A career in law is one of the highest paid careers, and also one of the most prestigious. The amount of time you spend in school preparing yourself for a career as a lawyer will pay off greatly. However, studying law is not easy, and it requires long hours of studying and class time, as well as dedication and patience.
If you’ve decided that you would like a career practicing law, there are a couple things you need to do to assure your time spent in college goes as smoothly as possible. First is to graduate high school with good grades. Get into an accredited 4 year program and complete a bachelors degree with a high GPA. Another option is completing the first two years at a community college and then transferring to a 4 year school. Either method is acceptable. Your main concern is your grades and the courses you choose as an undergrad. The next step is to start researching law schools and choose a school that’s right for you. Programs and courses the school offers are two things to consider when choosing a law school. Another is location. Remember, you’re most likely going to be spending three years here. Location is an important factor for many people for that length of time.
So, if you’re considering becoming a lawyer and practicing law, you may be wondering how long is law school? As with any educational program, it depends on a few factors. Whether you’re going to school full-time or part-time, whether or not you’re attending school in the summer, if you have taken any advanced placement courses in high school that offer college credit, or if you’re in an accelerated program either as an undergrad or while in graduate school. For the average full time student, law school will take seven years to complete. This incudes four years to obtain a bachelors degree and three years to complete the specialized law school training curriculum. If you decide to pursue an LLM (master of law) degree, you will be in school one full year longer. There are programs such as the JD accelerated program that will allow you to finish your degree in less time. The program allows students to take courses year round including the summer, with minimal breaks. This is a very structured and strenuous course load, but you can complete graduate school in two years instead of three.
As an undergraduate student, your course load should focus on courses that will best prepare you for law school. Political Science, History, and Criminal justice are some examples of courses you want to take a lot of as an undergrad. Each of these courses offer specialized courses within the subject. During your senior year you will want to start preparing for the LSAT. This is a specialized test that you will need to become a gradate student at a law school. It’s best to start preparing early and take advantage of the preparation courses and study materials.
Once in law school, try to avoid taking on a job if it’s not completely necessary. The law school curriculum is like a full time job with over time. Your course work, studying, and any internships you take on will take up any free time. If you absolutely must have a part time job, take a part-time job that offers flexibility with reasonable pay, and try to avoid a long commute.
After you graduate from law school, in order to practice law and become a lawyer, you will need to take and pass the bar exam. The courses you take in law school will prepare you for this exam. It covers topics such as Criminal Law, Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, and Torts. After landing your fist job in your law career, it’s important to keep up to date.Technology and laws change frequently, and it’s best to stay ahead. It will help you during the duration of your career. There are many continuing training courses that you can take yearly, semi-yearly, or as needed.
Having a law degree will expand your career options outside of becoming a lawyer or practicing law as well. There are high level professional careers in banking and finance, government and politics, and public interest advocacy that you can also do with your degree in law.
Congratulations on your decision to go to law school. Your opportunities are endless!