How long does it take to get a Law Degree?
A student who is studying for a law degree will spend anywhere between seven and ten years in school depending upon which degree they are working to complete.
A Juris Doctor (J.D.) will take approximately three years to complete. This includes your introduction to law and the upper class schedule for years two and three. Law school is started upon the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in any study, which is normally a four-year college term. In order to qualify for law school, most schools require a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree. The total amount of time spent in class will be seven years, which includes the four required for a Bachelor’s Degree.
Once you have obtained your J.D. you are ready to take your state’s bar exam. The bar exam and the J.D. degree will qualify you to practice law in your state and no further education is required unless you are planning on a profession that will require you to have more in depth studies.
Upon completion of your J.D., you may wish to get your Master of Law (LL.M.) degree, which will take another year. During this year, you will be working on specific courses that will help further your professional goals. These courses are advanced with more applied knowledge than book courses. Many who are in the LL.M. program are going into tax law or corporate law.
If you intend to teach law at a university, you will need to take another year of school and obtain your Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D.). This degree is required in order to teach at law school level. You will need to spend the year working on your dissertation and be prepared to defend it to your future colleagues.
It is possible to spend almost ten years in a classroom, although most do not spend that much time going to school. Many graduates are at the J.D. level and go into practice with corporations, government agencies or small practices. Lawyers are needed in most aspects of society, so there are many jobs available to a J.D. without going into the criminal court system.
There is a need for arbitrators for companies, municipalities and even online businesses. The banking and finance industry uses lawyers to read contracts and prepare documentation for loans or manage trust departments or analyze bankruptcies. A lawyer can always go into politics and run for city councils, senator positions or other government leadership roles.
A lawyer has spent at least seven years in school learning to analyze, defend, communicate, comprehend and interpret a large amount of information and regulations. The skills that a lawyer learns may be used in any number of ways in society regardless of how many years of school they have completed.