It took him six years, but Professor Kwai Ng finally got his law degree. He obtained an English law degree (known as LLB) from the external program of University of London. He found that studying English law was actually fun for the most part but, “I just couldn’t stand constitutional law.” The studying process helped him to get a basic sense of the differences between the English common law and its American counterpart. “Many things are similar; but there are things that are noticeably different,” he said. The English law of libel, for example, is harsher to defendants than the American law. The British also have a different taste in jurisprudence. Legal positivism, for example, is a much bigger tradition in Britain than in the US. His favorite subject is evidence. “I’m fascinated by the ways the law approaches the concept of truth.” “Henry David Thoreau once said ‘the lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency’ and I think it’s quite true.”
Now with a law degree under his belt, does that mean that he can practice as a lawyer in California? The answer is no. To be able to practice, he has to first take the California Bar Examination. However, the State Bar of California has recently tightened its requirements for admission to practice for people with a non-US law degree. “I have to complete one year of law study at an ABA approved law school before I can become eligible to take the California Bar Exam.”
One more year of law study or not, he doesn’t think he’s going to pursue a legal career. “Who wants to become a lawyer when one is already a sociologist?” he asked, rhetorically.