What Degree Should I Get to Become a Lawyer?

if you want to become a lawyer, also commonly called an attorney, you need to complete years of academic learning and practical training. Getting a law degree is not enough to become a practicing lawyer. You must complete an undergraduate degree, three or more years of law school and pass the written bar examination to become a legal practicing lawyer or attorney.

  1. Juris Doctor Degree (JD)

    • The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is a three-year law degree that introduces you to specific areas of law. Areas of study include basic torts, criminal law, security regulations, patent laws and the laws and ethics. You can direct your focus to suit your interests in criminal law and gain practical experience by working with law clinics.

    Undergraduate Degrees

    • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, law school requirements include a four-year undergraduate degree, preferably with a multidisciplinary focus. This can include double degrees in English, languages, government, public speaking, philosophy, mathematics, sciences and history. This depends on the direction you desire. For instance, biology and environmental philosophy may be a good direction for if you want to go into environmental law.

    Law School

    • After getting an undergraduate degree, you must attend law school for three or more years. Schools require Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and some require a personal interview.

    Written Bar Examination

    • The written bar examination determines whether you are ready to practice under the given state's jurisdiction and laws. Some states also require you to take an ethics test separate from the bar examination. The bar examination differs by state; there is no nationwide bar examination.

    Additional Academic Law Degrees

    • The Education Portal website discusses graduate-level law degrees and Ph.D. law degrees. You get these after your JD degree. A graduate-level degree teaches you estate planning, corporate taxes, taxation, bankruptcy and laws of the European Union and other legal cultures of Europe. The doctoral degree primarily focuses on legal research and constitutional law. You have the choice of what direction you want to take the legal research.

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