How Long Does it Take to Get a Law Degree?

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.

Bachelor what?

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!

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

126 comments… add one
  • Donna S-McDonald

    I have a MBA in Business Management. GPA is 3.00. How long do I have to go to law school.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Unfortunately, even if you had a PhD in something other than Law you would have to spend 3 years in law school. Some find it unfortunate, while others consider law school to be a highly specialized prep for practicing law. The MBA in Business Management can help you, however. It is a testament to your continual effort to educate yourself and bring yourself to the forefront of occupational demand. Your GPA is not wonderful, but it’s not bad either. As you may know, even Tier 2 law schools may be competitive enough to accept favorable applicants with GPA’s higher than yours. But if you read this post, you know what to do to offset any GPA fiasco.

      How was your undergrad GPA? All ABA accredited law schools look for any and all college transcripts you had – even from those schools where you didn’t complete your degree or transferred from. If you had a great GPA don’t worry, but if you had a lower than 3.2 I would include a small addendum to state your case. Good luck on your quest and I hope that you will make a sagacious decision when the right time comes.

    • betty

      Do not waste your money nor time for law school. It’s not what it appears to be , you will be working 70 to 80 hours a week… Law firm is the worst people to work for. It is not worth an article from Denver Post by a professor wha purpose it’s called “worse than worthless”. Get your degree in something else.

  • thesi green

    I’m in 8th grade, and i’m deeply passionate in law, criminal justice, and journalism. I hope to one day get a degree in both, and start a news paper or small business. Then if that dream doesn’t work, fall back on a law degree.

    The colleges I am looking at are: University of Phoenix, St. Thomas University -MN, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Western International University -Phoenix, AZ.

    I go to Wayzata schools (Minnesota) and their teaching is very high, do you think that because I go to Wayzata my chances of getting into a good college or any of these Colleges are pretty good?

    My mom always says that I work too hard and that I shouldn’t be looking at colleges in 8th grade, but I don’t listen to her because anything is possible if there are footprints on the moon.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Hi Thesi,

      I’m glad you are so passionate about your college and career goals. Some of the colleges you are considering are OK while others are great. I could write an e-book about these colleges, so I will give you two resources you should check out.

      1. – go to the Education section and research these and other schools – Superb tool for college research.
      2. – go to the college search / research section – I also use this tool to research schools.

      These two sites will give you a perspective on the colleges you want to attend. My usual criteria for colleges and universities are:

      regional accredited school – that’s a must
      tier ranking – for example Harvard University or Boston University is a Tier 1 school (Tier 1 and Tier 2 are most advised) – check out the two sites for Tier information
      sometimes the Tier ranking may not matter too much as long as the program itself is ranked very well. However, it is usually the Tier 1 and Tier 2 schools that have the best programs – usually, but not always
      believe it or not, the school name itself is a big factor. I also consider that, but look at rankings and other academic evaluation data. For example, University of Phoenix may be a well known school, but is it a well ranked and respected school? You gotta find out.
      Your chances of getting into a great college or university depend mostly on the grades, GPA, and extracurricular activities you participate in while in high school. See my post on high school classes you may need to get into a criminal justice college (type in: “high school” in the search feature).

      Good luck with everything and let us know how everything goes.

  • Emily Walker

    Hey, I’ve got a question on online school. What if you get a bachelor’s degree from an accredited online school, and then move on to your law degree? How long would that take? I’m a sophomore in high school, with a 4.0 GPA for the past 2 years.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      All scenarios should be covered above. The time it takes you to complete your undergrad depends on your school and the pace you want to keep. Four years is the norm, but it is common to finish an online degree in as little as 2.5 years. You can count on law school taking no less than 3 years and no more than 4 years (the latter usually requires permission). Majority of law school grads take exactly 3 years to complete their JD. hope this helps and I wish you all the best in your educational pursuits.

      P.S. when picking an online or traditional college or university I highly recommend a regionally accredited school vs. a nationally accredited one. Despite the names given to the type of accreditation, it is the regional accreditation that is the better standard. You can read more about it here by running a search for “accreditation.” Make sure to put this in your notes when you start searching.

  • LittleAJA96

    Hi i am in the 8th grade i love criminal justice I get along with people good and i have always been with everything i do i never give up! Even my mom says so i always get my stuff done i looked at some schools and i dont really know whats right for me can you tell me what schools are good for me.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      My advice: Enjoy high school first. There are plenty of great criminal justice colleges and universities, but getting into them will depend a lot on what grades you’ll produce in high school. Most high school students don’t start planning their college events until their junior year. I recommend starting earlier, but junior years is usually a safe bet to start thinking about your college plans. Good luck!

  • Emonie Downing

    HI, im only 13 yrs old and going to the 9th grade every since I was in the 3rd grade I had my mind set going to college to major in Criminal Justice, I have done my research but i have’nt found the answer to my question… What if you want to learn more about the career you majoring in like if you want to go on trips and colleges so important people can give you an insite on what college you would want to go to because im not sure where I want to do right now… My question is what college would be okay 2 go to?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      If you want to learn more about certain programs, like Criminal Justice, or certain schools, like University of Cincinnati, you or your parents can request information straight from their website. Also, if you have the money you can go to the schools that interest you, to see what programs they have, and sometimes, they may allow you to sit in on a class to take in the mode of learning they provide.

      First option is usually free and the second option is usually expensive. Thus far, I don’t know of any traveling services that take you from college to college to check them out.

      However, there are traveling representatives from colleges and universities nationwide who may come to a town or city near you (usually once a year). That’s a great time to go and check out what’s on the market. Usually these events are reserved for high school students (mostly juniors and seniors – but if you really wanted you might get to go earlier). It’s also good to ask for some guidance from your school counselor or maybe even your parents. Although, most of the time you’ll probably have to take matters into your own hands (unless you truly have great mentors).

      Here are some of the best Criminal Justice schools in the nation:

      Pennsylvania State University – University Park
      Florida State University
      Michigan State University
      University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League)
      University of Maryland – College Park
      University at Albany – SUNY
      University of Cincinnati

      There are a few more and you can find posts about them by typing: “best colleges” – without quotes – in the search feature on this site.

      Hope this helps and I wish you all the best.

  • hana

    hi there l have lots of question to ask well l am a junior and my whole life l was telling myself l want to be a lawyer and go to law school which now l really scared but l hope l can do it but my question is how long is it going to take for me to be done with law school all together.. The thing is l scared if l don’t make it all my way to law school what am l going to do l don’t want to give up on my dream but l know is hard really hard and plus l scared to put my family down on this l want to make them happy as l want to make my self happy.. l want to know what can l do ? HELP ME lol ahh thinking of my future

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Rule # 1: In order to get to law school your writing / speech has to become pristine
      Rule # 2: Do it for yourself, and only yourself – it’s your life and your decisions will impact the way you live it.
      Rule # 3: Grades have to be very high – I recommend all As, but a few Bs are OK – minimum 3.5 GPA in college (not high school)
      Rule # 4: Choose an undergraduate major that will make you happy, but is practical enough for law schools admission
      Rule # 5: Keep your professors close as you’ll need their help in writing letters of recommendation when it’s time to apply
      Rule # 6: At least a year before you apply you want to study for the LSAT or Law School Admission Test – this is very important
      Rule # 7: Rent / buy books on law school admission process and life of a typical law student. This will give you some substance to take away from.

