So in the last three months I have received a couple of emails from students in international law schools in China asking me about their job prospects. My responses have been anything but encouraging, to the point that I feel it would be wise for me to publicize my counsel.
Here is somewhat of a merger of the two emails:
I am ________________, a third year student of International law at ______________ University in China. I am a ___________ citizen and I will be graduating next year.
_______________ contacted me for an interview about “Going to school in China” and during our conversation, I mentioned that our university is not helping us find an internship. Moreover, we as foreigners are not allowed to practice law in China. That is why I couldn’t answer him when he asked me about my future plans. I frankly have no idea if my degree will be recognized abroad or where should I be doing my internship. He recommended your blog to me and also suggested I ask you for some advice.
I would be highly obliged if you could advice me on where I should look for an internship and how. Our university wants us to have an internship of minimum two months. I am also studying Chinese language along with my degree here. Our course is taught in English but they also give us Chinese classes. I can say my Chinese is good enough to carry out normal conversations with Chinese people.
It would be really helpful in to find a good job after my graduation if I can find an internship in an international law firm before my graduation.
Really looking forward to your suggestions!
Because one of the students had been referred to me by a China law professor/China lawyer I know, I felt some obligation to do some brief research regarding the situation and I found the following:
- There are international law schools (at least one anyway) in China that teach Chinese law to students from all over the world, with English as the language of instruction.
- These students believe that upon graduation they will be readily employable by “international law firms” seeking new lawyers knowledgable about Chinese law.
- The students who graduate from these law schools cannot sit for the China bar.
- As far as I know, the students who graduate from these law schools cannot sit for any bar in the United States either. In fact, near as I can tell (though I certainly may be wrong about this), these students cannot sit for the bar in any country in the world.
- If I am right about #4 (and nobody has yet told me I am wrong on this), this means that graduating from one of these law schools does not help you to become a lawyer.
- Even if graduates from one of these law schools can sit for the bar in some country somewhere, I can only imagine it will be extremely difficult for any of these graduates to get a good law job. These law schools do not have any reputation anywhere (as far as I know). I am an active and long time China attorney who has the additional benefit of people constantly contacting us because of this blog. Yet I did not even know of the existence of these schools (Again, I am aware of only one such school for certain, but I hear there are others) until only very recently.
What is going on here? Do I have my facts right? People, please help me (and anyone considering one of these China law schools) out here.