In the past, becoming a lawyer in the U.S. was a distant dream for ordinary Korean students and employees. Not only did it require excellent intellectual ability but adequate financial resources to attend a law school in the U.S.
But, Kim Ki-tae, a lawyer in New York State, says Koreans can pass the U.S. bar exam without going to a law school there. He is advertizing that Koreans can obtain a law license in the U.S by attending his private academy in southern Seoul and following his recommendations.
“The easiest way is to apply for the bar exam is to go to Palau which has a legal system similar to that of the U.S. And then take the bar exam in California, which allows those with a license to practice law in Palau to take the test,” said Kim in an interview with The Korea Times.
He said anyone with a bachelor’s degree of law can apply for the bar exam in Palau, and the test is not as difficult as people think. Palau is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean that gained independence from the U.S. in 1994.
“The Palau test is similar to that of Washington D.C. test. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. You can pass the test if you get at least 66.5 percent of answers right,” said Kim.
He said that people with common sense can answer those questions properly because they are not so difficult to solve.
Kim said that applicants to the U.S. bar also can try non-degree programs jointly run by U.S. law schools and local colleges. He said Hallym University of Graduate Studies offers a UConn Summer program in cooperation with the University of Connecticut in which professors from the U.S. law school lecture from May to August.
Those with a bachelor of law degree can apply for the Washington D.C. bar exam after completing 26 credits from the program. But in this case, students should pay $20,800 for the tuition with $800 per credit.
Kim also introduced a dual-degree program co-hosted by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Northwestern Law School. He said it is a good program because students can get a master’s degree in intellectual property law from KAIST and a master of laws degree (LLM) from Northwestern, but this costs about 100 million won.
He said employees in Korea’s big conglomerates, including Samsung, are seeking to gain U.S. law licenses because it gives them many advantages in their workplaces. “You should try it too because it is not as difficult as you might imagine.”