There are primarily three types of law degrees in the United States: The Juris Doctor (J.D.), the Master of Laws (LL.M.), and the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.).
One of the most well-known law degree types is the Juris Doctor. If you want to be a lawyer in the U.S., you can earn a Juris Doctor degree after studying full-time for three years. There are J.D. programs that can be joined with other degree programs in particular fields of law, public policy or business, and such programs may last more than three years.
Applicants should finish a bachelor’s degree before pursuing the Juris Doctor degree. There is no need to take an undergraduate law course or have previous experience with the legal system. However, the law school will ask for your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, recommendation letters and possibly a resume.
Master of Laws
Among the law degree types, the Master of Laws or LL.M. is the one that is recognized internationally. It is obtained by completing a full-time program for one year. Individuals pursue this master’s degree to acquire expertise in a particular area of law like international law or tax law. Several law firms choose job applicants who have an LL.M. degree since it is an indication that an attorney has obtained advanced, expert legal training.
This law degree is usually reserved for attorneys who have earned their degree in law outside U.S. There are programs that accept practicing attorneys who have earned a J.D. in America. Some programs may accept students with an equivalent degree.
Doctor of Juridical Science
Among the types of law degrees, this is the most advanced in the USA. It can be accomplished within three years of full-time studies. It makes a lawyer eligible to work in the academe as professors of law. This degree program requires a student to determine their research interests prior to the application process. Majority of the study time will be spent on dissertation completion as well as defense. Typically, an applicant is required to have either an LL.M or a J.D. to enter S.J.D. programs.
How to Choose a Law Degree
When choosing from among the types of law degrees you want to pursue, it is important to consider the school’s geographic location. The school’s location is mainly essential in the post-graduation employment search. Often, networking with firms and lawyers within the area is done in law school. In effect, it is easier to get a job if you studied law in the place where you want to practice the profession. Also, local degree programs in law are less costly, especially at public institutions.
The tier wherein the degree program is placed is also an important consideration. Generally, the most respected programs are the highest tiered degrees. As a consequence, those law students can generally find internships and jobs fast.
It is important to acquire the minimum requirements needed to enter in a particular degree program. If you possess these qualifications, then it is much easier to choose from among the types of law degrees you will pursue in the future.