Legal education abroad is distinguished by the high cost and difficulty of studies. Moreover, it is often necessary to pass several exams before you could start working in a specialty, for example, in the USA and Canada. An important factor when applying for a law program is a high level of language proficiency. If a student plans to stay in the country of study, it is necessary to know the local language perfectly for further employment.

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Description of the specialty

To become a lawyer, you must be able to convey and defend your point of view, think analytically and critically, have writing and research skills, persistence and creativity. In turn, the profession of a lawyer has many advantages:

  • High salaries (in most countries);
  • Continuous intellectual development;
  • Prestige and status in society;
  • The ability to help others;
  • Job prospects.

Much depends on the place of work, but often lawyers overwork, especially in high-paying positions, speak in public and regularly read tons of literature and regulations.

Judges, lawyers, civil servants, teachers in universities, consultants at companies and mediators in disputes — these are just a few examples of positions for specialists in the field of law.

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Best law schools in the world 2021

View a list of the best law schools in other countries here.

Information is exploratory. For accurate information, refer to the official website of the school.
TitleCountryCityBachelorMaster
41University of CambridgeUnited KingdomCambridge24,831 USD24,831 USD
62University of OxfordUnited KingdomOxford21,693 USD21,693 USD
93University College LondonUnited KingdomLondon25,237 USD24,948 USD
265The University of EdinburghUnited KingdomEdinburgh20,801 USD16,076 USD
287King's College LondonUnited KingdomLondon19,948 USD21,628 USD
519London School of Economics and Political Science — University of LondonUnited KingdomLondon22,310 USD30,184 USD
781Catholic University of LeuvenBelgiumLeuven600 USD1,500 USD
844Leiden UniversityNetherlandsLeiden12,111 USD16,148 USD
12018Queen Mary University of LondonUnited KingdomLondon16,733 USD18,898 USD
35918Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne UniversityFranceParis3,359 USD4,572 USD

Information is exploratory. For accurate information, refer to the official website of the school.
TitleCountryCityBachelorMaster
241The University of TokyoJapanTokyo4,712 USD4,712 USD
421National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore26,904 USD26,904 USD
491Tsinghua UniversityChinaBeijing4,368 USD5,678 USD
521Seoul National UniversitySouth KoreaSeoul6,775 USD4,303 USD
552Peking UniversityChinaBeijing4,659 USD5,241 USD
871The University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong18,633 USD18,633 USD
992The Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong18,506 USD18,506 USD
1004Fudan UniversityChinaShanghai3,348 USD3,348 USD
1091National Taiwan UniversityTaiwanTaipei1,892 USD1,868 USD
1184City University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong15,315 USD15,315 USD

When choosing a country to receive legal education, it is necessary to keep in mind the differences between general and civil law. Another important factor is your future place of residence, as the curriculum is based on the legal system of the country of study. Universities also put high language requirements, because a lawyer deals with papers, speeches and constant communication.

Path to a law degree in the United States and Canada is unique and unlike any other country. There is no bachelor's degree in law — it is believed that a student must first gain life experience and knowledge in other areas before pursuing legal studies. It is preferable to come with a background in political sciences, economics or sociology, but young specialists from all fields can enroll in legal programs. During their studies, students need to develop public speaking, analytical, writing skills and critical thinking.

Thus, for admission, a foreign student must already have a bachelor's degree in any specialty. Upon completion of the undergraduate degree, applicants must register with LSAC and pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). Based on the results of the exam, the language certificate and other documents, students enter the three-year Juris Doctor (JD) program. If a foreign candidate is a Bachelor of Laws, then he can immediately enter the Master of Laws (LL.M.), as a rule, without passing the LSAT. Admission to LL.M. is easier than to JD, since LSAT score requirements are high, and for foreigners this is one of the most difficult exams. However LL.M. does not provide an opportunity to obtain a license after graduation. Therefore, if you are going to become a practicing lawyer in the USA or Canada, then JD is required. For more information on the conditions for obtaining a legal license in Canada, please read this, in the USA — this.

An important factor is tuition fees. In the United States, JD has the opportunity to receive financial aid from law schools, and for LL.M. it is advisable to look for funding from external sources.

