If you’re reading this, chances are you are thinking about getting into a law school and you’re feeling anxious about it. Well, that is completely normal; law school can be pretty intimidating, especially when you realize how competitive it is. Law school is attended by the brightest people who are very determined to be the best. So, it is important for you to know how long will the law school adventure last and for how long are you going to put up will all sorts of people and obligations.
In the following paragraphs, we are going to take a quick look at law school for what it is, what it stands for and how long it actually lasts. So, buckle up and get ready for information that might affect your career path in the long run. Maybe you are to become one of the best lawyers, or after you read the article, you might change your mind about law school. Either way, let’s get started.
Law School Duration
Law school is not a joke; it requires a lot to become a legal practitioner of law in the US. In order to become an attorney, this path requires a bachelor’s degree for starters. No particular bachelor’s degree is required; any degree is allowed as long as you’re ready to start studying law. Surely, certain bachelor’s degrees will have you better prepared for law school. For example, if you’ve studied political science, criminal justice, philosophy or history you should be having an easier time adapting to law school.
Now, getting a bachelor’s degree is an educational timeline on its own, and it will, of course, take you three years to get this degree. If you’re one of the students who have selected a typical college path of 4 or 5 years of studying, this might affect your decision to continue your education in a law school. The reason for that lies in the fact that after getting a bachelor’s degree, you need to be ready to continue studying for at least three more years; that is the duration of a traditional law school. To make things more understandable, here’s a brief insight and overview;
- Any bachelor’s degree is acceptable for a law school; the educational timeline for a bachelor’s degree is three years; some bachelor’s degrees take two and a half to five years.
- You should take into consideration the LSAT test; this test is a part of the process of getting accepted into a law school. Bear in mind that it can take up to a year to study and complete the testing. Some students start studying for this test even before their bachelor’s degree.
- Once you get accepted, it will take you three years to complete the law school. Unlike other schools, law school will not allow you to stretch your studying and complete the school at your own pace. You are required by the law school to complete it in three years. An extension can be, of course, permitted under certain and specific circumstances and student needs.
- Even though you are required to complete the law school in three years, there are also four-year programs, part-time programs and two-year accelerated programs available for students to attend.
- Once you’ve graduated from law school, you will need to write and pass the State Bar Exam. This will take two to three months to prepare and study for, and of course, you will have to wait a few months for the actual exam results.
- Now, when you pass the State Bar Exam, you are still not a lawyer. There are certain character and fitness reviews you need to undergo as ordered by the state bar’s association. The reviews also include a detailed background check. This can take up to several months, all depending on how clean your background is.
The Law Degree
After three years of law school, you will be awarded the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Following graduation, you will have to pass the Bar Exam in order to practice any area of law. The J.D. degree can also enable you a career in politics, government, business, education, public advocacy, etc. Of course, if you want to use the J.D. degree for purposes other than the practice of law, make sure to check for other graduate degrees and master’s programs that will enable you to get a degree faster.
Law School vs. College
The first apparent difference between law school and college is the way semesters and years are marked; the first year is 1L, the second year is 2L and the third year is 3L. Then, the teaching methods are significantly different. Law school will rely on the Case and Socratic Method. The Case Method means that there will be a lot of reading and preparation for a class, which usually includes studying cases for several hours. On the other hand, the Socratic method relies on lecturers not lecturing, but rather having students answer questions and analyze what was proposed by the lecturer. Professors use hypothetical scenarios and cases where students have to explore the case, the facts and show an overall understanding of the presented material.
Three years of law school may not seem that long, but when we take into consideration the whole educational timeline, we get an understanding of why law schools are considered heavy duty. It takes a lot of sacrifices, a lot of studying and practicing to complete the law school and get a J.D. degree. Unless you are extremely passionate about law, or you are considering to use the degree for other related purposes, then maybe you might reconsider this choice. On the other hand, if you are passionate about law, then all we can say is good luck and hopefully, the three years of law school will pass quickly.