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January 16, 2017

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NewYork1

What would be interesting to know is whether the value of these degrees is to a large extent driven by the ability to obtain an H-1B visa. If Trump takes that away, what value will they have?

Carole Silver

The OPT enables international students to work in the US for up to 12 months; together with the H-1B, these offer the promise of staying for those who can successfully navigate the job market. No doubt that the possibility of staying is important regardless of the practical likelihood.

As to this likelihood, while many international LLM students report that they hope to work in the US for some period after graduating, the market is very competitive and challenging. To that end, certain law schools include warnings in their web-based degree descriptions to inform international applicants of the difficulty of finding work after earning an LLM (for two examples, see the University of Chicago, http://www.law.uchicago.edu/prospective/llm/which-program ("Long-term positions (more than one year) for foreign-trained lawyers in the United States are extremely difficult to obtain because LLM students are competing for the same positions with US-trained JD students who have spent three years studying law in this country. An additional hurdle for non-U-S citizens: employers must sponsor them for a different immigration status and that process can be expensive. Foreign-trained lawyers who hope to obtain such long-term positions practicing law in the US are well advised to apply to JD programs rather than LLM programs or transfer to JD programs after receiving their LLM degrees ...."), and Georgetown University Law Center, http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/academic-programs/graduate-programs/degree-programs/general-studies-international-legal-studies/index.cfm ("Georgetown's LL.M. programs are not designed to assist foreign-trained attorneys to remain in the U.S. for their legal careers, and the majority of students return home after they study here. Under current visa regulations, however, it is possible for international LL.M. graduates to undertake limited "optional practical training (OPT)" in law in the U.S. after completion of their studies, and a number of our graduates do sit for a bar exam soon after completing the degree, and/or find OPT positions in the United States. Georgetown Law, through the Graduate Career and Professional Development staff in the Office of Graduate Programs, assists international LL.M. students in their search for post-degree employment.").

twbb

"The OPT enables international students to work in the US for up to 12 months"

Of course, if you have useful rather than legal skills, you can get an additional 24-month extension after that...

NewYork1

I suspect that Trump is going to try very hard to limit H-1B visas to true tech gurus. Fact is, we don't need more lawyers, accountants, general business people. The public has been sold that the H-1Bs are tech people.

twbb

The big problem with H-1Bs is they're given out so easily. I have friends on H-1Bs who are exactly the kind of people it was meant to attract; highly-skilled workers in unglamorous but necessary technical fields who are literally taking jobs that they have trouble finding U.S. workers for. Their futures are now being threatened because American companies have used large-scale H-1B-based consulting companies to displace already-working Americans, and the federal government has been criminally lax in failing to enforce the law.

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