Everything You Need to Know about Law Studies
More and more popular, law degrees offer a highly reputable career and both the intellectual challenge and human interest. But what are law studies exactly?
What do you get when you cross a highly respected academic degree with an intensive focus on legal topics? A lawyer! While we’ve all heard our fair share of lawyer jokes, law degrees are anything but a punch line for students interested in successful law careers. Law continues to be a highly sought-after course of study at universities all over the globe, and offer the training and experience to pursue a variety of professional paths both in and outside of the legal sector. Read on to learn everything you need to know about law degrees.
How to find the Law Degree made right for you?
All law degrees are not created equally. In fact, depending on where you choose to study, there are many different types of law degrees available. While trying to distinguish between them may initially make your eyes cross, here’s a quick breakdown to help you sort through the options.
The majority of countries offer a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), after which grads take a qualifying examination in order to become practicing lawyers. This degree -- which takes 3-4 years -- is often considered interchangeable with both the BA in Law (BL) and the BSc in Law, although these sometimes involve a broader, more humanities-oriented course of study.
The U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong all offer the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. This three-year professional course of study follows the completion of a separate bachelor’s degree -- which may or may not be in a different discipline. The typical JD takes three years to complete, after which students are eligible to practice law pending the passing of the bar exam.
Following the JD, student can opt to pursue a Masters of Laws (LLM). This year-long course of study is a popular choice for international students, and offers the opportunity to specialize in one particular area of practice.
While the majority of law degrees prepare candidates for professional careers in the legal sector, students can also take an academic tract with degrees including the Ph.D. in Law, Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD) and Doctor of Laws. The MBA in Law, meanwhile, offers an advanced business degree with a specialization in law.
Read more about Law degrees here.
What are the fields studied in Law?
Most professional law programs focus on core legal topics during the first year. This general overview of law and society typically includes an introduction to the legal system, as well as to popular law topics. Student then have the opportunity to specialize in a particular field of law, related area of interest, or even a particular society’s legal system. Some of the most popular law topics include:
- Criminal Law, focusing on the relationship between law and crime
- Property Law, dealing with real property
- Intellectual Property Law, dealing with intangible assets
- Commercial Law, relating to all things involved with commerce and industry
- Environmental Law, focusing on the protection and regulation of the natural environment
- Family Law, pertaining to family-related matters
- International Law, pertaining to relationships between states and countries
Other law topics include: employment law, health care law, insurance law, patent law, international law, estates and trusts, civil law, corporate law, entertainment law, immigration law, maritime law, media law, mental health law, social law, sports law, tax law and others.
It is also possible to specialize in a particular region or culture. Popular topics include European Union Law, U.S. Law and Islamic Law.
Read more about Law disciplines here.
What are Online on Part Time Law studies?
Thanks to advancements in modern technology, many law schools now present unprecedented opportunity for non-traditional students through online and distance learning programs. Offering an adaptable schedule in the student’s country of choice with access to the same expert faculty and resources of a top university, these programs -- which are growing exponentially -- make law degrees possible for students who cannot commute or for whom the typical law school schedule does not work.
Part time programs are also gaining in popularity. While some students are unable to commit to a full-time course of studies, part-time programs allow them to work toward a degree in law while balancing other obligations, including work and family. Today, more educational institutions than ever offer these flexible options to accommodate students outside the traditional classroom environment.
Law courses, meanwhile, provide ongoing academic enrichment for both students and professionals. Offered at top educational institutions all over the world, these programs range from mere days to several months and can take place in the classroom or online. They frequently offer development specialized areas, such as industry regulatory issues and topical trends.
Read more about Online Law studies here.
Where are the world's top places to study Law?
Prospective law students have a wealth of higher education institutions to choose from all over the world. From the U.S., the U.K., Australia, France, New Zealand, to Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, China, Chile and Italy, all around the world you can find a law degree made right for you.These programs differ in large and small ways: some provide a comprehensive overview of the law, while others are more specialty-based. Ultimately, there’s a program out there to suit the needs and interests of every prospective law student: adequate research can help determine which country and program is best for you.
While law degrees are known for their rigorous coursework and fiercely competitive environments, the rewards are well worth the effort for those who prevail. Students gain access to a highly reputable law career which offers the winning combination of intellectual challenge and human interest.
Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.