讀Law人:大英 vs 美帝 vs 香港本土 應該行邊條路


SJ讀者提問:

First off thank you all the hard work and dedication into delivering these enlightening posts. As an aspiring law student, I must admit: this gives me more insight into life as a lawyer than anyone else does. 🙂

So, a little bit about myself. I am about to finish my A-levels this year (I mean GCE, of course). I applied to both UK unis (for law) and US unis (mostly IVY leagues). As for now, I have got an offer to read law at one of the top unis in the UK and am still awaiting offers from the US.

And here is my dilemma: To stay or not to stay, that’s the question.

As for myself, I am quite keen about a career in legal/finance sector, ultimately back in Hong Kong. With that being said, there are several concerns of mine, which I try to break down and kindly ask for your word of wisdom

1)Skills



Would having an undergraduate degree in something other than law better hone my transferable skills? Embarking the academic study of law is, as you all know, notoriously rigorous and demanding. Holding a liberal arts degree, however, allows me to develop holistically, which (I suppose?) allow me to apply to law school or jobs more easily. What do you think?

2)Money

Obviously, spending 7 years (4 years undergrad) requires an exorbitant amount of $$$$$ as compared to 3 years of straight law in the UK. However, do you think this is a worthwhile investment? Coz I am under the impression that with a US degree I will have greater flexibility as compared to a UK law degree, as mentioned above.

3)Prospect

Is it possible to practice law in the US with a foreign law degree? Well let’s put it this way…I know you could take the NY bar exam holding a foreign law degree, but is it possible (not statistically, but realistically) to be hired by a US firm IN NEW YORK? I mean, apart from being really exceptional and stand out from all other foreign lawyers (which presumably is a prerequisite for any foreign lawyer), will US firms be generous enough to invest time and money on a foreign lawyer?

Again, with a US JD degree, is it possible if I ultimately want to practice back in Hong Kong?

I understand it is kind of an atypical question as it is not quite relevant to HK law, but I do appreciate if you could enlighten me with a word or two, as you always do.

SJ回覆

感謝讀者來函,回答您的問題:

Credit: TVB

Credit: TVB

1. 讀Law前 讀咩Degree先有 “Transferable skills”?

首先,咩叫 transferable skills?

廣義的 transferable skills 指一些在不同工作也有用的技能或質素

例如分析力 (analysis),表達力 (presentability),領導力 (leadership),團隊能力 (teamwork) 等。

僅僅讀Law而言,固然分析力與表達力非常重要。

讀一篇judgment,或讀textbook的一個chapter,假設語文能力一樣,有一些人只需要10分鐘讀一次已經完全理解,有一些人則需要讀60分鐘看6次,還是一知半解:這就是分析力的差異

表達力,在書面則是考試能很精簡地寫出有說服力的答案,在口語則包括參加辯論比賽Mooting等。

做律師的話,其實也一樣,再加上領導力與團隊能力也是非常重要的。

讀Liberal Arts有否所謂的 transferable skills? 可以這樣說:凡有大量reading與需要寫essays的科目,都可以為讀Law需要的技巧作出準備。尤其政治與哲學類科目的essays的結構很多與Law的essays相近,可以說是頗為 transferable。

business law

然而,假如讀science類科目,雖然可能未能掌握讀law所需要的essays技巧,但卻能展示在數理上的邏輯,尤其讀engineering者,如果再有幾年工作經驗,則長遠作為律師也會有頗大益處。

所以在這問題,其實沒有conclusive答案的。如果你目標就是將來讀Law的話,現在就去讀你自己最感興趣的科目吧。在undergraduate degree拿到好成績,比讀甚麼科目更重要。

2. 讀Law值得嗎? 美國 vs 英國制度

SJ之前有篇文 《 我應該轉行做律師嗎?》曾探討過類似問題。

如果對比美國讀Law vs 英國讀Law 的話

很明顯的分別:

美國讀Law : 投資大 回報大

英國讀Law: 投資少d 回報少d

美國讀Law眾所週知非常昂貴,尤其是如作者打算讀完undergrad就直入law school投資金額極度高昂。但出路較廣:可以留在美國考 Bar Exam然後在美國做律師,但要回香港的話則要進入較大的US Firm然後等公司調你回香港。

英國讀Law的話,比較容易隨時回香港工作,因英港兩地法制相近,也比較多英國Law firm在香港運作。

當然,香港做lawyer的話,還有一個風險,就是2047年的問題:是否繼續一國兩制行common law?

如果是,當然無問題。

如果不是而且拆關口,改行PRC Law(你覺得是否天方夜談?),則很可能早在2030-2035年已經開始緩衝期,屆時你剛讀完Law就要面對這個大限…嘿嘿。

3. 前景

沒有美國JD的話,哪怕你考了 New York Bar,要在 Wall Street Firm 找到Associate職位不容易,除非你undergrad在Oxbridge或者你本身的工作真的出類拔萃到一個地步。

當然,要找Small Law的職位也是有可能的,但在美國小型Law Firm的收入也不是十分好,這個你自己也需要考慮。

 

SJ結語

很多外行人幻想轉行做Lawyer會是 dream comes true,殊不知是惡夢的開始。

外面的人想進來,城內的人想出去。就是這麼樣。


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