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A law degree is a graduate degree, which means you must have a bachelor's degree in order to be admitted to the program. Common undergraduate majors for law students include English, journalism, communications, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Law school admission is very competitive, so a high GPA and Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores are essential. You must also be able to produce strong letters of recommendation from professors who believe you'd be successful in earning your law degree.
Law school coursework covers civil procedure, contracts, torts, constitutional law, property law, criminal law, and legal research and writing during the first year. During the second and third years, students are allowed to choose courses to focus on special areas of interest such as intellectual property law or international law. After your second year, you are generally expected to take a summer job at a law firm, public defender's office, or legal aid clinic in order to gain practical experience in the field. Search for great law exam study tips here.
Earning a law degree typically requires three years of full time study. It is possible to attend law school on a part-time basis, but this can be very difficult simply because the coursework is so demanding. When you graduate from law school, you are awarded a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
Once you earn your law degree, you'll need to pass the bar exam for the state in which you wish to practice in order to become a member of the American Bar Association (ABA). If you opt to take a position as a researcher, writer, or consultant, however, this may not be necessary.
Last Updated: 04/01/2013
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