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I am from Bangladesh. I did my Bachelor of Law, Masters in Law and the Bar (BPTC) from the UK. I have worked in the legal departments of companies and some freelancing in Bangladesh since 2012. I want to work in a the legal department of a US company.

Can a company in the US hire someone like me for such a role?

  • Is this on-topic? Why don't you apply for a few jobs and see if people will hire you? – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 15 at 12:11
  • Well, if you can't answer this question yourself it's like you fail your job interview test :D Or is this question not about law? – Greendrake Apr 15 at 12:44
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this belongs on the jobs.se site – David Siegel Apr 15 at 12:55
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    A company in the US that needs a UK-educated lawyer with experience in Bangladesh would probably be very happy to hire someone with your background, and perhaps happy enough to go to the trouble of visa sponsorship. Such a company might be difficult to find, however. Another possibility might be to look for jobs at an international organization such as the UN or the World Bank, whose employees and officers enjoy "semidiplomatic immunity" and for which visa sponsorship is little more than an administrative formality (but such jobs do not guarantee that you'll be able to remain in the US). – phoog Apr 15 at 14:54
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    I'm incline to leave this open because while on the surface is is a job about the job market, beneath that it is mostly about two different legal issues: admission of the practice of law for foreign lawyers and immigration law. – ohwilleke Apr 15 at 15:59
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Short Answer

They will probably not hire you unless they have legal work that they need done in Bangladesh or the U.K. from a U.S. office.

Long Answer

Admission To The Practice Of Law In The U.S.

A Bachelor of Law, Masters in Law and the Bar (BPTC) from the UK is not a satisfactory credential for employment as a lawyer in the United States. To be employed as a lawyer in the United States, you must be admitted to the practice of law in the U.S. state where you are employed (or in the District of Columbia, if you are employed there).

Ordinarily, admission to the practice of law requires completion of a law degree at an American Bar Association accredited law school followed by a character and fitness background check and passage of the bar exam.

It is plausible that one or more states would waive the law school requirement (in California, law school is not a pre-requisite to taking the bar exam, for example). Some states have exceptions to this requirement specifically aimed at non-U.S. lawyers.

But, you will still need to take a bar exam preparation course which is typically six to eight weeks of full time study (since there are sufficiently significant differences between U.S. and U.K. law that you would probably not be able to pass the bar exam in the U.S. without it), and then pass the bar exam in a state that waived the completion of an ABA accredited law school degree, and then you will still need to complete the character and fitness review (which is very thorough).

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to practice law in the United States, but character and fitness review would almost certainly take longer. For example, a typical character and fitness review requires you to identify every place you have lived in your adult life and to provide a reference from each, and to list every traffic ticket you have ever been issued with proof that it was paid. These steps would be harder to implement for someone who has lived their entire life outside the U.S.

These steps would typically take several months and would be inconvenient to conduct from outside the U.S.

Immigration Requirements

Of course, if the firm that hired you needed someone to engage in the practice of law in Bangladesh on its behalf, from its U.S. offices, that could be done immediately, if the employer were wiling to secure the proper work visa for you.

However, even if you were qualified, usually employers aren't interested in obtaining a work visa for a foreign lawyer to do U.S. based work, as they have plenty of U.S. based lawyers admitted to the practice of U.S. law from whom they can choose.

Also, many U.S. legal employers disfavor hiring someone with more than three to five years of experience, rather than someone fresh out of law school, because they want to impart to you their corporate culture and to hire someone who is junior to the existing legal employees to do the grunt work.

You could be hired as a paralegal without the relevant credentials, but getting an employer to sponsor a work related visa for you (and obtaining such a visa as an employer) to be a paralegal would be very difficult.

  • Thank you for your detailed answer. Its probably the slap in the face I needed to know this is a pipe dream. – LegalJobQuestion Apr 16 at 7:34
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    @LegalJobQuestion another option would be to enter the green card lottery in October. It is of course a very long shot, but if you are selected and make it through the whole process, you can move to the US and become a permanent resident instantly. You might also consider looking for work in the UN system or similar international organizations (which might involve posting to New York or another headquarters location). I would think that someone with your training and experience would be more likely to be an attractive applicant there than in a US company. – phoog Apr 23 at 15:26

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