Interested in working as a lawyer in the United States, or looking to expand your expertise in cross-border legal work? The College of Law has partnered with BARBRI International to provide Australian lawyers with the opportunity to qualify as a U.S. lawyer, undertaking the U.S. Bar Exam. Insights spoke to BARBRI International Director Robert Dudley about who might be eligible to sit for the U.S. Bar Exam, how the BARBRI program can help and how lawyers have benefited from qualifying in an additional jurisdiction.
“BARBRI International prepares non-U.S. educated law graduates and lawyers from across the world to sit for the New York and California Bar exams,” said Robert. “While the Bars themselves set criteria for determining eligibility, the general rule is that if you hold an Australian law degree of a minimum 3-4 years in duration, you may be eligible for the New York bar. California, on the other hand, does not require information on your educational background, purely determining your eligibility on the basis of whether you’re a qualified lawyer in your home jurisdiction.
“Ultimately the Bars are the final arbiters of determining eligibility but with 50 years’ experience, BARBRI can provide support and guidance for each individual to navigate this complex area.”
Since its inception in 1967, BARBRI has prepared over 1.3 million students to qualify as U.S. attorneys. Per year, BARBRI helps 30,000 students prepare for each of the 50 state bar exams, of which 800 come from outside the United States.
“Non-U.S. educated students have a number of reasons to sit the Bar: it may be due to relocation, aspirations to work cross-border, to increase their employability by adding a US qualification to their resume and set themselves apart in their home country or abroad. Ultimately, they are gearing up their skills to meet the demand for global legal services.
“Our graduates now work in U.S. firms in Sydney, London and other global cities along with others who work in-house or have used their qualification to gain secondments in the US offices of their firms or companies.”
Flexible study options are one of the major advantages of the BARBRI International program.
“The majority of our non-U.S. students prepare with us in Home Study format, a flexible online program with a dedicated U.S. qualified mentor assigned to each student. You can either complete this in 6 months with a commitment of 20-25 hours of study per week, or over 10 months requiring 10-15 hours per week. Either way is sufficiently flexible to study around work or personal commitments.”
Study is facilitated by BARBRI’s Personal Study Plan, an intuitive learning management system to help students track and manage their studies. The Personal Study Plan includes all pre-recorded lectures, activities and tools, and tracks the progress of each student against the requirements of the Bar exam.
“Lectures are delivered by top U.S. professors, and tools help hone your skills in essay writing and multiple choice questions. We also provide you with textbooks designed to support you throughout your studies,” said Robert. “In fact, for those who complete 75% or more of the Personal Study Plan, 73% pass the Bar. You can see how invaluable this system is to help you succeed in passing the Bar.”
For Australians seeking to qualify as U.S. attorneys, BARBRI provides a Foundations in U.S. Law program which covers all key concepts and principles of U.S. law. In addition, a U.S. qualified mentor will help students work through what might be unfamiliar concepts in U.S. law.
“The BARBRI International program is the only preparatory course designed specifically for non-U.S. educated law graduates and lawyers. Not only does it prepare you with the black letter law and the tools and techniques you need to pass the Bar, but it offers you the flexibility to study when and where you choose. You also get the chance to sit two simulated exams so it’s not a complete shock to the system on the actual day of the examination.”