Can an American Lawyer Practice in Other Countries?

The practice of law in the host country depends on local regulations; many countries will not recognize the U. S. UU. Lawyers may only be able to practice in the U.

Advocate or work as an associate with a local lawyer. In some countries, there may be no restrictions, while in others you may not be able to practice at all. Ultimately, if you want to be an American practicing law in Italy, it won't be easy. To truly practice Italian law, more studies, work and time would be needed than would be feasible for a professional who is already practicing and who has just moved to a new country. And even if you, as an American lawyer, are hired to work in international law, you still have to learn Italian law, which isn't easy.

But it might be worth it. After all, who doesn't want to live in Italy? In recent years, we have noticed that a good number of American lawyers are moving abroad to practice law abroad. These relocations have mainly taken place in London and Hong Kong. While many American lawyers may not consider moving to another country when they finish law school, it's worth noting that a legal career abroad may be a viable option for many U. S.

lawyers. Since BCG Attorney Search has American lawyers who interview continuously in London and Hong Kong, we believe that the international demand for US lawyers deserves to be discussed. Subscribe and get the latest news, comments and opinions on law firms, law schools, lawsuits, judges and more. What a lawyer working abroad does on a typical day depends on the practice area. It also depends on the local regulations that govern the practice of law, which vary from one jurisdiction to another. Many of our key business partners allow experienced U.

lawyers to practice in the U. Law or work under the supervision of a local lawyer. The work will also vary depending on the environment. The most common scenarios include working in an overseas office in the U. Law firm or as a local employee in a foreign law firm.

However, U. lawyers can also work in-house for the local branch of an EE. Multinational company, or directly for a foreign multinational company. However, the common denominator is that most practices are transactional and transactions usually have an international component. An example is a strategic alliance or joint venture between a U.

company and its foreign counterpart to develop and commercialize the specified technology. Other examples include a combination of cross-border businesses or the simultaneous issuance of securities in multiple jurisdictions. Many of these transactions could be handled by a US service. Law firm that works with unaffiliated local lawyers. Law firms with significant international businesses have determined that it makes sense to close these agreements with U.

lawyers (and their own foreign lawyers) located both in the U. Local law firms with significant international activity also hire U. lawyers to help them with cross-border transactions. Attorneys based abroad can also coordinate with local lawyers to provide guidance to the U.

Companies on complying with local regulations in their daily operations. They also provide guidance to foreign companies on complying with U. requirements. Regulations, ranging from data privacy to self-employment trading. In most situations, lawyers working abroad interact with their colleagues as they would in the U.

The nature of contact with foreign customers depends on a variety of factors, such as corporate culture and language barriers. Local regulations on the practice of law may also affect the nature of contact with the client. If all goes well, attached attorneys usually return to work at the firm in the U. Others get jobs as in-house advisors in multinational companies, either in the U. Some of these companies may be clients of the firm where the lawyer worked while stationed abroad. U.

lawyers who work as local employees in foreign law firms typically have fixed-term contracts of approximately two years. They may try to extend their deadlines, but they should think about their next move long before their contracts expire. Lawyers seeking to return to a new firm or company in the U. They must emphasize the quality and quantity of the offers they worked on while abroad. This can help overcome any bias between the U.

Lawyers based abroad are likely to face a variety of legal issues, as well as a regulatory environment and business practices that are unique to the jurisdiction or region, making practicing abroad interesting. Outside of work, they will most likely live in or near a world-class city, with plenty of opportunities to explore and tour, attend cultural events, and try new foods. The transaction flow varies as it does in the U. Time zone differences and business cultural norms can create pressure to stay in the office, even if you're not busy. A common complaint is exhaustion due to a workflow that can be difficult to predict, but this is also true for transactional lawyers based in the U. Another common complaint is that the internship abroad may not live up to expectations, especially after the initial enthusiasm of working abroad has worn off. Another problem may be more common in foreign law firms than in overseas offices in the U.

An American lawyer who expects to work on substantive legal issues may end up spending a disproportionate amount of time correcting the English of locally produced documents.


the law governing the document is local law, this makes it difficult for the U. S.


to provide legal guidance. It's a great opportunity to gain international legal experience, acclimate to global business practices and build a global network of contacts.


the firm has a good flow of business,the lawyershould have no difficulty translating substantive legal skills acquired abroad to a law firm or to an internal position in the U. UU... Most...

Dawn Launiere
Dawn Launiere

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