu said:

You say only top third of class got in UC Irvine got in Big law

Even you really got the job at big law in US, application to H1B , a work permit,  is 50-60% for Master degree. 30%-35% for bachelor Degree. It take compute-red generated draw..and some sort of luck....If you are out of luck, you may have to leave....I don't know what a degree of USA JD equivalent to Bachelor degree or master degree because that may also shape your chance greatly..

your chance of staying in US might vary from  0.33 *  0.6  = 0.2 roughly

 to    0.33 * 0.35=0.1  roughly

It really depend on whether you are risk-prone and risk averse members

In addition to that, even if you are risk prone,  choose to come back Canada a couple of year later, you may still have to go through 4-5 NCA challenging exams. and Your network is just a bit far and remote.

I don't know if it may grant you long stay in foreign place...or just not much  room for negotiation. 

 

just  choose carefully. 

cheers.

Thanks a lot for that! Will keep that in mind while deciding. For the record, JD is considered a master's degree. I do understand moving to Canada subsequently might be difficult unless I really get through a top firm, do very well, and sort the PR/work visa process. Uphill task for sure :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, TheAEGIS said:

Possible, yes. 

Canadian employers, especially Biglaw employers, don't penalize famous, name-brand U.S. law schools like Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame, and NYU ...  basically anything prestigious and in the Mid-West/East-Coast.  A lot of these employers are familiar with schools in this region and have no issues taking a chance on a student coming out of there. But anything outside of that will mean you'll have to work harder at networking/selling yourself to get interviews. 

UC Irvine is a good school, but as far as I know its a good regional school. It's also new. Which means its alumni network is not as well developed for lawyers North of the border. So, I don't know how that shakes down for you as far as articling with a US degree but no US firm experience.

You're right that good corporate law experience will make things easier for you. So, if you're set on going to UC Irvine, I'd do everything I could to work in some fancy California firm for a few years before transitioning to Canada. If a Biglaw employer here doesn't know your school very well, they might know your employer, and that could convince them to give you a chance. 

With a US school you're looking at 5 NCA exams, which isn't terrible. So good luck! 

Also, congrats on the upcoming baby.

Thanks a lot for your wishes and the help! Really appreciate it. 

I also have Fordham for 60K-70K USD more than UCI. It gives me a slightly better chance at landing biglaw and is in NYC, which might really help an international. Do you think Canadian employers would be reasonably aware of the Fordham brand. It's not the best university but being in NYC really helps the law school's employment stats especially in a good economy.  Thanks!

Edited by Indlaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you ever been to Irvine before? It's an incredibly sleepy place and basically the polar opposite of NYC in terms of lifestyle. You'll see everything there is to do in the city in your first hour there. 

Edited by Tagger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Tagger said:

Have you ever been to Irvine before? It's an incredibly sleepy place and basically the polar opposite of NYC in terms of lifestyle. You'll see everything there is to do in the city in your first hour there. 

Haha never been to Irvine. I would be 32 by the time I start law school. And have a family. Don't really need a lot of activities/distractions :)

In fact, I was thinking I might have to stay in Jersey to be able to afford the rent if I go to Fordham and the travel and the lifestyle there might make studying more difficult for an outsider than the locals. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Indlaw said:

Haha never been to Irvine. I would be 32 by the time I start law school. And have a family. Don't really need a lot of activities/distractions :)

In fact, I was thinking I might have to stay in Jersey to be able to afford the rent if I go to Fordham and the travel and the lifestyle there might make studying more difficult for an outsider than the locals. 

 

Yeah, take a trip out to Irvine before you commit to spending $120K and three years of your life there. You'll also need a car to get around Irvine and the rest of Orange County. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Tagger said:

Yeah, take a trip out to Irvine before you commit to spending $120K and three years of your life there. You'll also need a car to get around Irvine and the rest of Orange County. 

Hmmmm. Fair enough. I think I should do that. Thanks buddy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • Dude, come on. This person worked hard to get into law school. Congratulate them or don't say anything at all. Why poke fun at them now and belittle them?  Major congrats oceann. You're going to law school and on your way to becoming a lawyer. Wish you the best of luck in the rest of the process. 
    • From my understanding, Osgoode’s actual bursary application does not open until the first week of classes.    The early bursary notification application, which is filled out prior to the start of law school, only tells you whether you are likely to receive bursary funding should you apply. It doesn’t tell you the likely quantum of funding.    As such, missing the deadline for this early bursary notification program should not exclude you from receiving funding since you actually apply for this at the beginning of term.    Unless the process is different than last year or the year prior, there’s no need to worry! 
    • Now you get a chance to learn Python. Congratulations! You are still a number, either 1 (true) or 0 (false).😂  
    • I’m an Osgoode JD/MBA grad, currently on Bay Street. For what it’s worth, I’d say 80% of the students who wanted Bay Street law jobs got it. This includes students with straight B averages, who I feel confidently would not have gotten as many interviews without the MBA. Of course, the calculation to do the degree is a bit more complicated than that, but you can message me, I’m happy to provide my view and chat. 

×
×
  • Create New...