      There are more great Rules, as I call them, but in general: keep your grades up, write and speak well, and enjoy your college experience. Rules are also meant to be broken and certain universities will accept students with lower grades OR lower test scores, often based on a personal statement (A letter of intention or why you want to attend law school – there are variations of questions, but usually they land on the same topic ).

      All together, on average, it takes 7 years from the time you start college to the time you graduate with your Bachelor’s degree (4 years) and get into Law School (Graduate degree which takes 3 years). It may take a little longer.

      After you graduate from law school, you still have to take the BAR examination for which many people spend a considerable time studying (1-2 years). Then, after passing the BAR, you will be licensed to practice law in the State you took the BAR in.

      Good luck with everything.

      • hana

        thanks for your help and may god bless you

      • Lara

        “Rule # 1: In order to get to law school your writing / speech has to become pristine”

        I have just decided I love you. :)


        An English Teacher

  • Frederico

    My cousin is an attorney and she works 70-80 hour work weeks. When all her friends are out having fun, she’s at the office working.

  • Ashley

    You keep saying that it is highly recommended you get a Bachelors degree from a regionally accredited school. Will you be absolutely denied from law schools if you have a degree from a nationally accredited college? Or is there a chance you can still get in.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Not absolutely. There may be a handful of ABA approved law schools in your state (perhaps the country) that may accept those with degrees from nationally accredited schools. Remember that I was mainly applying to the big law schools where very often they made it clear that successful students have a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Tier 2 and Tier 3 schools – like many State Universities – prefer those from regionally accredited institutions over those from nationally accredited ones. I think the admissions dept. gives a higher consideration to regionally accredited school grads. This is my opinion on a grander scale (statistically speaking) rather than an opinion on those that got lucky enough to get in with a degree from a nationally accredited school. So, in retrospect, I think it would be very tough getting into an ABA approved law school with a degree from a nationally accredited college or university. Not impossible, but very tough.

  • Nadira

    I am currently a college freshmen and I am just wondering do you seriously have to end all socials relationships in order to pass law school? Aren’t there any individuals who had both a social life and went to law that succeeded in completing law school

    • Radek M. Gadek


      It depends how demanding the program is. Remember that a JD is a terminal degree, like a PhD is. Yes, you will have a social life (hopefully), but don’t think for a minute that you’ll have time to be a social butterfly. This is especially true in your first year. Some people manage to spend every single day in their cave while others have the benefit of enjoying some social interaction. Your skills and predispositions will have a lot to do with the success or lack of it in law school.

  • Sam

    Hey. I am an 8th grader. i live in south dakota. && i really want to become a criminal lawyer. it’s been my dream since i was 9 years old. i love law and all of that good stuff. i want to go to Harvard. but i dont know where to get my other degrees at ( bachelors, etc.) Yep so that would really help!(: also i have a GPA of about 3.9666 ish And only get one B a quarter. My friends && family think im insane but this is my dream and i want to accomplish it. Harvard is my life. I study way to much and i work way to hard to not get into this. Also i am in student council, the fuel up to play 60 thing, im in basketball, softball, cross country, track && field and use to be on the volleyball team all for my school. This would really help me. Thank you very much

  • Bobbie Churkey

    I am in 10th grade and I want to become a lawyer. Can you get your bachelors degree in criminal law before you go to law school? Im just confused cause ive been on plenty different sights and all they say on there is the bachelors degree in criminal law is mainly to be a cop or FBI agent. Which is what I want to do while im in law school so I can pay for law school.
    Also, if i eventually get my Phd in law what types of jobs does that open?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t know of too many schools offering a bachelors in Criminal Law, maybe a minor. I do know of many schools offering Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration degrees – much different from Criminal Law. Criminal Law would be tackled in law school, if that’s the track you want to pick (ie. Criminal Law, Real Estate Law, Tax Law, and etc.). Law School equals preparation for being an attorney / lawyer.

      Getting a PhD in Law is not necessary to be a lawyer, but getting one can propel you to work at private companies and government agencies, as well as colleges and universities, in a research capacity. Also getting a PhD in Law doesn’t necessarily entitle you to be an attorney / lawyer.

      Getting a JD is the most common track for lawyers.

  • Caroline

    Hi Radek.
    I have a question. I have a friend, he is 30, who started taking pharmacy but never quite finished, he then decided to finish off his undergraduate i guess with a biology major since most of the classes he took were sciences. he will be graduating in may 2011. He wanted to then go to an accelerated program in pharmacy for 2 and a half years. The problem now is, he recently changed his mind and wants to do law. How practical is it considering his undergrad may not pertain to law. How long will it take him. he wants to start a family as well and i understand law school can be quite demanding. Thanks.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The most common misconception of law school that it is inherently related to law enforcement. The truth is it’s not only related to law enforcement. There are many paths a potential law student can take, therefore most law schools make it very clear that “our student base has varied undergraduate degrees” – just paraphrasing what I am used to reading on almost every university website.

      I wouldn’t worry about the degree track. I mean, why would you spend more time and money to get something “more desirable” when there is no real criterion of desirability when it comes to undergrad degrees.

      Worry about grades, GPA, letters of recommendation, LSAT and the applicant/app essay, among other things.

      Law school takes 3 years for most students and it is very demanding. Starting a family is possible, but it would be extremely difficult to be a part of it while in law school, especially the 1st year.

  • Jessica

    Hello, I keep reading three years for a JD, can you explain dual degrees that include an MS/JD? I mean this seems the route to go. You get your masters for example my focus would be in real estate public planning and my JD in three years from USC. Please give me your thought on if this is a good plan for the future?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Most ABA accredited colleges and universities will tell you – when offering dual MS/JD degrees – about how long it may take in addition to your law school studies. In my experience, it’s been an average of 1.5 more years (at some schools 1 more year and at others 2 additional years + ). Hence the dual degree may be congruent with your present law school studies. You can also take up real estate law for your JD. It’s just about finding the right school for you.

  • Bree

    Hi, I am a mother of four and military wife, and have just started my first year of college. How plausible is it for me to be able to get into law school after completing my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice? This is something I have always wanted and hoped for myself. However, life threw me a curve-ball and I became a mother instead. I really want to pursue my dream of becoming a prosecuting attorney. Do you think this goal is possible given my circumstances? Here are my plans, go to a four year university attain a Bachelor’s degree and apply to law school. Well that’s it in a nutshell. Thank you for your time

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think it’s quite feasible – all of it. However, law school is very demanding and will consume a lot of your precious time that you are probably spending with your kids. I would make sure that you will have sufficient help before embarking to an ABA accredited college or university.

