Law Degrees in the U.S.
Most U.S. states require applicants to hold a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school. This three-year course of study follows the completion of four years of undergraduate study in any subject. This system differs significantly from many other countries where students immediately enter law school after completing secondary school; considered a professional academic field, the J.D. is equal to a graduate degree.
While less common, some schools also offer a year-long Master of Law (LLM) which offers opportunities for specialization, as well as the prestigious academic doctoral degree in law of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).
Before being allows to practice law, most students are required by the state in which they practice to pass a bar exam and demonstrate character standards. Because states administer the bar, it can be helpful to attend law school in the region where you plan to practice.
Law Higher Education in the U.S.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), there are a total of 202 ABA-approved law schools in the U.S. The first year of the Juris Doctor typically focuses on basic law topics, while the latter years can be customized to suit student interests. While many lawyers informally specialize, there is no legal distinction between types of practice. One hallmark of law school training in the U.S. is the use of the Socratic Method, in which students are directly called on to answer questions instead of basic lectures.
Tuition vary depending on the school you attend, with the average private school tuition totaling just over $40,000 according to U.S. News and World Report. Once again, the fees may vary from one institution to the other. The schedule following the standard U.S. academic calendar for higher education from September through May.
While getting into law school in the U.S. is intensely competitive, international students are increasingly in demand. Jobs in law are generally considered to be both lucrative and rewarding. Additionally, research indicates that lawyer employment over the past decade has outpaced most other occupations. A large number of law graduates choose not to work as lawyers, instead seeking out careers in business, government and other industries.