LL.M. Chronicle #4 : The Bar-athon

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If there is something that every LLM candidate should consider, it’s taking the Bar of New York (or Texas or California). Indeed, this element is a major difference with the UK, where it is much more difficult, administratively, to become a solicitor.

Once the sweet dream of the phrase "New York Lawyer at the Bar’ appearing on someone’s law card materialised, so too did the realisation of the work required behind the prestigious title.

A Financial Investment

As often in the US, it is primarily a question of costs. Registration for the exam costs about $ 700, which must be added a further two months on site (to give an idea, my room in a university residence is $ 1.600 per month, regrettably, without CAF) and a prep  that costs around $ 4000. In total, count it at about a $ 10,000 investment.

Choosing Subjects

On an academic level, you will need to do a number of compulsory subjects to complete your LLM. These count for a total of 12 credits with a maximum of 30 that you may have during the year. You might think that doesn't sound tough and for those of you who will complete a General LLM, it will not be an issue and you will be in the best possible position to pass the Bar.

But for those who chose a specialized LLM, which, in my opinion, is the best choice, you will also have a mandatory base of subjects, which will leave little room to choose other credits. This is unfortunate because there are other subjects on the curriculum that are fascinating. The hardest part is probably to spend time on a subject, only for the bar, that does not interest you as much. 

The event takes place over two days, split between multiple choice and "essays" questions, covering twenty subjects. Some very short topics only correspond to one or two chapters, but these chapters would be considered a field in France. In short, it's cramming for two months.

Why take the Bar Exam?

Now that you know what we're talking about, on to the real question: what is it?

According to all the lawyers I have met, nothing.

If you have the CAPA and intend on staying in France, it will bring you nothing and most large firms do not value you, or it, as much.

If you plan to work in the United States, know that it is likely that you will be hired as an intern or foreign collaborator. The opinion of the Bar recruiters will not help you really, considering how qualified American students are as well.

If you want to work elsewhere, I think, personally, that the Society may give you some credibility, although in the EU your Paris Bar will probably be enough considering the freedoms of movement and lack of limitations on labour movement.

Finally, and most importantly, those who do not have the CRFPA find that they gain a year’s experience through article 101 in the New York Bar. This is, I think, the main reason that candidates should opt for the Bar.

Matthieu Sabonnadiere