  • John Patti

    I am currently working on my Bachelors degree from University of Phoenix online. Is this school regionally accredited and how do I find out? I also was wondering if I get my Bachelors from an online University will I still be able to apply for law school? I am almost a full yr into my Bachelors and currently have a 3.95 GPA. and finished my associates with a 3.96. Is this good enough to get into law school and how do I pick an undergraduate program your help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      From what I remember UOP is regionally accredited, but it is not highly regarded (don’t let the successful ad campaigns fool you). You can find out if it’s regionally accredited on its “about” page or Googling: University of Phoenix accreditation.

      I’ll be very frank with you here. Going to an online school has its challenges, believe me I know. But, going to a for-profit online college or university is even worse. I think your GPA is great, but law schools will scrutinize your application based on your school name alone. I highly – highly – highly recommend that you obtain letters of recommendation from your professors, even the dean of your program or president of the school. Write a compelling letter of intent and provide a killer application, score high on the LSAT, keep your GPA high and cross your fingers. What I’m saying is that it won’t be impossible to get accepted, but it will be pretty darn hard, and it already is pretty darn hard to get into a reputable law school anyway.

  • Joseph Jordan

    I am considering a career as a public defender. I am currently a sophomore in undergraduate studies(US History Major). MY question, Mr.Gadek, is simple: I am attending UDM(which has a rather respectable law program in the state of Michigan). should I consider attending Law School at my current institution or try to get into another institution. My GPA is high, and I expect to do well on the LSAT(I have taken a few practice examinations and scored in the upper echelon). What are you recommendations?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I’m assuming UDM is University of Detroit Mercy. It is a great school in the Midwest, Tier 1 and accolades in many disciplines. If you can get a scholarship/stipend, I don’t see why not stay here, especially if you wish to stay and practice law in the area. However, knowing how much the name of a school may matter to some, it shouldn’t be your only choice. Based on what you are saying, I think you should apply to other respectable schools – and I mean AIM HIGH. In the end, the choice is yours… and trust me, it’s better with a few great choices than with only one hope (UDM is highly selective). Good luck, Joseph. Let us know how things go.

  • Barbara

    Hello, I am a sophomore in college and it has always been my dream to become a lawyer. I am double major in Political Science and Communications. I want to start preparing for my LSAT, however i am not sure where to start. Also i know that i want to attend a prestigious law school, but am not sure where to start and how can i evaluate the school that will be best for me. Basically, where do i start, what steps should i take in order to make sure i am the best candidate?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Start researching law schools through US News and The Princeton Review, for example. Both have dedicated websites where you can initiate your search under “law schools” category. Then, research each school individually, often visiting the schools website and browsing the Law Department to get some nuggets of what they look for (most of it is in the article above).

      As for LSAT, there are many prep courses and books that you can dive into. Search for LSAT prep on Google — that should get you started. I highly recommend prepping at least 6 months prior to taking the test –> some people do fine with self-learning while others may need to take a series of courses to prep that for the LSAT.

  • Nick

    I was wondering about a bachelor of business administration at Fort Hays State University. The program is regionally accredited. I’m taking the online program because of my work schedule. Does that hurt my chances of getting into law school? I will receive a Bachelor of Business Admin instead of a Bachelor of Arts or Science.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Hey Nick, thanks for stopping by.

      I think that the fact that you went to a regionally accredited school online should not be detrimental as long as you don’t directly mention it. It’s still a fact that for some things in life one must hide that their academic delivery method was online. I don’t make the distinction; “I went to Boston University” and that’s all they need to know IMO. Now, the school itself – which I don’t really know too much about in your case – may have more positive or negative associations with it (to the law school admissions committee). In all, I wouldn’t worry, but I do recommend getting everything you need to start applying to great law schools (tips listed in article and previous comments). BTW, Business Administration is one of the better suited degree programs for many future law school students, and hopefully, attorneys.

  • Marie

    What are the chances of making it through law school if your a full time working adult with a family?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      On a scale of 1-10, probably a 2 or 3, especially in the first year. That first crucial year is highly writing intensive and will require your undivided attention. Law school is hard as it is and many students do not work or only work very few hours per week. Your second and third years can be different, but many reputable schools will hound you with GPA compliance (B or above), so your hands might be tied. That said, it’s not impossible, but given your circumstances it may seem as such.

  • Matt

    I’m incredibly bright, and interested a wide variety of subjects, but my school system was and remains to be dreadful, which caused me to become apathetic towards schoolwork early into my high school career. I became terribly bored with the teaching and stopped pushing myself to do well. This was an awful mistake, and I realized that I was only hurting myself. Midway through my Sophomore year, I began to try to fix what I had done. I am now a Senior in high school and am dealing with the consequences of my poor decisions. My cumulative GPA has been severely damaged because of those mistakes, and I may – because of my weighted courses – be able to pull my GPA back up to or slightly over a 3.5. I have high scores on my standardized tests, am involved in the community, many extra-curricular activities, and am a likable person. Many of my teachers have labeled me as “Brilliant but undisciplined”. Throughout my Junior year, I worked to change that image and entering Senior year, I believe that I can do this successfully. My questions are:

    How will my past affect my future in terms of college selection?

    Will Universities be reluctant to accept me because of my relatively low GPA?

    Will my other positive attributes help with applications?

    Once I gain acceptance and complete my undergraduate courses, will my high school mistakes remain as a factor in acceptance into law school, or will it be strictly based on performance in my undergraduate studies?

  • Mimi

    I am interested in attending Law School. I currently have a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a GPA of 2.8. I also have a Master’s in Criminal Justice where I finished with a 3.8. I am studying for the LSAT now and just wanted to know will my Master’s degree help me in getting into Law School. During my undergraduate studies I faced a lot of different obstacles and did not do as well as I should have done. It will be great to get your opinion.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You are showing remarkable improvement on paper. I hope that the grad school you were attending was as strong or stronger (reputation wise) than your undergraduate one. This does matter when comparing the two GPAs.
      Also, don’t forget that many law schools offer you to write an addendum in which you can explain your circumstances for lower marks during your Bachelor degree.

  • Tim

    I was wondering if any Law schools accept MBA graduates (I graduated with an MBA in May, 2010) without first taking the LSAT? I would like to obtain a JD, but did not go into the JD/MBA Program that my school offered. Also, do you know of any schools that offer programs where I could get “credit” for the MBA portion and focus on the JD component?

    • Radek M. Gadek


      There are many who go on to Law School after obtaining their MBA. The thing is, that law school curriculum is completely related to law, even the business section — on how to start and run your own practice, for example — is unique. So, credits for a MBA are unlikely, and law school education will still take an average of 3 years.