It is difficult to enroll in a law school, but it is even more difficult to study there. During the study breaks, students are already actively seeking internships and part-time jobs in the legal field. However, even after graduation, it is still impossible to practice law. To obtain a license, you must pass a qualifying exam (bar examination). In Canada, additional evaluation stages must be passed in addition to the exam. They depend on the province, for example, in Ontario you must:

  • Work 10 months under the guidance of a licensed and qualified lawyer (articling) or
  • Complete the Law Practice Program (LPP) of the Law Society of Ontario. LPP consists of 4 months of study and 4 months of internship.

In the United States, newly minted lawyers choose the state in which they are going to work and register for the exam with the state council. The Bar exam lasts 2, sometimes 3 days, it is imperative to thoroughly prepare for it. After a successful examination, the specialist can begin to practice law.

The next steps in education: Master's degree — Master of Laws (LL.M.) and doctoral studies — Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) The master's degree usually takes 1 year to complete and is aimed at a narrow specialization. Doctoral studies last for 2-5 years and open up opportunities in academic careers and teaching.

It should be noted that legal education in the USA has a narrow specialization in comparison to other countries: here students focus on their area of law.

Legal education in the United Kingdom is divided between the common law system of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the hybrid common law system in Scotland. The first stage in education is:

  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or
  • Bachelor in another specialization + one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (transfer course, GDL).

Further, education is divided into areas of future lawyers: solicitor and barrister. The difference between them lies in the responsibilities they perform.

Solicitors provide legal support, advice and services to clients, while barristers represent individuals or organizations in court, conduct legal research and advise clients. Solicitors are considered lower rank lawyers as they handle paperwork most of the time and act as intermediaries between the client and the barrister.

To become a solicitor, you need to take a Legal Practice Course, (LPC) or a Solicitor Apprenticeship, which lasts 6 years and includes the entire legal degree program and LPC. The internship allows students to obtain a Master of Laws (LL.M.). To become a barrister, you must complete all 3 components of training:

  • Academic (law degree);
  • Professional (usually Bar Professional Training Course, BPTC); from September 2020, new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is in place;
  • Internship (training at work)

International students also go through all these stages. Lawyers that graduated from non-British universities, are eligible to pass the GDL and after it LPC or BPTC. More information can be found here or on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website.

To enroll in an Australian law school, you need 12 years of secondary education. Some universities offer a Foundation course, after which students with 11 years of school study enter the Bachelor of Laws, LL.B., sometimes Juris Doctor, JD. It can last for 3 years if the candidate already has a degree and 4 years for high school graduates.

To become a professional lawyer, you must also complete practical legal training. Master's and doctoral degrees are available for further professional and academic development.

Studying law in the Netherlands begins with obtaining a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B), which lasts for 3 years. Then comes the Master of Laws( LL.M.) degree, lasting 1 year. In English, a bachelor's degree is offered by 4 universities: the University of Groningen, the Hague University of Applied Sciences, Maastricht and Tilburg universities.

In Russia, as in other CIS countries, legal education can be obtained at universities and colleges. However, universities are more prestigious and offer more job opportunities. The decision on the specialty of the student must be made in advance: for admission to a law program, universities take the Unified State Exam only in social studies or history. Further, the career of a lawyer can follow different scenarios, depending on the specialization. For example, to become a notary, you need to pass a qualifying exam, a lawyer — have work experience and also pass special exams.

Requirements for admission to law programs

Requirements for admission differ depending on the country, university and program. General criteria are as follows:

CountryUniversityProgramsCost/yearin 2020
Lithuania Vilnius University Master of International and European Law3,409 USD
Germany Humboldt-UniversitätInternational Dispute Resolution (LL.M.)Freeapplication fee + travel expenses = 358 USD
FranceSciences PoMaster in Economic Law 16,705 USD
USAUniversity of the District of Columbia Doctor of Laws 24,874 USDvery low cost for a USA based program
Italy Saint Anna School of Advanced Studies of PisaMaster in Human Rights and Conflict Management8,523 USDfull program
FranceCatholic University of LyonMaster in International Business Law10,228 USD
BelgiumKatholieke Universiteit Leuven Master of Laws6,818 USD
IrelandMaynooth UniversityBachelor of Law 15,910 USD
NoAccording to QS ranking 2021Country UniversityProgramBachelor’s/yearin 2020Language
43Germany University of Munich
  • German law;
  • European International Economic Law
  • Free148 USD feeGerman
    47ArgentinaUniversity of Buenos Aires
  • Law;
  • Teaching Law
  • FreeBachelor'sSpanish
    47BrazilUniversity of São Paulo
  • Law;
  • Law practice;
  • Development of legislation acts
  • FreePortuguese
    49TaiwanNational Taiwan UniversityBachelor of Laws 50460 TWD Chinese
    51-100GermanyFree University of BerlinBachelor of Laws (LL.B.)FreeGerman
    51-100ChinaFudan University
  • Law;
  • Chinese business right
  • 50000 RMBПриблизительноChinese
    51-100Japan Kyoto UniversityLaw 4,687 USDJapanese
    51-100RussiaLomonosov Moscow State University
  • Jurisprudence;
  • International law
  • 5,947 USDfor Russian citizensRussian
    51-100ItalyUniversity of Rome La Sapienza
  • Administrative;
  • European private law
  • 1,136 USDItalian
    51-100SpainComplutense University of Madrid
  • Law;
  • International law;
  • Financial law
  • 12,500 USDApproximately Spanish

