What You Should Know About This Degree
A law degree equips you to practice law in a corporate setting, private practice, government, or in the nonprofit world. Lawyers affiliated with corporations or government tend to earn the highest salaries.
The practice of law is a rigorous profession, and as most lawyers will attest, practitioners tend to work more than 40 hours a week. Research and the review of documentation takes up a considerable amount of their time.
Although the law field is projected to grow about as fast as average over the next decade, some areas of law are increasing more rapidly. As our population ages, eldercare law is becoming more needed by this group. Environmental lawyers are also in high demand.
To practice law legally, you must pass your state’s bar exam, which may take up to 18 hours and include a character and fitness review. Passing this exam will allow you to receive your law license to practice in your state. Some lawyers take the bar exam in several states to allow for a greater range of practice.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Law degree programs:
- How long does it take to complete this degree? Your Juris Doctor degree can be completed with full-time study in three years. A Doctor of Juridical Science degree, a more specialized degree designed primarily for those who will teach in law schools, takes longer — up to five years with full-time attendance.
- What licensing or certifications are required? To find out what is required in your state, check the website of your state Bar Association. A lengthy exam is required in every state in order to practice law. Further certifications in specialized areas of law may also be available through your Bar or via other professional organizations.
As you are considering programs, take advantage of the resources that each institution makes available to prospective students. A robust website will answer many questions, but even better is a phone, email, or live chat conversation with a knowledgeable admissions counselor, who can answer questions and guide you through the application process.
Law school can be expensive, but most schools offer financial aid packages to prospective students. You may also find scholarships, loans, or grants through your employer or your professional organizations.