  • Derrick Wilford

    Hi. I’m currently attending DeVry University where my major is Network Communication Management. My G.P.A. is a 3.9 and I’m more than half way through my undergrad program. I hope to one day run my own business as a Network systems consultant and I want to offer software licensing consultation as part of my business. I was told that getting a law degree will aid in my solicitation efforts for clients. I have two questions, I read what you said about the University of Phoenix and how top tier and second tier law schools will frown upon the applicant because they attend this school. In your opinion, will they do the same to me because I’m graduating from DeVry? Second question, Are there any successful lawyers you are familiar with who took a similar route, specializing in (what I guess you would describe as) contractual law that could shed some light on this track?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      This can be an issue with the top tier schools, but I do know of people who demonstrated on their application — especially the personal statement — the qualities of a true attorney, but having way smaller chances of getting in, by actually getting in and completing law school. In order to be successful in law school you need to be a very strong writer; one that can think critically and objectively. Use that earned skill and ace all the application requirements (LSAT included) and you should have a decent shot to compete, even if the school name won’t afford you one.

      As for #2, I don’t personally know of people who have been in a similar predicament and studied/practice contractual law.

  • Jim

    Hello, I am a 40 year old with a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Science / Criminal Justice with a 3.4GPA from gardner-Webb University.

    I have approximately 12 years of experience as a probation officer and have always wanted to go to law school. I have a 3 year old and she is time consuming, so a return trip to college is probably not going to be for a few more years.

    I am not sure which type of law I would like to focus on, but I do have an interest in running for a Judge (especially once I retire from probation at 55).

    Any suggestions before I jump in?

  • Rah

    Hi, I am an english major. I’m in my third year of college and I have a 3.8 GPA. I have been giving some thought into law school, but one of the major things I am worried about is my stuttering. What do you advise?

  • Michelle

    My name is Michelle, I am currently 20 years old and for my first 3 years of college, wasn’t really great. I am starting fresh now attending a community college and hoping to get a really good GPA to transfer to a 4 year university. You said that Boston university would be a great school for law. I am currently interesting in pursuing a law career. I was originally an international business marketing major. May I still pursue that? Or should I switch my major. and is it too late for me ? Would I have set backs because of my history for the past 3 years. I am starting over now hoping that the past would be in the past and starting fresh now trying to get my life back on track. I know what i want. And what needs to be done and that is to stay on track and get my associates and then BA. May u give me some advice or any set back I should look out for or need to know. Thank you

  • Megan

    I have already received my degree (BFA in Fine Art and Concentration in Photography). My GPA was a 3.8 and I have a few awards from school on my resume (academic and art oriented). I have been interested in law, but am more inclined to pursue a degree in international law as opposed to domestic law. Granted, I understand that my degree is not anything close to criminal justice and would like to know if acceptance into law school is applicable to me? Thank you for your response.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Most definitely! You just have to apply and make sure to follow all the guidelines EACH law school imposes at the time of application.

  • Lori

    I am probably unlike anyone you have ever received a question from, and you’ll likely think I am out of my mind to ask, and yet here I am. I am 47 years old and I just witnessed more than two years of a close family member getting grossly taken advantage of by multiple attorneys and their assistants. I kept thinking to myself, “If I were her attorney, this or that would never have happened.” And then I got to thinking, what is stopping me? I don’t know what my chances of getting into law school would be. I live in SC. I have a degree in medical technology (from 1985) and I am a certified public speaker and corporate trainer. I am married, my children are grown and on their own, and I have worked full time in several different fields. (I am currently an executive administrator for a world-wide company.) I made decent grades in high school and graduated from college with honors, but as I stated before, it’s been a while! My main reason for wanting to go into the field of law is to try to help people who get misrepresented and pay ridiculous sums of money in the process. There is nothing spectacular about me academically, and I realize my age may be a hindrance, although to be honest, I would think that some would appreciate someone who has actually experienced life outside of high school and college. Are my goals too lofty to be realistic? Am I too late to be successful in this pursuit?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      They aren’t too lofty to be realistic, by no means. And, you’re not too late, either. However, take into consideration that academics were not spectacular (bad) with the fact that you’ve lived a little (good); coupled with the duty to obtain great letters of recommendation, mandatory passage of the LSAT, and three full years of very stringent curriculum. If you’re up for the challenge, I say “go for it!” Caveat emptor: application fees are very high, so consider that when applying. Oh… and be realistic… the lofty part is usually the law school you pick / location (school may be out of state) and not your aspirations. Although Tier 1 schools are not out of the question — make sure to apply to some of your favorites — Tier 2 and Tier 3 law schools may be more approving.

  • Hank

    I have a 2.6 gpa when I finished my associates degree, but when I went to a 4year university to receive my BA, I finished with a 3.3. How do you feel my chances are with getting into a law program under these circumstances?

    • Madi

      Hi, Hank. I’m going to be frank with you, your chances do not look too good. You got a 2.6 GPA when you finished your associates degree, while that isn’t horrible it is not “good enough” for a law school. There’s one mark against you. When you got your bachelors degree, you improved. However, a 3.3 GPA is still not “law school material”. Law schools look for a 3.5 GPA at minimum and higher. I feel that your chances are not great but not impossible. However, don’t expect to be written a letter back from the law school that you apply to. Have a nice day.



  • Kelly

    I have a BS in Engineering Technology from Texas A&M, a BA in German from University of Maryland, an MA in International Relations from Boston University, and a Graduate Certificate in Political Economy from the University of Amsterdam. I was an Army officer for 4 years. I have lived most of my adult life in Europe (Germany and Holland), and have traveled the world. I have worked as an Internet Infrastructure Engineer for the last 14 years. I now want to go to law school. How much of a challenge would it be for me, being in my early 50’s, getting into law school? There are of course other considerations, but to what extent would my age be a determining factor for acceptance?

    • Madi

      Hi, Kelly. First of all, thank you for your service in the military! I feel that your chances of getting into a law school are great. Age is not a determining factor when you look how you do on paper. For you, it is never too late to go to law school. I say, go for it! Good luck.

  • Chelsie Gooden

    I am just about to get out of the Marine Corps after 5 years, I would like to become a lawyer specifically in the military law field. After getting my Bachelor’s degree, I know I apply for law school, once accepted do I have to take a certain track to for certain class to become a lawyer that specifically deals with the UCMJ? Basically I want to become a Civilian lawyer for the military and or military personnel. Is there certain things I need to do to specialize in that area?

  • Connor

    Hey – I’m a freshman at Vassar College (graduated high school with a 4.0 and performing well at college so far). I’m trying to plan my course of study and in the process of selecting a major. I was wondering if a BA in English can lead to a law degree from a top notch graduate school like YLS? It certainly isn’t as specific as a criminal justice or political science, but would an English major be treated equally in the admissions process? Also, are there any benefits to waiting a few years after graduating or is it best to go to law school directly after obtaining a bachelor degree?

    • Madi

      Hello, Connor. An English degree would be treated fairly in the admin process, however, if you want to go YLS, I would suggest something a bit more closely related to the legal field. An English degree is very broad and you might not stand out as much as you would want to. As for waiting or not waiting, do not wait. After college, I would recommend to go straight to law school. People that have waited usually don’t do well their first year and that first year is very crucial. Wish all the best to you.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for these great pointers

    I have an MBA and work in the Online Advertising business with a Fortune 500 company. But..

