Practicing in the US: career tips from Andrew David

Want to gain some overseas work experience? Always wanted to travel to America? On Thursday 7 April 2016, Andrew David will be conducting a free seminar on practicing law in the US. He will share tips on topics varying from finding the right visa or overcoming challenges related to the U.S. job market, to preparation strategies for the US Bar Exam.

In preparation for his seminar, we have asked Andrew to answer a few questions about his own experience and whether he has any tips for current Law Students.

Can you tell us about your career experience (and/or specialty fields) in the US?

My experience includes working for one of the largest international law firms in the United States, and serving as an immigration law attorney with Fragomen in Melbourne, Australia. I advise individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses, and large multinational companies on U.S. immigration law and procedure. I prepare applications and petitions filed before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). I work with businesses and individuals to develop immigration strategies across numerous industries, including engineering, healthcare, agribusiness, energy and information technology and more.

How did you get your first start in Law, and how did you get your first position abroad?

To get my foot in the door, I focused on gaining as much experience as possible while undertaking law studies. I also met with as many lawyers as possible that were already practicing abroad about their experience gaining entry into a foreign market. These meetings allowed me to become aware of the challenges of foreign practice well ahead of time.

What can students do to enhance their career prospects while at university and in the US?

Try to gain experience if possible while studying. Make a plan of how you will approach employers to complete for positions. Volunteer if necessary and stay focused on where you want to go. Take lawyers out to lunch to gain insights into your market or future practice area. Focus on building your networks. In terms of work experiences or placements, any opportunity that will broaden your experience will be helpful and worth considering, both in Australia and overseas.

What challenges currently exist in your industry, both domestic and internationally? How can your students prepare for this and/or create change?

There are multiple challenges faced by lawyers within our industry, as well as for those practicing law abroad. These challenges include access by the general public to legal services, increased competition for legal employment, increases in substance abuse and depression amongst lawyers, increased client demands put on lawyers, student debt, and many more. Being  as aware as possible early on of some of these issues could help students prepare for these types of challenges tremendously.

What’s the best piece of career advice that you’ve ever heard or taken on board?

The best advice I received was from a law professor, who told his class to slow down and stay focused on our goals. Don’t stress on the immediate pressures of grades and GPAs.

Keen to know more? Make sure to attend Andrew David’s free seminar on practicing in the US on Thursday 7 April!

La Trobe