There are many different law degrees available to pursue these days, so it’s no wonder that many young people are confused as to which one to choose. In this article, we will go through what Law degrees exist, and which ones are the best for you and your career.
Types of Law degrees
To become a lawyer of any kind, you must go through at least seven years of further education – 4 years of an undergraduate degree, and 3 years on a law degree earned from a specialized law school.
In the US, there are three main routes, or types, of law degrees that an individual can earn. They are a Juris Doctor, a Master of Laws, and a Doctor of Juridical Science. We will go further into what each of these degrees entails, and what the experts think about each one.
• Juris Doctor
A Juris Doctor degree allows an individual to practice Law within the United States. If you wish to become an attorney, this will be the first of many law degrees that you will earn. It is started after an undergraduate degree has been achieved, and usually takes three years to complete.
In some instances, a Juris Doctor degree can be earned in conjunction with another master’s degree in a law-based subject, and these will take a lot longer than the previously mentioned three years to complete.
Basic topics studied, usually in the first year of the degree, are topics such as criminal law, international law, and other topics that create a foundation for Law knowledge. Further on, students can choose various topics in order to focus on a certain area of Law, and therefore work towards a career in that area.
• Master of Law
A Master of Law is a degree usually taken after completing a Juris Doctor. This degree will take a year full-time to complete, and it allows the student to specialize in their chosen area of expertise. For example, they could choose to learn more in-depth about technology law.
This kind of law degree is also great for international lawyers who want to be able to practice law in America, as they will learn all about that kind of law pertaining to the laws of America.
• Doctor of Juridical Science
This is the highest form of law degree you can receive in the US. It takes three years to complete and will allow individuals to become law professors in an academic setting such as a law college.
As with any doctorate, this type of degree is very research-intensive, and students will work with an advisor to create a dissertation on their chosen field and topic of research. Throughout their degree, they will display and defend their research in order to prove their capabilities.
To be eligible for this kind of degree, you have to have either a Juris Doctor or Master of Law degree, and some law schools have preferences of which degree in order to accept you onto the doctorate.
Many people who apply to these kinds of programs will have both several years of Law experience and will be able to submit a dissertation proposal for the degree.
Need a quick explanation?
If you just want a brief explanation of what each law degree is and the order in which you pursue each of them, check out this video here:
Within each of the degrees, you will choose what to major and specialize in, and usually, this will be done with the help of an advisor. Many law colleges will offer either one or all of these kinds of degrees, but make sure to look through their respective course catalogs in order to get more information.