    I am not satisfied. It is not the money because that is of less importance to me. I spend my time tweeting about justice, good causes, spreading word to help get people who have committed crimes, so that they can pay for their crimes. In addition to that, my time is also spend on activism, animal rights and fighting for the underdog. In a nutshell I feel if I had a law degree I would have spend all my time filing cases against corrupt corporations, senators and people. Is there something wrong with me to think I should get a law degree or maybe I am just an idealist?

    Would love your thoughts-if you have some names of those who have traveled this path and undertaken a law degree not for the money but for the cause, I would love to hear it. Thank you!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Nothing’s wrong with you for wanting to do what you feel is right. And even if you were an idealist, know that many idealists were some of the country’s trailblazers on legal reform.

  • Sarah

    As an undergrad at Rutgers majoring in Criminal Justice with a double minor in Psychology and Sociology, I am currently torn between multiple options concerning graduate school. It is a three-way tie between forensics, law, and criminology. I am slightly edging towards law, but frequent thoughts of “what if I help the wrong person?” and other similar doubts keep me at bay. I understand that this is an ethic/moral-based question in nature, but I’d appreciate some sort of assuagement or pointers regarding such situations. I don’t want to be held back by my fears (of this issue), but if such a thing is completely unavoidable I may have to turn my back on this option.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Be mindful of law being a very diverse field, at least that’s how I think of it. You don’t have to just be a defense attorney. You can prosecute cases, work with non-profits or get into patent or entertainment law. The world is yours. Saying that, a law degree isn’t for everyone. I also love criminology and with a little coaxing I can do pretty well with forensics, but that’s me. You gotta live with the decision YOU make. Don’t hold yourself back. Fear is not an option. Take a piece of paper and do an honest assessment of how you would fit into these three very different, yet related, criminal justice sub-fields. What excites you the most, what seems as the biggest negative, what will help you earn a lifestyle level you desire, what will satisfy you at the end of the day??? Still, take your time in making your choice, but not too much time…

  • Clarissa

    I have graduated with AIU Online with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice with a 3.82 GPA Magna Cum Laude. I have been told that I need to complete my Master’s Degree before I may continue my education for my Juris Doctor Degree. Is this true, do I need to obtain my Master’s Degree first?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      A bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited institution will do.

  • mike

    I’m currently a senior in high school and don’t want to go straight into college. i was mainly concerned with going into the military. Do you know anything about that or would i have to talk to my recruiter, or a military based site? i know that i have to have some kind of degree to become a lawyer or attorney in the military because the requirement is to be a officer with which you need a degree. are there steps in the military that would be best in order to become an attorney. a buddy of mine is becoming a MP in the marines. i like the marines discipline and i was also thinking of becoming an MP earn my degree while being an MP and then applying to become an attorney. or are there easier steps?
    All advice appreciated thanks.

    • Madi

      Hey, Mike. First off, the military field in law is one of the greatest. One of the most admirable and one of the ones where you get the most protection (if you know what I mean). Now, here are some good steps and the steps that most people take. Get a college degree (you will become an officer which is what you need) in a field that is closely related to law. You do not necessarily have to become an MP while earning your degree but the choice is yours. Just know balancing that and school, there is certainly a lot more work. Next step, apply to law school. Make sure you research some first though! After you finish law school, I suggest applying to be a JAG attorney since you seem to have a very keen interest in the military. It’s a great career and sounds like a good fit for you. I wish you the best of luck, and if you have any more questions, just ask.

  • Esther

    Thank you for your very informative article! I’m interested in going back to school for law, but am worried that my cumulative GPA from my bachelor’s degree might hurt my chances at getting into a good school. I majored in Political Science and my cumulative GPA was a 2.6, however, my GPA for all my core Political Science classes is over 3.5. Would it help to point out that I did very well in those classes pertaining to my major? Unfortunately, I couldn’t bother to put any effort into classes that I didn’t have any interest in or didn’t apply to my major studies. I also have a Masters Degree in HR and have a cumulative GPA of 3.6. Would the fact that I did much better as a graduate student improve my odds at admission? Thanks!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Esther, your undergrad GPA would pose as an obstacle, even if you pointed out your strengths in Political Science. Keep in mind that your first year will be filled with critical thinking infused with copious writing assignments. Did you do well in such courses?

      Now, given you have a Master’s degree with a very good GPA, you now have some decent “cards” to play with. Yes, the fact that you did much better in grad school should improve your odds during law school admission. Regardless, your undergrad and grad GPAs will be scrutinized. I would get a killer LSAT score and explain why your undergrad grades were so low (that’s if you have a decent [sounding] explanation). Couple that with great recommendation letters and an even greater personal statement and you are in the game. Law school admissions are highly competitive, thus I would recommend applying to at least a 12-20 places if you’re hunting for some Tier 1 Law schools.

  • Natalie


    My name is Natalie, a 2nd year student pursuing a BCom degree. I just recently started thinking about getting into law school. Unfortunately, my grades currently are not that great, ranging into the B-‘s. Just wondering, many schools that they are looking for a 80+ average, is this GPA calculated from year 1’s grade up to year 4’s grade or just the last 2 year of class averages? Because if I work much harder in the next 2 years, I might be able to save myself…..

    And, do they really look at the extracurricular activities? Because I think that’s where my strength is.

    Any advise would be appreciated!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Most popular law schools consider ALL four years of college (more if you take classes at a sloth’s pace). They count every class credit and the subsequent GPA from the time you breathe your first breath in college. I know I made it sound ominous, but it’s true.

      If you feel you may have let a few grades slip, you have the rest of your undergraduate education to prove that it was a “temporary” glitch and a personal statement, or preferably an addendum, to why your grades may have slipped. Some students really have legitimate reasons to why their grades were lower and they can voice their reasons when it’s time to apply to law school. Most tier 1 and tier 2 law schools are fairly competitive, so the lower grades may put you at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, if law school is in your sights, you should consider it.

      Extracurricular activities can help, but the weight of it on your law school application depends on the nature of the activities. The LSAT score, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and of course, your grades will probably be most scrutinized.

  • MJ Brewer

    When I was a seventh-grader I decided I loved the law and was terrific with arguments because I had a way to consider situations from all perspectives. My best friend and I decided to become attorneys, and now she’s a judge.

    My life has been at least a befuddled disaster which has ranged from anterograde amnesia and more. But I am aware that there is NO excuse for not fulfilling a dream. I received a 3.75 average in high school, and because of a car accident, I withdrew from the university 3/4 of the way through. Surgery is anticipated and when I am finally able to return to school, I’ve decided to push all the negativity of my parents aside and pursue my dreams.

