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Do I still have to JD if I have already studied LLB in the UK during undergrad?

Updated: Sep 25

๐Ÿ“– JD (Juris Doctor degree) - it is commonly known as the first degree you will need to get in the US in order to practice law

๐Ÿ“– LLB (Bachelor of Laws) - undergraduate degree you will receive if you are studying law (most commonly in the UK)

๐ŸŒŸ Remember there is no undergrad degree for law in the US!!

Short answer? Recommended, but it depends.

Long answer?

You should know that getting an LLB degree is not "equivalent" to JD (although the content you learn will overlap as they are both common law countries) because the US doesn't admit an LLB degree.

In order to practice law in US, you need to pass a state bar examination and most of the states will require you to have received a J.D. degree (of course, there are a couple of exceptions as below):

States which accept an alternative to JD โ€” LLM (which is usually a one year course that is taken after JD for US students):

  1. New York

  2. California (you can also do an apprenticeship and take the Baby Bar - if you pass, you can later take the Bar Exam)

  3. Washington

  4. Wisconsin

  5. Georgia

Before reading this list, you might think that you will get a "headstart" if you've managed to obtain an LLB degree in the UK. Sadly - it is a bummer for you if the state you want to stay in is not on the list.

And if getting "dual qualifications" is the reason why you want to study in both US and UK (i.e. you can practice law in both countries).... you should think twice.

Like US, an LLB degree doesn't automatically mean that you can practice law. Unlike US, UK doesn't necessarily have a "Bar exam", there are two major paths you can follow if you want to study in UK:

  1. Barrister - 2-3 years to become one!!

  2. BCAT (comparable to LSAT in the US)

  3. BPCT - 1 or 2-year course

  4. 1-year pupillage

  5. admission to Bar Council

  6. Solicitor - 3-4 years to become one!!

  7. Legal Practice Course - 1-2 years

  8. 2-year training contract

  9. admission to The Law Society of England and Wales

As a result, some people will suggest you decide whether you actually want to work in UK or the US - so that you can maximize the efficiency of your time.

๐Ÿšจ But don't be discouraged by it! It is definitely your choice on whether or not you want to study in the US and UK. It's just if you want to go to the US, you need to think twice about which state you should be going to so that you can enter for the bar exam!

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