Steps to Getting a Law Degree

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A law degree will prepare you for a career as a lawyer or can open up opportunities for jobs with various corporations, insurance agencies and legal positions within the government. With a law degree, you can draft legal documents, research cases, defend or prosecute defendants and interpret laws. The road to getting a law degree is a long and challenging one, and several steps are required in order to achieve this goal. A minimum of a bachelor's degree, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and passing the BAR (getting state licensed), are all required steps before practicing law.

Bachelor's Degree

  • The first step in working towards a law degree is to first receive a bachelor's degree. Pre-Law students often choose to major in politics, economics, history, international affairs and many others as there is no required pre-law major. According to DegreeDirectory.com, it is advisable to take courses in public speaking, philosophy and government before applying to law schools. Students interested in specific areas of law such as environmental or engineering, should also take courses relevant to those fields.

Choose a School

  • Decide which specific field you would like to specialize in and research schools that have reputations in those areas. Choosing an accredited law school with a well-known reputation for high quality instruction can aid in getting the career you are hoping for. The most common law degree (especially for those aiming to be lawyers) is the Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree, which generally takes three years to obtain as a full-time student.

LSAT

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, passing the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) is required by all American Bar Associated/Accredited Law schools, and your score is a major factor in determining your acceptance into the school. Some people choose to take an LSAT prep course prior to taking the exam in order to prepare for it.

Law School

  • In addition to the LSAT, you will also need to submit a portfolio detailing your education, job experience and letters of recommendation. Once accepted into a law program, the first year and a half will be spent studying core courses while the second half of the program focuses on areas of specialization and practical experience.

BAR Exam

  • In order to practice law in the courts, law school graduates must pass the state or jurisdiction's BAR examinations and receive a state license. Each state has its own separate exams and generally will not license a lawyer from another state without passing its specific BAR Exam as well.

References

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