    Only those who allow themselves an option to quit will ever quit, but if no option is available to quit, success is inevitable. Now I’m a 45 year-old single mother of two. Considering the outlined criteria, this will be a laborious trek, but pulling out is no option. I may be one of the oldest newcomers to the attorney world out there.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      MJ, all the power to you. It’s never too late. Let us know how things turn out for you.

  • samantha

    hi I’m a sophomore in high school, I’ve loved the law since I was little.I am not sure what I should major in? I want to go to a ivy league college, I have a 3.9 GPA & I’m in two sports and have a job. Is it possible for me to go to Harvard for four years then Yale law school for 3? and what would you advise me to major in?

  • Jessamyn

    I’m entering high school next year. (9th grade) I am dead-set on becoming a lawyer, I have been since third grade. I’m strong in English, history, math and languages. What sort of courses I should take in High school for this? I am going to take college history, which is a dual enrollment class, IB-English and IB-History (college history, etc.) I’m also in the process of learning Latin. Should I take things like Sociology or psychology? There’s Practical Law, Business Law, writing classes, technology classes and a number of other selections. What should I take or what should I just stay away from? I’m also taking rather high courses in math, should I keep going with that?(I’m taking Algebra two) Would it help with getting into a good college? Thanks in advance!
    Sincerely, Jessamyn.

  • Lisabeth

    My father’s family couldn’t afford to pay for college, so he joined the military straight out of high school in order to be eligible for the G.I. Bill. When he got back from serving, he was behind all his friends, so his solution was to go to college & later law school year ’round. This allowed him to finish up in just over 5 yrs. I’m currently a high-school sophomore (straight As all my life) & had always thought this was an excellent plan & intended to do the same. Now I wonder: do law schools still offer classes during the summer?

  • Daniel

    Hi radek,
    I’m 22 years old and just graduated with my bs in criminal justice with a 3.5 GPA. I feel like getting a job in this economy is pretty tough to do so I was thinking of doing law school. What advice do you have in preparing for the LSAT and do you believe the outcome after law school will be income? Or am I better off getting a masters.

    • Radek Gadek

      Study for the LSAT at least six months before you take the test. Get every practice test you can get your hands on, along with exercise books. I started a full year before hand.

      Income is probably not the first thing that will come after law school. Rather, the looming student loan debt will take up your mind on a low to mid five-figure salary average (I have no specific source here, I just know so many people that do not make it into the profitable side of Law, read the myriad statistical data published in umpteen places). Usually law school grads don’t make the big bucks because they pick the side of law that deals with the Public – being a prosecutor or a defense attorney. That’s just one side of things. I highly recommend you go on Amazon and find yourself at least a few good books on law school to see how competitive the field is, how to get into law school, what to expect your first, second and third year, and more. There is certainly money in Law, even in the Public sector, but the truth is far from the glamor the media portrays.

      Good luck on your voyage.

  • Wendy

    I’m 36 and have never attended college. Life struck early and swift for me and I wasn’t able to graduate high school but did obtain my G.E.D. Are my dreams of law school completely impossible at this point?

    • Radek Gadek

      No, not at all. You must complete an undergraduate degree in order to apply to law school. It can be a heavy monetary investment and can take about seven years or more to complete.

  • Angela

    I’m currently active duty Navy, pursuing an associates degree online (that’s pretty much my only option, due to the demanding hours of the ship). I hope to someday apply to Law School, after I obtain my bachelor’s. Do they look down on associates earned online? How does military experience look on a resume? Unfortunately there is no time in my schedule for interning, so I would be entering with no prior experience in this field.

    • Madi

      Hey, Angela! Let me start off by saying, military experience looks fantastic on a resume. To answer your other question, no a law school wouldn’t look down on an associate’s degree from online. However, I would strongly recommend going to a college for your bachelor’s degree. If you love the military, I would suggest looking for a JAG position after you complete law school. Make sure to keep up your grades and do your job to the best of your ability. If you do all that, you’ll be set! Good luck.

  • hailey

    umm hi im looking forward to social justice and law will north carolina duke university be a good school to attend

    • Madi

      Certainly. Duke is almost an Ivy League college (basically considered one). Keep your grades up and strive for an excellent GPA. Wishing you all the best.

  • Tamar W

    Mr. Haden,
    I am 38 years old and decided to work towards finishing my BA in business administration at Florida institute of technology (online). I have always had the desire to go to law school and am now working towards that goal. My GPA is currently 3.2 and I am set to graduate in 2014. What recommendations would you have for me as a wife and a mother pursuing my law degree, and I know that FIT is regionally accredited but I go online will that be a problem with law school admissions?

    • Radek Gadek

      It might get tough in terms of time management and sheer workload. Make sure that the program is ABA accredited as well.

  • Rebekah Ostwald

    Hi there. I am 23 years old. I graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA. I enlisted in the military and did a 4 year term. I also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during this time. So I have a little bit of a late start on things. I have no college education, but would love to get a law degree and study animal cruelty so that I can open my own law firm against animal cruelty eventually. I need to put my hard earned money to good use and this, I realized, is my passion.

    What kind of law school (criminal justice, etc…) do you suppose would be the best option in a situation like mine?
    Would it be possible for me to get some of it done online if I first make sure it is accredited?
    How long do you think it would take, year wise?

    Thank you so much for your time!
    -Rebekah O.

    • Radek Gadek

      If you want to open up your own law firm, then you would need a law degree. In a perfect world, that’s about seven years of studies (4 for your Bachelor’s + 3 for Law School).

      You should also consider participating in non-profit organizations that already do this type of work. You’ll learn how this whole business of protecting and speaking for animals works. In some cases, you might not need any education for that.

      If you find that you still want to be a lawyer then consider the time and the financial investment. Good luck!

  • Christian LeGrand

    I was reading this article and it seems like you really know what you are talking about, so I have a question. I’ve attended two and a half years at a community college, and I am about to go to a university. I was thinking about getting into something liberal arts related, but then started thinking about law school. If I have taken classes for liberal arts, how would that set up a pathway towards law, or would it? Since i have already completed two and a half years at a community college, how much longer would it be before i could have a law degree?

    -Christian LeGrand

  • Sarah

    Hi, I am currently getting my bachelor’s degree and my GPA is a 3.025. I have a 1.5 years left. I had a 2.94 GPA when I finished my associates degree from a Community College. I know law schools look at your GPA, LSAT scores, etc but do they look at your GPA from a two year school? My goal is to get a 3.5 or above when I get my bachelors.

    • Radek Gadek

      They look at EVERYTHING. No stone is unturned. They will need transcripts from ALL the colleges and universities you attended. Make the last 1.5 years really count. Get that GPA as close to mid 3’s as you can.

  • Jennifer

    Hi Radek,
    I’m a college freshman at UC Berkeley and I noticed that you kept insisting that individuals interested in law should attend a regionally accredited university for their undergrad. Is going to Berkeley detrimental to my success at attending a tier 1 law school? I was thinking about transferring back to a university near where I live because I live in Washington State so would that be a wise decision to go to UW or would it not make that much of a difference? I want the best possible chance to get into the best law schools!


