Law Degrees in Switzerland
In order to become a lawyer in Switzerland, students must complete a three-year Bachelor of Law (LLB). However, in order to be admitted to the bar and enter practice, a subsequent two-year Master of Laws is also required.
An alternate option which is popular with many international students is the shorter and specialized LLM, which offers the opportunity to gain targeted knowledge in one particular area of the law, such as arbitration or banking law. It is also possible to pursue a PhD in law following the completion of the LLB, Master of Law and/or Professional LLM.
Graduates must also complete a one to two year apprenticeship with a law firm or court -- preferably in the canton in which they plan to practice -- and pass a written and oral examination administered at the conclusion of their training in order to be admitted to the bar.
Law Higher Education in Switzerland
Switzerland has no private institutions for training lawyers: all nine law schools are affiliated with the country’s cantonal universities. These include University of Lausanne, University of Basel, University of Bern, University of Fribourg, University of Geneva, University of Lucerne, University of Neuchâtel, University of St. Gallen and University of Zurich.
Because Switzerland is the home of innumerable international organizations and banking institutions, and due to its status as the birthplace of significant progress in many areas of humanitarian concern as well as business and banking, Switzerland provides students from all over the world with a new and comprehensive global perspective. Furthermore, the country's commitment to cutting edge research offers international students a more profound understanding of legal global affairs.
While the cost of living in Switzerland is notoriously high, tuition fees are relatively low -- particularly when compared to the U.S. and the U.K. Additionally, there are a number of scholarship opportunities available for international students. Once again, tuition fees may vary from one institution to the other.
Because of its global prominence in business and finance, there are plenty of career opportunities for lawyers in Switzerland, particularly within primary sectors, such as banking, finance and intellectual property rights.