Earning a Law Degree in Finland
Finland allows anyone to practice law but only individuals obtaining licensing by the Finnish Bar Association can legally use the title of "asianajaja" (literally meaning "lawyer", "advocate" or "attorney"). Lawyers who are considered "asianajaja" have completed a three-year Bachelor of Laws program ("oikeusnotaari") and a two-year Master of Laws ("oikeustieteen maisteri"). In addition, lawyers must also experience a four year apprenticeship with a law firm or private lawyer and pass the bar exam.
The highest law degree students can obtain in Finland is the "Oikeustieteen tohtori", or Doctor of Laws. Students need to earn 60 credits and complete a doctoral dissertation called a "monograph" that is typically around 250 pages. This monograph must also be verbally defended in front of a panel of designated law professors. Law degrees can only be obtained from one of three universities: the University of Lapland, the University of Turku and the University of Helsinki.
Finnish lawyers are allowed to practice independently, in limited companies or in partnerships. In addition, practicing lawyers must spend 18 hours or more in a continuing education course each year to maintain their licensing.
Tuition and Living Expenses
Students wishing to study in a Finnish law program will be happy to know that education is free and financing of living expenses is largely provided by government-based student benefits offered through the Ministry of Education. The World Economic Forum recently ranked Finland's higher education system as the best in the world due to its emphasis on research, science and practical course degrees.
Monthly living expenses in Finland (this includes food, accommodation and travel) is approximately 750 Euros ($1000 USD). Students needing medical insurance are advised to join a student union and obtain a student card from the union which often provides discounts for school-related expenditures.