    • Radek Gadek

      Umm… not sure where there’s a question. University of California, Berkeley is one the best universities in the US and it holds regional accreditation checked it on Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) website. If there’s another school named Berkeley, then maybe I would look if it’s regionally accredited. UC Berkeley is truly a gem of a school. If you need to move back, I don’t see a problem with UW. Always check the school’s accreditation… you can find that out at school’s “About” section AND on accreditation agency websites.

      If it was me, knowing that UW and WSU school systems are great and having the freedom of going to school in California, I would choose Berkeley hands down for my undergraduate education.

  • Jeff Meinhart

    Hello!I have a couple questions.. please help! I am a father and husband working full time. I am completing my bachelors degree online at the national paralegal college. It is qualifies me for CLA exam. Will I be able to get into law school with a bachelors form this school? Also when in law school you can not work right? Do they provide enough finical aid to support your living expenses?

    • Radek Gadek

      Is the school you’re going to now regionally accredited? Is it a well known nonprofit school or is it a for-profit? Law schools are looking for prior quality education, LSAT scores and other things I mentioned here and other blog posts related to law school.

      You can work while in law school, but you’ll find it very tough to keep one or the other (law school or work) especially in the beginning. Most of my law school grad friends tell me that the second and third year are more manageable, but they recommend you pursue internship opportunities.

      Either way you do it, you sacrifice something, like time with family, quality of schooling or your paycheck.

  • Dawn

    I’m a 43 year with a Bachelor’s degree in business. I’ve obviously been out of school for some time, but I’m considering going back for a law degree. What are the best options for someone like me?

  • Cat

    I am still an undergrad, with a 3.8 GPA, and my degree will be in English. Can you go to law school with that degree? Does it depend on my LSAT score? Or would I needed to have majored in something else.

    Thanks :)

    • Radek Gadek

      Yes, Yes, No

      There are quite a few English majors who go onto law school. LSAT will matter big time, especially if you want to try for the better ranked schools.

      • Cat

        Thank you! I was just wondering if being an English major would hinder my LSAT performance, but I guess you just have to study. I appreciate your help!

        • Radek Gadek

          …and study you must. I recommend your start 12 months prior to the LSAT, 6 months if you’re super good or have some extra free time. Good luck!

  • Nancy Davis

    This may be a good one for you. I will be turning 57 this year. I am young at heart and extremely outgoing. I take command of an audience when making public appearances. I have been on national television as well as countless radio shows, all with ease.

    That being said, my fear of just about anything is nearly non-existent. I am a woman of many talents. I have run 3 businesses successfully for the last 20 years. I have had 3 traumas in my life which left me Pro Se due to lack of funds to retain Counsel. The first was the death of both my parents in less than a 2 year window. What followed was 3 years as Trustee of my parents estate while my 2 older brothers battled my every move court. I made it all the way to Circuit Civil where the Judge ruled in my favor. Trauma #2 with brief past, after a 20 year marriage, my husband ceremoniously left me the day after he learned he was going to inherit 2 million dollars.

    Three years & $40,000.00 later The Final Dissolution of Marriage left me with a roof over my head on the positive and over $200,000.00 in debt on the negative. Three years later (2013) my ex-husband files a Motion to Sell the Former Marital Home (too many detail to express here).

    Fast forward to this past week. I spent all of 2010-this week dealing with Opposing Counsel for my ex-husband, filing Motions, setting hearings and Tuesday was the final Court date, Consolidating all Motions at hand. Joke about it, but watching “The Good Wife” and all the legal antics on that tv show paid off. When I appeared in court, everyone thought I was an attorney. I was even directed to go through the attorney’s speed line at the courthouse x-ray machine. I just smiled & kept walking. Ha !

    I carried myself well, had the confidence to produce my evidence professionally, verbally and most importantly I was able to back it up. My Opening Statement was powerful & the Judge smiled at me several times (always a good sign). When my ex-husband took the witness stand I managed to grill him correctly to the point that he didn’t know what or how to answer, even after prompts from the Judge to Please answer the question. Without being rude, I drilled home how this man had harmed my efforts to do A, B, C, etc. The Judge actually stopped me and said “You can stop now I have the clear picture”. I asked if she wanted my 8 page document entered into evidence and she laughed & said “NO, I don’t want to read all of that”. I was elated.

    I tendered the broken down witness for cross and there was none. When I was being questioned I answered all questions LITERALLY. Repeat, Opposing Counsel was (is) a vicious person. He had me in tears in depositions years earlier, he had me so shaken at the Final Judgment that the Judge ruled my testimony unreliable (but gave no reason). OK… back to Tuesday. I did not allow this attorney to get under my skin. The Judge actually stopped his line of questioning to me four (4) times (all on relevance). He was so thrown off balance he never recovered. Bottom line… YES I WON. The Judge ruled in my favor on every count. I am now 100% free of my ex now and no more appeals are allowed because the time frame is up. I am still on the adrenaline high of the win. The inner strength that I did this on my own. I set myself free by buckling down and learning Statues, Court Procedures & basic law. I didn’t have to worry about the public speaking part because that is a natural for me.

    The Court Reporter that I hired (Opposing counsel didn’t bother getting one because he had no idea how ready I was) said she had NEVER seen ANY pro se like me before. She stated that I what I accomplished in a one hour hearing was nothing short of amazing (& they are not supposed to take sides). I was overwhelmed with Joy (clearly) and now my passion to help other women is very piqued.

    I gave my history (my story) for a purpose. I have a very basic knowledge of the law, (survival law you may call it) but I feel so comfortable now, dealing with courtrooms, Judges & Opposing Counsels etc., and now I want more. Everyone that has seen me on court days and especially those who saw how I performed over this last 3 years, has told me I should become an attorney. I would love nothing more… BUT (yes, here comes the but)…

    It has been over 25 years since I graduated from a State University with my B.S. in Psychology and 12 post back hours (only 6 will count towards higher education). I have time to study and I love to learn. My GPA was 3.9, but that was so long ago. I don’t have the references, but I have my life story.

    I want to help women who have seen the raw end of the stick from their husbands. I will not go out into the field to rip people off. I want to practice Family Law and not as a paralegal.

    My concern is my age. Could it possibly have a positive or a negative affect? Age is just a number to me, but to see me you’d think I’m 40 or less. Yes, I’m a health nut.
    I was also wondering about Grants for “Old Folks”.

    I gave you my bio so you can make a good assessment of my personality and my life experience. If I kept going this would be a thesis so I will stop here.

    Thank you for reading my brief biography. I would love your thoughts & will respect your opinion, and welcome your advice.

    Nancy in Florida

    • Radek Gadek

      Wow Nancy. THIS is a thesis.

      It’s entirely up to you. Are you willing to give up… ahhhem “trade” three years of your life to learn something new, something that WILL be challenging and may seem daunting at times? If YES, then Law School is your answer.

