JD for Non-U.S. Lawyers

4 students in the University of Arizona Law JD for Non-U.S. Lawyers program talk in the lobby of the law school

JD for Non-U.S. Lawyers

If you have studied law outside of the U.S., University of Arizona Law’s JD for non-U.S. lawyers can expand your professional opportunities.

Through our advanced admissions program you will:

  • Earn a Juris Doctor (JD) - the same degree that U.S. law students receive
  • Finish in two years
  • Become eligible to access the bar exam in 50 U.S. states  

Advantages of a JD

Higher possibility of bar passage because you take the same “building block” courses as other JD students

Full range of first-year and upper-level JD courses

You’re ready for a rigorous, challenging, but fulfilling education

Advantages of a JD

  • Access to the bar exam in 50 U.S. states, whereas an LLM typically only allows limited access to the bar exams in a select number of states.
  • More extensive legal research and writing training than is possible in the typical one-year LLM program, providing you with superior knowledge of legal English writing and research techniques.
  • Enhanced employment opportunities. International graduates of our JD program are fully trained U.S. lawyers with the same JD degree as other attorneys in the U.S. A JD from Arizona Law allows international graduates to practice in their home countries by representing U.S. investors or local businesses investing in the U.S.; to practice law within the U.S. in law firms, governmental organizations, and non-profits; or to practice around the world with U.S. companies investing abroad or doing business internationally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you will earn exactly the same degree: a Juris Doctor (JD). There is no difference between degrees awarded to students admitted through the advanced admission program and students admitted through the traditional program, and nothing will be different on the diplomas.
Students admitted through the advanced admissions program are fully integrated with the approximately 125 to 150 students in each JD class, and the curriculum and course requirements are the same for all JD students regardless of whether they are admitted through the advanced admissions program or the regular admissions process.
The only difference is that students admitted through the advanced admissions program may receive up to 29 transfer credits for their non-U.S. legal studies and/or their U.S. LLM credits..

JD students in the 2-Year path are not required to graduate in less than three years; you can choose to stay on for another semester or year. You may choose to extend your time at Arizona Law to receive further legal training to support your career path.

Students admitted through the advanced admissions program may receive up to 29 credits from their non-US legal training. They are thus regarded as transfer students and an LSAT score is not required. Moreover, in over 20 years of experience with non-US students, we have concluded that the LSAT is not an accurate measure of the ability of non-US students to succeed in law school or as lawyers. We believe that a better measure of the potential of a non-US student's ability to succeed in law school is the nature of the applicant's educational and professional experiences, law school grades, graduate study, and his or her practice background. We encourage students with LSAT or GRE scores to submit them with their application.

The 2-Year JD path is not focused on business and corporate law. It is a general JD degree, and the first year includes the standard foundational curriculum that all JD students take. In the second year, you can focus your studies as you like, including choosing from a number of specialized certificate programs such as environmental, indigenous peoples law and policy, criminal law and policy, international economic law and policy, tax law and policy, and family law.

As a JD student at University of Arizona Law, you will be assigned to a career counselor dedicated to international students.

We believe that earning a JD will have a very positive impact on your career. In the 2-Year JD, you will earn the same JD degree as students in the 3-year program. Yet, you get to start your career one year sooner, thus gaining work experience and avoiding the additional time and financial costs of another year of law school. You have the added advantage of being trained as a lawyer in another jurisdiction. Upon completing the JD you will be eligible to apply for a one-year optional practical training that would allow you to work in the U.S. for one year.
That said, regardless of where you attend law school or what degree you pursue, securing permanent employment in the United States can sometimes be a challenge for an international student due to immigration laws and quotas.
Therefore, we encourage our international students to expand their career search and utilize their network to identify career options in their home country or outside of the United States. If you work for a multinational company, you can then position yourself for an assignment in the U.S. or elsewhere around the globe.
As an international student, you will need to secure authorization to work off-campus after your 1L year. This authorization is vital to maintain compliance with your immigration status.
The precise requirements and restrictions applicable to you will vary depending on whether you enter the U.S. on an F-1 visa or a J-1 visa.
If you enter the U.S. on an F-1 visa, you must apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work while you are enrolled in the JD. To work in the U.S., upon graduation you must apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT allows you to work in the US for up to one year upon graduation without sponsorship from your employer and conversion to another visa type. You must apply for OPT no earlier than 90 days prior to and no later than 60 days after your graduation date. For more information about CPT and OPT, please contact the Office of International Student Services (ISS).
If you enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa, your summer work is classified as academic training and you are eligible to work in the United States for a total of 18 months, including work commencing after completion of your studies. The work must be related to your academic field, but you are not required to register for academic credit. For information about J-1 academic training, please contact ISS.

We have recently reduced the tuition for students in the 2-Year JD, making it the best-value JD program in the country. At Arizona Law, you will be able to earn your JD for less than half of what many U.S. students invest for the same degree. Because our 2-Year JD students are already receiving such a substantial discount, we are not in the position to offer much in the way of additional scholarships. On occasion, however, we are able to offer small scholarships to exceptional students.

We have tried very hard to make the 2-Year JD affordable to international students. Many schools price their JD and LLM programs higher and then give "scholarships" as a way to bring down the real cost. In other words, they build in an ability to discount into the price to make students feel like they are getting a bargain or are special, even when they are paying the same net tuition as most other students. We don't do that. Other schools use international students as a source of extra revenue by charging them very high tuition and using that money to subsidize U.S. students. We don't do that either. Our tuition is transparent, without hidden cost, and set in a way that is fair to international students.

There are a variety of housing options, both on- and off-campus. You can decide which you prefer. Information, including rental rates, about on-campus graduate school housing is available here. And, information about off-campus housing is available here.

Key Contact

Cary Lee Cluck
Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid

Phone: 520-621-7666
Email Cary Lee Cluck