The LSAT in a Globalized World

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I received a tweet from one of our many millions of twitter followers the other day, asking me what I thought of the Economist story about the rise of globalization and its effect on the legal industry and what it meant for the LSAT.

Because it will take me 140 characters just to write the sentence you’re reading right now, I decided to tackle the question in a blog post.

The gist of the article is that, in an increasingly global economy, the legal profession is rapidly becoming the sort of profession where, if you’re at a high level, you can draw up contracts and hate your life all over the world; you’re no longer limited to an office building in the middle of some skyline. It then goes on to say that in certain places, the global legal trade (i.e. you or I deciding to practice law in India or wherever) is frowned upon, or even actively illegal.

My first reaction is that it’s weird to think of the legal industry as an integral piece of the economy to be protected, but that’s apparently how certain nations are treating it. India and, to a certain extent, Canada both have made it difficult for non-natives to practice law in their countries, ostensibly to protect the mom-and-pop industries already present. As a person who is firmly anti-law, my ambivalence on this subject tears at the tattered fabric of my soul. I hate the idea of a law inhibiting competition, but the spread of an international legal system also leaves me cold.

But as a larger whole, globalization of the legal industry is certainly on the horizon, and we must ask ourselves that most important of all possible question: what does this mean for the LSAT? And, truth be told, I can’t imagine it will mean any changes for the LSAT. Because the LSAT doesn’t actually test anything beyond your ability to think quickly and study intensively, it’s no more relevant (or irrelevant) in an increasingly globalized world than it was back in the day of us not being globalized (really need to think of a catchy term for that). Law schools might have to start adjusting their curriculum, and there may need to be changes to our Bar system, but the LSAT, in all its inimitable glory, will remain.

3 Responses

  1. Charlie Grove says:

    When you say Canada’s restricted the ability of non-natives to practice, I presume you mean the limitation to be a citizen or permanent resident to write the bar in some provinces? that’s been getting progressively cut down, with immigrants able to practice in bc, on, alta, and mb at least. with current laws, it’s far easier for a foreigner to get a degree and work in Canada than it is the States.

  2. Dave says:

    Hi Charlie,

    Not according to the article cited. While I have absolutely no research or knowledge of my own, the Economist story states that Canada has two tests non-natives must pass (at the provincial and federal level), in addition to the disconnect between Quebec and the rest of the provinces, that inhibits the growth of a non-native legal industry. The implication is that this is more restrictive than the United States, where, for example, you can see people of many different national backgrounds practicing in NYC.

    Anyway, appreciate the comment.

    -Dave Woods

  3. Charlie Grove says:

    Hi Dave,

    Ah, misunderstanding – the line between foreign lawyers, and foreignERS. If you qualify elsewhere, then yes Canada’s hard to get into. But if you were born elsewhere, and want to study then work, it’s much easier – so yes, you really need to be natively qualified for the north, but US immigration law means you practically have to be a native, or else very lucky, to get the right to work – differing aspects of globalisation and migration :)

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