Matthew Nash is one of our tutors at London Bloomsbury campus specialising in criminal law. We asked Matthew to tell us about the new US Bar Preparation course, what makes it different to UK law and any advice he would give students considering it.
By Elsa Tatam. Published 08 August 2022. Last updated 11 January 2023.
I became a criminal lawyer because I needed to feel that I could make a positive difference in people’s lives. In fact, one of my career highlights was successfully defending someone for murder at the Old Bailey. I was inspired to begin a career in law when I began watching great legal dramas such as Inherit the Wind and 12 Angry Men. I realised that the law is the one profession where you can make an impact, whether large or small, in whatever you do. I have now been a lawyer for more than 20 years, and I wanted to be able to impart the knowledge and experience that I have gained over the last 20 years to a new generation of lawyers.
The US Bar Preparation Course will entail learning the American legal system and getting students ready to take the bar in the United States. The course will explore the area of US constitutional law, that is completely different from UK law. Students will understand how the US system works through its Constitution and Bill of Rights and how they permeate through the federal system. The students will also learn how the US system works with the split of sovereignty between the states and the federal government.
The US Bar Preparation course is aimed at any student who wants to expand their horizons and be able to practise in the US and more widely. The top US firms now have considerable penetration into the London legal market and the top UK firms have offices in New York and Los Angeles. If a student wants to be a global lawyer rather than an English solicitor (or lawyer just limited to one jurisdiction), this is the course for you.
The US bar differs from UK focused law courses as the course uses knowledge that students have obtained in their UK (or other international) law courses to allow them to become US qualified in a relatively short time. There is a lot of crossover between US law and UK (and other) law. For example, US tort, criminal and contract law are very similar to English and Welsh law.
The US Bar Preparation can lead to numerous careers. It is ideal for those who wish to work in the United States or for an American company. I have worked with students in the past who have worked for big US international companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Texaco. It is important to remember that the US legal market is many times the size of the UK’s. With the US Bar qualification in their hands, I hope to see the next generation make changes such as upholding the rule of law in the United Kingdom, the United States and beyond.
The advice that I would give to students considering the US Bar Preparation course is that they need to give themselves time to do it. It is roughly the equivalent of doing a part-time masters but for one year rather than two. It is not that difficult intellectually but it does require a lot more time to cover all the subjects. However, a non-bar specific piece of advice that I always share with my students is not to panic when you are faced with difficulties. The law is an exciting but difficult profession. It can be taxing emotionally, mentally and sometimes emotionally. There will be potholes in the road but if you persevere you will succeed.
Find out more about our US Bar Preparation courses and take your first steps towards an exciting new career.