    Foundation courses for law students

    Country DurationUniversityLanguage of InstructionCostin 2020
    United Kingdom 1 yearOxford Brookes University English18,955 USD
    Malaysia 1 yearManagement and Science UniversityEnglish4,777 USDfor local students. International students must request the information about the cost from the university
    United Kingdom 1 yearUniversity of Westminster English19,092 USD
    Netherlands 1 yearMaastricht University English15,910 USD
    Ireland1 yearTrinity College DublinEnglish18,728 USD

    Types of law programs

    ProgramDescription
    JurisprudenceGenerally, programs include constitutional and administrative law, contract law, criminal and civil law, private and public law. The study examines the jurisdiction, laws and regulations of the country in which the study is taking place.
    International lawA set of rules, norms and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. Countries come together and formulate laws and regulations on a wide range of issues. However, as a rule, international law is advisory in nature, so the governments of the countries independently decide whether to implement and abide by international laws or not.
    Business / commercial / entrepreneurial law Regulates business relations between people. There are 2 different areas of business law:
  • Regulation of commercial organizations through laws on partnerships, companies, bankruptcy;
  • Regulation of commercial transactions through contract law. Business law also prevents problems that could harm a business or cause legal disputes.
  • The trend in the labor market is that due to the high competition among general lawyers, employers need more highly specialized professionals. In addition, the development of technology and modern problems of humanity are making their own adjustments to the formation of demanded specializations. For example, robotization of the sphere of law is gradually being introduced, namely, programs and systems that perform routine work: search and analysis of information, drafting contracts and claims. So in 2017, artificial intelligence replaced about 70% of all mid-level management staff working at Sberbank which also included lawyers[0].

    ProgramDescriptionEstimated position / jobUniversities
    Environmental LawRegulates human interaction with the environment from a legal standpoint, determines who and under what conditions can use natural resources, and develops environmental requirements for business activities.
  • Business support in the field of ecology, ethical products and green building;
  • Development of legislation, etc.
  • University of Eastern Finland, University of Dundee, University of Groningen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Keele University
    Cyber ​​Law (Internet Law)Regulates relations related to the Internet. Any law or regulation related to the way people use computers, smartphones, the Internet and other related technologies is classified as cyber law.
  • Protection of rights in the field of IT (development, installation and maintenance of software, data exchange on servers and websites);
  • Protection of the rights of citizens in the electronic exchange of information;
  • Cyber ​​security activities, etc.
  • Loyola Marymount University, George Washington University, University of Johannesburg, Universidad de Leon
    Intellectual Property Law (Copyright Law)Enforces legal rights for inventions, creations and works of art.
  • Protection of clients in the sphere of intellectual property rights violations and patent disputes;
  • Registration of trademarks;
  • Drafting and registering assignment and license agreements, etc.
  • University of Melbourne, Hanken School of Economics, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, Jagiellonian University, BAUMAN Moscow State Technical University, University of Technology Sydney

    Law degrees

    Such degrees are designated differently from country to country. Bachelor’s degrees are usually called:

    • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) — a degree in the field of laws in England and in most common law jurisdictions. For example, in Scotland, South Africa, Israel, Australia, New Zealand. Not used in the United States and Canada;
    • Juris Doctor, Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD, D.Jur. or DJur) is a professional degree in law and one of several doctoral degrees. Used in Australia, Canada, the United States, and some other common law countries.

    Some regions offer both types of degrees (LL.B. and JD), such as Australia and Hong Kong.

    Master of Laws (ML or LL.M.) — a postgraduate degree for those who already have an academic degree in law / professional degree in law / bachelor's degree in a related subject. In some jurisdictions, the Master of Laws is a required professional degree to begin legal practice.

