How Many Years is Law School?

The simple answer to the question ‘how many years is law school?’ is three years.  A traditional full-time law school program is a three year professional doctorate curriculum that culminates in the awarding of the Juris Doctor degree.   After sitting for and passing the bar exam, a graduate of a law school program officially becomes a member of the bar, can practice law, and can call themselves an attorney at law.

Just like anything in life, there is no simple answer to this question, because while you can expect a “traditional” program to be three years of intensive full-time graduate school, there are many non-traditional options available for the prospective law student.  There are part-time law school programs, and there are also night classes available as many law schools realize that prospective students often can’t take three years out of their careers and lives to go back to school full-time.

This flexibility really enriches many of the law schools in this country because they get a range and wealth of life experience and career backgrounds in their incoming law classes that wouldn’t be available if the entire student body was made up of twenty two year old recent college graduates.  There’s something to be said for having a classroom filled with accountants, doctors, salesmen, homemakers and everything in between that just adds to the overall experience of each and every student involved in the program.

How to Find the Best Law School Program for You

Law school is not something to be undertaken lightly.  It is extremely difficult, rather expensive and it takes up at least three years of your life where you’re expected to be studying and learning nearly nonstop.  Once you’ve made the decision that law school is for you, you need to find out what your options are and how to get into the law school of your choice.

You need to do some background research on programs in your immediate area if you’re planning on going either part time or at night.  If you’re looking for a full-time program and you don’t mind relocating then your options widen considerably.  In this time of nationwide financial recession it’s important to be mindful of the cost of law school.

Most private law schools run upwards of $40,000 per year, which can add up to nearly $150,000 in student loan debt when you graduate.  If you cannot locate a job immediately you might be stuck in a position of incredible financial turmoil that you could have never expected.  Because of that you should certainly look into the state universities in your local area and find out what their reputation is locally where you’ll most likely get your first legal job anyway.

If you have an excellent academic record and you did exceptionally well on the LSAT exam then you can consider some of the top ten law schools such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, NYU and the University of Virginia.  Only a tiny fraction of entering law school students can be accepted to these elite universities, but it is a nice goal and one worth shooting for.  If those schools are out of reach then there are literally hundreds of law schools throughout the country where you can get a wonderful education and put yourself on the path to having a long successful and rewarding career practicing law.

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