How long does it take to become a Lawyer : Generally, to become a lawyer, you have to take a four-year baccalaureate degree and three years of Law School are required to earn a degree in Law. Then you have to obtain a license by gaining admittance to the Bar in the jurisdiction in which you wish to practice.
How long does it take to become a Lawyer
Most people who pursue a career as a lawyer generally take the traditional path of earning a bachelor’s degree followed by three years of law school. The amount of time this actually will take you depends on whether you attend school full-time and pass the bar exam on the first try. However, not every state imposes the same requirements, so choosing to practice in one state over another can significantly affect the time it takes to become a lawyer.
Getting an Undergraduate Degree
The initial step to becoming a lawyer generally is four years of study as an undergraduate at a college or university. It isn’t necessary to focus your undergraduate studies in a legal field or in any particular major for that matter – just as long as you earn a bachelor’s degree. Most law schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association, or ABA, require you to complete a bachelor’s degree to be admitted. In California, however, you’re eligible to enter law school with just two years of undergraduate coursework or by passing an equivalency exam. Though you might be able to enter law school more quickly, you may have a hard time getting admitted into a top law school this way.
How long does it take to become a Lawyer – Taking the LSAT
A majority of the law schools in the United States require applicants to take the Law School Admission test, or LSAT, as it’s more commonly referred to. Your score on the LSAT is a significant part of your law school applications and you’ll need to spend time preparing for it. However, students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree usually complete the test while in college – so preparing for the LSAT doesn’t normally require additional time. If you’re unhappy with your initial score or you already completed your bachelor’s degree, retaking the test or finding time to study for it can increase the amount of time it takes you to become a lawyer.
How long does it take to be lawyer – Going to Law School
If you’re able to enroll in law school as a full-time student, you can expect to complete the program in three years. Attending law school on a part-time basis is an option at many law schools, but it does mean you’ll be studying for four rather than three years. Some states, such as Colorado, don’t even require that you attend law school. However, the majority of states, such as New Jersey, require attendance at an ABA-accredited law school.
Writing the State Bar Exam
Soon after graduating from, law school, you’ll need to sit for the bar exam in your state, or in the state where you want to practice law. Studying for the bar exam will likely consume two to three months of your time and will take an additional few months to get the results. But even if you pass, you still can’t hold yourself out as a lawyer until you’re officially admitted to the bar. To be admitted, you must pass a character and fitness review by your state’s bar association. This process includes a thorough background check of your financial, criminal, residence and employment history. The amount of time this takes will depend on how clean your background is, but you can generally expect it to take a number of months.
How to become a Lawyer?
All lawyers must be academically qualified and licensed to perform their professional role. Academic qualifications are a pre-requisite to taking a state’s bar examination.
The most typical route to becoming a lawyer entails completing an undergraduate degree in any major (those interested in intellectual property law should have a strong background in sciences), taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and completing the juris doctor (J.D.) degree, before sitting for the state’s bar examination.
Before selecting a law school, applicants must make sure of the accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). There are non-accredited law schools as well, which may be imparting quality education, however, their graduates may not be able to sit for the state’s bar examination.
How long does it take to get a lawyer degree
SO How long does it take to become a Lawyer? Individuals interested in law careers typically ask a common question, “How long does it take to complete a law degree?” The answer is that the time can vary depending on the individual’s career goals and the type of legal degree they pursue. Becoming a lawyer can take a few years while pursuing a career as a scholar or a consultant may require a different amount of studies. Here is some information on law degrees and how long they can take to complete.
Types of Law Degrees
Determining the length of time to complete law degrees first requires knowing the type of degree the individual wishes to pursue. Here are the most common law degrees:
- Juris Doctor – Referred to as the original of law degrees, this is for students who want to work as licensed lawyers.
- Master of Legal Studies – This is for individuals who want a solid understanding of the law but don’t wish to become a licensed lawyer.
- Master of Dispute Resolution – This non-JD degree program for individuals who want to work for various businesses and deal with negotiations and resolutions.
- Master of Laws – This degree is for individuals who already have a law degree but want to specialize in a certain area of law, such as intellectual property, family law or immigration to name a few.
- Doctor of Judicial Science – This high-level degree is for individuals who have already earned the Juris Doctor and the Master of Laws and wish to pursue careers in research, academia or as a legal scholar.
How Long to Complete Law Degrees
CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE IN A NEW WINDOWWhen determining the time it takes to earn a law degree, keep in mind that most law degrees require that the student first has a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years to complete. Beyond the bachelor’s degree, the law student can expect the following time periods.
- Juris Doctor – This program requires three years to complete.
- Master of Legal Studies – This program can be completed in 16 months of full-time study or 28 months of part-time study.
- Master of Dispute Resolution – Students can complete this program in 16 to 28 months depending on the level of commitment.
- Master of Laws – This program can be completed in one to two years.
- Doctor of Judicial Science – This full-time program can be completed in two years.
Curriculum for Law Degrees
Students earning a law degree complete a curriculum that includes course work, seminars, internships, fellowships and extensive research. They can choose from several programs of study including law and history; criminal justice; international and comparative law; law and government; law and social change, and law, science and technology. Courses can vary depending on the field of law a student may choose. Course topics might include:
- Administrative law
- Capital punishment
- Constitutional law
- Cyber laws
- Legal research and writing
Related Resource: Top 30 Most Affordable Law Degree Programs Online
Career Outlook for Lawyers
Lawyers continue to be in demand as individuals and businesses are in need of legal services in many areas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of eight percent during the 2016-2026 decade. As of May 2017, lawyers earned wages ranging from $57,430 to $178,480 with the average annual wage at $141,890. Legal students who have the highest degree levels generally earn the highest wages.
A legal career can involve a lot of education, training and externships and it’s also a big commitment. Despite how long it can take to complete a law degree, working as an attorney can be exciting, challenging and very rewarding.