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phmirwal

International Law ABROAD: JD vs. LLB + LLM

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Many thanks to everyone for such detailed and insightful comments!  You've raised some sound arguments for both sides, making this a very tough decision indeed...

To answer a few of your questions:

Although I lived in a number of European countries, studied briefly in the EU, and still retain many contacts in Europe, at the end of the day, I am a Canadian citizen and earned my first professional degree in Canada.  So competing for jobs against EU citizens would likely be an uphill battle.  

In terms of languages, I am at about B2 level in French (currently working diligently towards C1 fluency), A2 level in German and Spanish, and also have some basic fluency in a few other languages, including Russian - all of which I am confident I can improve upon, if I put in the time and effort.  

I would love to work in the UK, but I am very nervous about the legal market there being super-saturated and favouring British citizens.  If I am unable to secure employment and residency in the UK, I would have to return to Canada and jump through all the hoops in establishing myself here as a foreign grad... which I understand is no walk in the park.  

I always dream big, I am very much a go-getter, and I am determined to make my way into international law in some shape or form.  However, being a mature student and having already taken big risks in life, I am somewhat weary of gambling with my chances this time round.  A JD from uOttawa + LLM from the UK seems the safest route - if Europe doesn't work out, my ideal career in Canada would involve public law within the federal government.

All this being said, it's such a pity to say no to LSE/UCL, and I'm afraid that choosing uOttawa might have real consequences for my international career prospects 😕

Still have some time to mull things over...

Thanks again to everyone here for sharing your thoughts!

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Posted (edited)
On 4/2/2021 at 12:19 AM, phmirwal said:

Many thanks to everyone for such detailed and insightful comments!  You've raised some sound arguments for both sides, making this a very tough decision indeed...

To answer a few of your questions:

Although I lived in a number of European countries, studied briefly in the EU, and still retain many contacts in Europe, at the end of the day, I am a Canadian citizen and earned my first professional degree in Canada.  So competing for jobs against EU citizens would likely be an uphill battle.  

In terms of languages, I am at about B2 level in French (currently working diligently towards C1 fluency), A2 level in German and Spanish, and also have some basic fluency in a few other languages, including Russian - all of which I am confident I can improve upon, if I put in the time and effort.  

I would love to work in the UK, but I am very nervous about the legal market there being super-saturated and favouring British citizens.  If I am unable to secure employment and residency in the UK, I would have to return to Canada and jump through all the hoops in establishing myself here as a foreign grad... which I understand is no walk in the park.  

I always dream big, I am very much a go-getter, and I am determined to make my way into international law in some shape or form.  However, being a mature student and having already taken big risks in life, I am somewhat weary of gambling with my chances this time round.  A JD from uOttawa + LLM from the UK seems the safest route - if Europe doesn't work out, my ideal career in Canada would involve public law within the federal government.

All this being said, it's such a pity to say no to LSE/UCL, and I'm afraid that choosing uOttawa might have real consequences for my international career prospects 😕

Still have some time to mull things over...

Thanks again to everyone here for sharing your thoughts!

I can assure you the legal market in England and Wales is oversaturated. However, if you do well for yourself, get good grades, and keep striving to gain work experience at the big firms, there's a possibility to lateral over to London and work there. It's also worthwhile to use your third year to do an international exchange abroad. Figure out which exchange partners are available through uOttawa and make sure to establish some networks while you are in the UK or another European country, whether it's France, Belgium, or the Netherlands.

Edited by timeisticking

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Thanks for your input.  But if I pursue a Canadian JD, I likely wouldn't make the transition over to the UK to work at a firm, given all the extra requirements and years involved (GDL, etc.); I would rather do a qualifying LLB from LSE/UCL from the outset.  

At least uOttawa gives me a shot at public law, in case international law doesn't work out.  (I don't imagine British civil servant positions would be available to Canadian citizens holding a British LLB?!)

I have indeed looked into the uOttawa international exchange partners, thanks - fingers crossed this pandemic will have largely fizzled out by 2023 so that exchanges can take place again!!  

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On 4/9/2021 at 1:55 AM, phmirwal said:

Thanks for your input.  But if I pursue a Canadian JD, I likely wouldn't make the transition over to the UK to work at a firm, given all the extra requirements and years involved (GDL, etc.); I would rather do a qualifying LLB from LSE/UCL from the outset.  

At least uOttawa gives me a shot at public law, in case international law doesn't work out.  (I don't imagine British civil servant positions would be available to Canadian citizens holding a British LLB?!)

I have indeed looked into the uOttawa international exchange partners, thanks - fingers crossed this pandemic will have largely fizzled out by 2023 so that exchanges can take place again!!  

Actually you may be eligible for certain positions in the Civil Service. Assuming you are a Canadian citizen, you would be considered a Commonwealth citizen, allowing you to apply to all non-reserved posts in the Civil Service. While you are restricted from applying to certain positions, you aren't barred from all of them. 

In my previous post, I was under the impression that you were looking to pursue the LLM degree after completing your JD degree. That's why I pointed out the international exchange program with uOttawa. 

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On 4/10/2021 at 11:47 PM, timeisticking said:

Actually you may be eligible for certain positions in the Civil Service. Assuming you are a Canadian citizen, you would be considered a Commonwealth citizen, allowing you to apply to all non-reserved posts in the Civil Service. While you are restricted from applying to certain positions, you aren't barred from all of them. 

Oh?  I was not aware of this!  What types of positions are open to Canadian citizens in the British Civil Service?  Would you happen to know of any links or other resources about this?  You sound very knowledgeable about legal practice in the UK!

On 4/10/2021 at 11:47 PM, timeisticking said:

In my previous post, I was under the impression that you were looking to pursue the LLM degree after completing your JD degree. That's why I pointed out the international exchange program with uOttawa. 

I am still undecided about whether to study in Canada or the UK next year, but I think the safest route would be to pursue a JD in Canada - so yes, I am definitely looking into international exchange programs with uOttawa!

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On 4/19/2021 at 8:46 PM, phmirwal said:

Oh?  I was not aware of this!  What types of positions are open to Canadian citizens in the British Civil Service?  Would you happen to know of any links or other resources about this?  You sound very knowledgeable about legal practice in the UK!

I am still undecided about whether to study in Canada or the UK next year, but I think the safest route would be to pursue a JD in Canada - so yes, I am definitely looking into international exchange programs with uOttawa!

Most of the positions in the British Civil Service are available to Commonwealth citizens. You may read more about it here.

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