Law: an international career

A legal qualification could give you the passport to work beyond your home country.

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Once you have a legal qualification, it is possible to work in other jurisdictions, most easily in countries with a similar legal system such as Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Each year a small but significant number of graduates opt to gain their professional practice qualification through the New York Bar Association or the California Bar Association. They are then qualified to practise in that state; in order to practise in Ireland, they must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility and sit the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test.

The EU Legal Services Directives allow legal practitioners qualified in one jurisdiction to practise in another EU state. Under one of the directives, lawyers can gain access to the local legal profession of an EU member country after three years’ post-qualification practice experience. They will need to apply to have their qualifications recognised in another member state; most member states also have aptitude tests to allow for the mobility of lawyers.

There are also opportunities for law graduates to work within one of the EU institutions, although proficiency in at least a second EU working language is a must. Law graduates without a practice qualification can apply through EPSO, the European Personnel and Selection Office, for jobs in one of the EU institutions in areas such as administration, management, law, finance and economics. There are also opportunities for qualified legal practitioners with two to three years’ post-qualifying experience.

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