If you are thinking about going to Law School you may wonder how long does it take to get a Law Degree? Well, that all depends on how long do you want to be in Law School. Joking aside, here are the details.
First things first, you must obtain a bachelor degree. Granted this is a criminal justice blog, the bachelor degree program doesn’t have to be in criminal justice. But in the end, you must have one. The degree can take anywhere from 2 and 1/2 years to 4, or more. Read my post on how long does it take to complete a degree (it applies to all degree types – not only Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Political Science, or Public Safety degrees).
Thus far, you have a minimum of 2.5 years of education, and the national average of 4 years, before you can even dream of being in Law School.
Now onto Law School
Generally, a law degree takes 3 years. Three years of your life which you will have to devote entirely to school. No girlfriends, no boyfriends, no social life, no liberties, nothing. You don’t believe me? You will!
Law schools are adamant that you complete your degree in a timely manner and rarely do they allow you to take longer to complete your Juris Doctor. Some individuals may take four years to complete a JD degree, but that is usually with prior permission from the college or university granting the Law Degree.
So a law school degree can take anywhere from 5 and 1/2 years to 7 years – from scratch. Well, you know by now that the graduate level program takes 3 years by itself. This applies for nearly all law school programs, including the ones from: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and other elite law schools.
NEW – check out one of my latest posts: Thinking of a Law Degree Online? Think Twice About Online Law Schools
Some Useful Advice… You’ll need it!
So if you are just graduating from high school or are beginning your quest of obtaining a bachelor degree you have the best odds. Why? Because if you have your BA or BS completed and your GPA is not high enough then your chances of becoming a Lawyer may dwindle. Therefore, you better have a high GPA, among other factors, if you want to make it through the Law School application process.
Here are some points you should take to heart before you go to Law School:
- High GPA in your undergraduate studies – try to keep it 3.5 or above if you want to compete for a place in the best Law Schools in the country <– critical!
- Make relationships with your professors while taking your undergrad classes. You’ll need them when the time comes for letters of recommendation <–critical!
- Try, if you can, to participate in extracurricular activities, like: sports teams or academic groups while earning your BA or BS degree. This will look good on your resume.
- Study for the LSAT, also known as the Law School Admission Test. Use multiple study guides, books, or prep courses. When you take this aptitude test you will need to get the highest score possible, as usual <– critical!
- Write an original personal statement; one that is based on your core values and is written with an eloquent tongue. <– critical!
- Don’t complete your degree online. The handful of the Law degree programs on the Internet are not regionally accredited and ABA accredited. This probably will change in the future, but for now, don’t waste your time and money!
If you have seen this: <– critical!… that means it is a core component of the law school application and should be given an extreme level of attention. I am not kidding!!
If your GPA or LSAT are not high enough you may still have a chance of getting into the top 10 law schools (if you want). Your personal statement essay and letters of recommendation may be the true deciding factor (that depends on the school). Realistically, chances of getting into top law school programs are very slim, even with a perfect application. So I highly recommend applying to Tier 2 Law Schools, besides the Tier 1 or the Top Ten. That said, I wish you good luck in your future endeavors!