CISGA (Coalition of International Students and Global Affairs) works to (1) improve student life for international students at HLS and (2) advocate for international students, resources, and opportunities at HLS. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, or are interested in joining the board for next year, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t taken a look at our report on the state of international students support at HLS from last year yet, you can check it out here.
Going through EIP as an international student can come with unique challenges. We wanted to send your way the following set of key information and resources pre-EIP to help you make the best decision you can.
1. EIPx Excel Sheet on Law Firms’ Visa Policies: OCS has released a consolidated Excel sheet containing all the results of the survey they conducted with law firms about their visa policies. You can access it at the bottom of the page here.
2. Law Firms’ Sponsorship of H1B Visa During 3L Year: The fact that some firms sponsor H1B during a student’s 3L year may play a factor in your decision. Please note that (a) HLS does not grant degree certificates before April of your graduation year so you will be entering the 3L H1B pool as an undergraduate-degree holder rather than a graduate degree holder and (b) the chances of getting a H1B for an associate position using your undergraduate degree remain slimmer than as a graduate degree holder. However, anecdotally, a fair number of BigLaw associates have received H1Bs using their undergraduate degrees, which suggests that whether or not firms apply to the H1B twice (once during 3L, once during the OPT year) may still be an important factor to research about when you are considering firms.
3. EIP Discrimination Policy: As a reminder, firms are not allowed to discriminate students based on race, ethnicity, or national origin during the screener and callback interviews. If you feel that you experienced an incident or a question that was possibly discriminatory, please report to the OCS staff present at EIP.
4. Suggested Questions to Ask Law Firms After You Are Offered a Summer Associate Position: In addition to OCS’ suggested questions on their website, the following are also some additional questions that might be useful to ask law firms once you are offered a summer associate position. Make sure that you receive a written response from the firm or ask them to confirm your memorialization of the conversation if the conversation took over the phone:
(I am not a US citizen nor a permanent resident, so I will require a work permission after my first year at XXX.
a. Will XXX apply for my H1B visa?
b. Will you apply for my H1-B visa twice?
c. What happens if I don’t get an H1-B visa?
d. If I fail to get the H1B, will I be able to be placed in a foreign office? If that is the case, what is the process for placing people in foreign offices?
e. Will the firm try to bring me back to the US on an L1 visa or continue applying for a H1B?
f. If I want to do XXX-related work, what foreign offices would be available for me to relocate to? Alternately, what is the firm’s biggest foreign office outside of the US, and what practice groups are available there to a US-trained junior associate?
g. Did anyone in the past five years have to actually leave the firm for visa-related reasons?
h. What is the firm’s policy for green card sponsorship?
We want to stress that regardless of your visa status, international students have done amazingly well at EIP. Try to relax, learn as much as you can about the firms you are interested in, and enjoy the EIP ride! feel free to reach out to any of the rising 3Ls on the CISGA Board (Ayoung Kim, Sabrina Singh, Jeff Ong, Grace Zhu) if you have any questions. Happy summer!