In today’s landscape of intricately connected global marketplaces, political alliances, and other networks of communication, it only makes sense to consider earning your law degree abroad. Delving into the study of law within a different country and cultural context can train you to meet the complex demands of a 21st century legal environment, while giving you the opportunity to have a bit of fun travelling at the same time.
Why Earn Your Law Degree Abroad
Even if you are not definitively interested in practicing international law, earning your law degree abroad can be a beneficial venture nonetheless. Learning how to effectively navigate any country’s legal sphere requires a great deal of flexibility, determination, patience, and finesse; all qualities that will be instilled in you throughout the process of adapting to a new cultural and educational environment. Earning your degree abroad in law can indeed prepare you for a global career, but it can thus be equally impactful in training you for a successful domestic practice as well.
Wherever there are governments, there is applied the rule of law. Earning your law degree abroad is the opportunity to travel to essentially any country in the world and learn from their expertise and nuances in the field. More so than many other degrees you might pursue abroad, law is concretely a universal practice, and so can be seriously pursued all across the global landscape.
So where are the best law schools in the world located? As is the same in many other academic fields, the United States and United Kingdom take the cake when it comes to prestige and quality of law degrees abroad. The global centrality and influence of these nations make them perennially the most popular destinations for law students from around the world. Other English-speaking countries including Australia and Ireland are close behind in this regard.
If you are fluent in another language or willing to learn, then there are tons of fruitful destinations for a law degree abroad which lay beyond the English-speaking world as well. China and Singapore boast some of the best legal programs in Asia, Germany and the Netherlands follow suit in Europe, and as do Argentina and Mexico in Latin America. The field is wide open, so choose wisely!
Academics & Degrees
While you will usually have to become certified by a government or professional organization in order to actively practice law in a given country, the process of earning a law degree abroad is much more flexible. As long as the intended country where you will ultimately practice recognizes your law degree from abroad as legitimate, then you will have the opportunity to apply for legal credentials after graduation.
The actual professional law degree you will obtain may also differ between countries; for example a Juris Doctor in the United States is the equivalent of a Juris Magister in China. Often this is just a matter of semantics, as countries will recognize a law degree coming from overseas if it is the equivalent of their own, and subsequently grant you the opportunity to pursue legal credentials.
Still, you should make 100% certain that your home country will be willing to recognize your law degree from abroad before committing to an overseas law school. Every country structures their law degrees differently; most law degree abroad programs last between two and four years, and grant you the opportunity to further specialize in areas such as international law, business law, environmental law, and criminal law.
Benefits & Challenges
Background. Law is a large, pervasive, tangled field to build a career within. Earning your law degree abroad while learning to navigate the complexities of the world and your host country is a good place to start.
Perspective. Studying law in a different country will equip you with a unique perspective on the legal system of your own nation. As a future lawyer or legal professional, this can prove an invaluable toolkit by the flexibility and depth of knowledge it will provide you.
Communication. Law can be about collaboration and competition, both fields where your communication abilities will enable you to thrive. Challenging yourself to overcome a language barrier and other cultural differences can hugely aid the development of this skill.
Earning your law degree abroad will push you to the limits of what you are capable of as a legal professional; seeing, studying, and adapting to a new country can only bring out latent talents you never knew yourself in possession of!