      Your life story can make for a great letter of intent / personal statement. You’ll still need recommendations, even professional ones count. Still gotta get a decent score on the LSAT and gather your transcripts together. You may need to move elsewhere in order to go to a good ABA approved law school (DON’T GO ONLINE, even if they are including a small pet dragon with your tuition).

      Go if you MUST. Otherwise, see what else you can do for non-profits in your area in relation to your mission of helping others.

      I wish you all the best and I hope to hear what you decide. Thanks for reading.

      – Radek

  • Wendy

    Hi Radek,

    I just completed a PhD in History and considering going to Law School…how much time do you think I am looking at?

    • Radek Gadek

      3 years flat for Law School.

      • Wendy

        Even though I do not really have a background in Law?

        • Radek Gadek

          As long as you have a Bachelor’s under your belt, it takes three years to complete a law degree. Law schools accept people with differing degrees and experiences.

  • ana


    My name is Ana, I have a BA in Network Engineering and Information Technology, I have been working for past 5 years since I have graduated. Lately I have been thinking about Law School, what I wanted to know is that can I go to a part time law school? and still finish in 3 years?. Or can I just take a BAR exam without a law school degree? I know I can pass the BAR Exam with flying colors and I have a friend who is a lawyer I can get 2 years of practice as well but is the law school degree necessary? and if Yes how long it will take me to start practicing law?

    Thank You

    • Radek Gadek

      As far as I’m aware there’s no part-time law school. And if there was, it would take longer to complete.

      I don’t remember under which circumstances you can take a BAR Exam without a law degree and in what state. This is very very rare.

      To be a marketable candidate, I think a law degree is necessary.

  • A. Ahmed

    Hi. I’m currently pursuing BA in Criminal Justice as a sophomore as well as working part time as a Correctional Officer at Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I was wondering if Law schools compensate job experience (such as mine) for not-so-great grades. I mean, I do have an overall GPA of 3.5 and Criminal Justice GPA of 4.0 and have managed to be on the Dean’s List for the first two semesters of college life, (this is my third semester). However, some of the classes I’m currently taking are a little more challenging despite the amount of time I put in studies and I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on to that GPA. So this is just for future reference. I’m still debating whether or not I should go for Law School because I really prefer Law Enforcement or something that requires me to be physically active, as opposed to loads of paperwork and playing mind-games with other lawyers.

    Thank you.

    • Radek Gadek

      The GPA is important, so try to keep it as “up there” as possible. The LSAT scores and your personal statement can certainly help you shine a bit more. If you prefer LE, then a law degree is not a requirement. It is certainly one of the better degrees to have, however.

      • A. Ahmed

        Thank you. I appreciate your quick reply.

  • ashley

    I have a question I am currently going to a community college and getting my paralegal and general associate. Can I go from this to law school or do I have to get a BA first?

    • Radek Gadek

      A bachelor’s degree is required.

  • Annie


    I have an engineering degree (but not with good GPA’s), along with in 3 plus years of experience in Software field. I have always been passionate about studying law. Do I also need to get enrolled for 3 years program or is there any executive program for experienced professionals?

    • Radek Gadek

      Annie, great question.

      I haven’t seen an executive path to a law degree. It’s 3 years for everyone. GPA will count for a lot, but an high LSAT and a well written personal statement can be of great help. The good news, you can use the experiences you have to narrow down the type of law you would want to practice. Many law students choose to start law school “later,” and as such, often have ample professional experience and some have another graduate degree.

      Good luck. Let us know how things go.

  • Maria Acosta

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

    I am 25 years old, married, no kids; I work in the social services field as a case manager for formerly homeless adults with a mental illness in NYC.
    My dream was to become a lawyer and I buried that dream when I moved to the United States. I moved to the US in 2003 when I was 16 years old. I didn’t speak English and getting through high school was challenging. I then enter SUNY Albany and graduated with a 3.02 with a double major in Communications and Spanish and double minor psychology and business in December 2010 (which was also challenging). My writing skills are not the best, but I came a long way and I know it will only get better.
    I have been thinking of going back to school to obtain my master’s degree. During this past week, I thought maybe I should pursue my dream and go to law school. After reading this article, I see that I will have to overcome many obstacles; however, I know that I will do anything and everything to do so.
    My questions for you are:
    What do you recommend that I do, should I get a master and then go to law school? What are my chances in making it through law school or making it to Law school at all? What should I focus my energy now?
    I don’t want to wait too much because I will be turning 26 soon and as I get older I have more and more responsibilities. I still don’t have any kids and I am not planning in having any kids soon either, but I do have a husband and lots, lots of bills.
    PS: My primary language is Spanish.
    Also FYI I had been working since April 2011 as a case manager (Full time).

    Thank You in advance :-)

  • Tony

    Hi, I am a retired police officer that dropped out of my first year of college to attend the police academy, over 20 years ago.

    Realistically and starting from scratch again, how many life experience credits can I expect and how long would it take going part time to earn a JD. I realize there are many variables in this question and thank you for your input

    • Jess

      From what I’ve experienced, I’d say expect no life experience credits. Most of the classes are more about memorization or really in depth knowledge of cases or a particular law/bill/amendment. It’s not the kind of thing you just pick up, if you go to law school, you’ll have to study. There’s no easy credits.

  • Jess

    Law school isn’t that hard, kids. If you do well on your LSATs you’ll be fine if you just work hard. You’ll be fine guys. I’ve been practicing law for 4 years; if you can get into a law school you’ll most likely be fine getting the degree. How competitive the field is once you get into it is the real issue, not law school.

  • Alberto

    Hi, I have a question.

    I just graduated from college with a degree in Criminal Justice. It was very hard to stay focused in school because I had a lot of family problems going on at the time. Luckily, I managed to push through and ended up graduating with a 2.7 GPA. I also did an internship with the county Court and was a member of the criminal justice fraternity on campus. I’m also a member of a minority group and truly believe that my story can get me into law school. Considering the fact that I have a very low GPA, do you think I can still qualify for any scholarships? I already owe money for undergraduate school and would hate to borrow more for law school.

  • Amera

    I have my BA in Communication Studies, from CSUF 2012. I recently got accepted to UCI to complete an ABA Approved Paralegal Program. If I decide to go to law school after I have my certificate, would that decrease the 3 years in law school that you talk about? and is law school doable while working full time? Please advise.

  • Raechell

    I’m currently a Criminal Justice major, with a 3.2 GPA, where could I look for some credible law schools in the southern region of the U.S., I wouldn’t mind going to an Ivy League school, but with my personal life some places I would be unable to relocate to.


  • Missy


    I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from U of P in 2013. My question is this, do I need to get a Master’s Degree first before I can work towards a JD? My GPA was 3.1 at U of P. I would prefer to live on campus and go to school, but I am not sure if I need a Master’s first. Any information would be helpful.



    • Radek Gadek

      No, you don’t need a Master’s to apply to law school. You just need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to apply to law school.

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