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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Update: US Exporting Lawyers to China

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Douglas Berman is a Ph.D. now studying law at the University of Indiana. He spent his last two summers at China-based law firms in Hong Kong and Beijing, and comments as follows:

I would venture the following observations:

  1. There has been growing hype over the last two or three years among big law firms, which has helped someone like me who attends a first tier school but has middling grades. I have received interviews from firms that would never have considered me based on my grades alone. More interestingly, I have just been told that some big firms are sending out newly-minted grads directly to Asia. That seems to be a first.

  2. The hype is clouding the minds of young law students (and I don’t include myself in the “young” category) who may not recognize the fact that (a) there are more Chinese JD grads, and (b) a growing number of Chinese-speaking foreigners eager to cash in.

  3. Law may increasingly global, but large law firms are still very hierarchical. Having just seen a very smart lawyer with no prior US experience trying to return from a big US firm in Hong Kong and how difficult it was for him (he did ultimately pull it off), I realize how the options are more limited once you leave the lock-step path.


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