Students wishing to pursue law school often ask a question, “How long is law school?” The answer to this question is diverse depending on the career path you choose in the law field.
The initial step towards attaining a law degree is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The law schools do not require any specific undergraduate degree at this time. You can opt for a bachelor’s in any subject and is permitted by a law school for the student wishing to pursue a law career. However, there are subjects that can better prepare students to attend law school: history, philosophy, criminal justice, or political science to name a few.
Facts and figures related to law career expenses
Prior to selecting law as a career path, the students want to determine the period to complete law school because they want to be familiar with the expenses, and duration to complete the law school. According to the US News & World Report, the average finances for your law tuition was estimated at $42,000 during 2019-2020. The highest law degree price in the same year was $72,465 as the report revealed. These figures illustrate the overall cost of a law degree and verify that it is significantly dependent on how long is law school.
Generally, it takes 3 years to complete a law school, but it is also based on a person’s degree type and career goals. It may take more than three years when one wants to pursue a consultant or legal scholar degree and may require additional finances. Please continue reading as you will get to explore more about types of law school degrees with more details on how long is law school.
Types of law school degree
To determine how long is law school, you first have to figure out in which domain you want to pursue your career. The first step in obtaining a law degree is to select the degree type you wish to pursue. As the graduation time differs for every curriculum and length of the requirements, the degree type a law student wishes to obtain prolongs or shortens the period of your law school. Here’s the list of some common degrees that you can pursue in a law school.
Master of legal studies
It is a graduate degree that provides an adequate understanding of legislation under the US constitution. Moreover, an MLS degree does not qualify for an authorized attorney job, but you can work for any legal institution. Students of Masters of legal studies may also not necessarily give away the LSAT exam as they cannot get a license to work as an attorney. However, they can aid as court administrators, paralegal staff, e-discovery specialists, trial consultants, and compliance directors.
Many individuals that are associated with law school opt for a Juris Doctor degree. It is favorable for the students who intend to work as a licensed attorney as it justifies the requirements used to take the BAR Exam. Many JD programs provide the options to specialize in a certain niche which includes, elder law, civil litigations, advocacy, and tax laws.
Doctor of juridical science
It is one of the challenging and high intellect law school degrees. Admission in Doctor of Juridical sciences degrees is reserved for the law students who have already taken Master of law and Juris doctor degrees. The degree is for scholars of teaching law for making legislation and to train legal academics.
Master of law
The degree is for postgraduate law students to get advanced training after getting a license for practicing as an attorney. Master of law (LLM) helps the students to have a better comprehension of laws for the specialization. The laws might include family law, intellectual property, immigration, and environmental law. The LLM degree is entirely optional but to have a better understanding of laws under the US constitution, it’s worth noticing.
Doctor of philosophy in law
The degree is another kind of law school degree that is highly rooted in theories and methodologies in legal research. Unlike Doctor of Juridical Science, Doctor of Philosophy practices a scientific approach to review legal matters. Moreover, Ph.D. in law outperforms legal consultants, researchers, patent lawyers, professors, and more.
How much time do these law degrees take to finish?
As mentioned above, determining the time frame for a degree to complete greatly depends on the degree and additional courses associated with it. It is also important to note here that every law degree requires the candidate to have a graduate degree before enrolling in a law school. As for bachelors, it takes 4-5 years to complete the required college credits which should be more than 120. For the degrees mentioned above, the law students can expect to have the following time frames.
Master of legal studies – The degree takes significantly less time to complete. MLS students pursuing the degree can complete it in 12 – 16 months if studied full-time, as for a part-time degree it may take less than three years. In cases, if the degree is associated with other research programs such as MSN/MLS or MSW/MLS, then surely it will take more than that.
Juris doctor – Obtaining a Juris doctor degree takes three years if done full-time. The accelerated mode of the degree may finish in two years, whereas a part-time program will last up to 4-5 years generally. Many law schools offer a dual 3+3 JD/BA track that takes almost 6 years to complete.
Doctor of juridical science – The completion of the program requires 40 – 48 law school credits. On taking a full-time course, the curriculum takes approximately one year to be finished, for part-time SJD, law students manage to complete the curriculum in three and a half to four years typically.
Master of law – After you complete the SJD in three years, the Master of law degree will take another 12 months. Specific specialties such as criminal law and constitutional law which need more precise understanding can be completed in two years even online.
Doctor of philosophy in law – Obtaining a Ph.D. level involves 90 – 100 credits. If you have credits from the Master of law program, then a maximum of 30 credits can be transmitted to get a Ph.D. degree in law. Finishing research can be difficult and consumes much time. For completing the Doctor of Philosophy in law, a candidate may take up to 4-8 years.
Career opportunities for law school grads
How long does law school take? It takes around 12 – 72 months based on the type of your degree. But is it worth having law school spending lots of time and draining that much energy to have a title after such a long time? The Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that there will be an increasing demand for lawyers in the upcoming years to provide authentic legal services. Statistics for the next 10-years depict the 6% increase from 2018-2028. The practicing number of lawyers will rise from 823,900 to 874,000.
According to the average salary earned till May 2020, lawyers have made the annual wage $69.86 per hour or $l145,300 annually. A salary median range for lawyers found between $59,670 to $224,970. The average range may rise because of the higher degree levels lawyers earn the most across the year. The highest wage also depends on the demographic factor as well, lawyers from New York, Washington Dc, and California are the ones that earn the most.
Advance degrees in law school include a lot of education, theses, curriculum, seminar, coursework, fellowship, and externship. Obtaining a law degree from law school may be costly and time-consuming but worth the try.
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