    Doctor of Law or Doctor of Laws. The name also depends on the country:

    • Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD or SJD) — Argentina, Canada;
    • Doctor juris (Dr. iur. or Dr. jur.) — Germany;
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) — Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Great Britain;
    • Juris Doctor (JD) — USA, Australia;
    • Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) — Canada, South Africa, Malta, Great Britain, Sweden.

    Juris Doctor (JD) is a professional degree in North America. JD has academic status as a Professional Doctor in the United States and a Master's degree in Australia.

    Learn more about degrees

    Scholarships and free law education

    Free law education can be found in countries that do not charge tuition fees. For example, in Germany, Austria and Norway, but there most programs are taught in the local language instead of English.

    Another opportunity to study for free is scholarships and grants from the country of study. For example, the Turkish government offers the Turkey Burslari Scholarship, which covers 100% of the tuition fees and other expenses. Also Hungary and Germany provide free education to talented students through grants from Stipendium Hungaricum and DAAD. In Sweden, all PhD programs are free, among which you can find legal programs.

    There are general and separate scholarships for law students from the universities themselves. For example, Dean’s Scholarship from the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney or grant CAHR at the University of York in the UK. Additionally, various competitions are held, for example, for writing an essay. Typically, they offer a one-time amount to help cover small expenses.

    You can track current opportunities here and on the websites of universities.

    Internships for lawyers

    • Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) corporation offers unpaid internships for students and lawyers in the United States. The duration is from 1 month to a year. Typically, applicants are residents of nearby cities or locals. The main requirements are knowledge of English, strong academic background and international experience.
    • Private organization Connect-123 offers paid internships in major capitals of the world. For Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Shanghai and Sydney, the program fee for 2020 is 2,850 USD excluding housing expenses. For Barcelona and Dublin — 3,239 USD per year. Connect-123 has a database of internships available which can be viewed here.
    • Internships Amnesty International has offices in London, Geneva, New York and other cities. Internships are offered in partnership with universities or work within the organization itself in the field of international law. Duration of internships — 4-6 months full-time or part-time[1].
    • International Bar Association offers a Legal Internship Program that is available to law students, doctoral students and young professionals at the offices of the International Bar Association in London, Washington and The Hague[2].

    Employment prospects with a law degree

    The career path in law largely depends on the country of study and further residence. In some countries, for example, in Canada and the USA, one cannot become a lawyer immediately after graduation — you must first pass the exams.

    Despite the fact that the profession of a lawyer is popular among applicants, and the number of graduates is increasing every year, private and state structures almost always have vacancies and are looking for competent specialists. The main employers for lawyers are: courts, private law firms, government agencies, international organizations (UN, UNICEF, Council of Europe), non-profit legal organizations (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch), etc.

    Responsibility for legal practice during studies usually falls on the student. Sometimes universities and professors give tips and help students, but mostly students are looking for internships and employment on their own.

    How much does a lawyer earn?

    Country Min. salary / yearin 2020Avg. salary / yearin 2020
    USAaccording to 2019 data59,670 USD122,960 USD
    Great Britain27,263 USD95,458 USD
    Australia52,134 USD76,590 USD
    Canada41,042 USD84,729 USD
    Hong Kong609000 HKD 900000 HKD
    South Korea 37,316 USD87,642 USD
    Germany45,002 USD105,686 USD
    France49,547 USD 115,914 USD
    Czech Republic37,466 USD54,430 USD
    Russiain major cities5,489 USD 10,978 USD
    • The word "Jurisprudence" comes from the Latin words jūris — “law” and prūdentia — “foresight, knowledge”. Legal education originates from ancient Rome, while the first textbook on jurisprudence is considered to be the Institutes by Gaius.
    • Sharia law is fully or partially implemented in the legislation of many Islamic countriesa religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the hadith.. For example, in Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar, UAE, Egypt. In the universities of these countries Sharia law is taught alongside the state law.
    • Of the 44 US presidents, 26 were lawyers. Some of the universities that have graduated the heads of state are Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Duke University Law School, Columbia Law School, University of Cincinnati College of Law.
    • In the modern world, many law graduates do not work in their specialty.This also happened in the past, among law graduates there were those who had achieved great success in another field. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, Lev Tolstoy, Honore de Balzac, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Anna Akhmatova, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Gottfried Leibniz, Alexander Alekhin studied to be lawyers.

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