State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

How Long is Law School?

Students wishing to become attorneys often ask the question, "How long does it take to get a law degree?" The answer to that question is varied depending on the path a law student chooses to take. The first step in the educational timeline starts when obtaining a bachelors degree.

Law schools do not require any particular bachelor's degree at this time. Any bachelor's degree is allowed for the student wishing to go to law school. That said, there are subjects that will better prepare the student for law school: political science, history, criminal justice, or philosophy are just a few.

Many students will select a typical program from a college or university that can be completed in four to five years as a fulltime student. If the student can't attend fulltime, this will obviously affect how long it takes to complete this portion of their education.

There are also educational programs that can fast track a bachelor's degree as well as degree completion programs for students with community college credits. One important criterion to keep in mind: choose an accredited school. An unaccredited degree may prove worthless to the law student. University

Another factor is the students' GPA. A low GPA may slow the highly competitive law school acceptance process. On average, earning a bachelor's degree will take approximately two and a half to five years, allowing for full-time attendance.

Once a student completes their bachelors, the next phase is taking the LSAT test and gaining acceptance into a law program. This portion of the process can take up to a year due to study time and available testing dates. A student would do well to begin this process while they are earning their undergraduate degree.

The final phase of a law degree is law school. Law school programs are typically three years. Unlike a student's undergraduate degree, law school does not allow a student to choose their own pace. Law students are required by most law schools to complete the law program in three years. Under special circumstances, an extension may be permitted but that is not the norm.

Taking all the above factors into account, the shortest path to law school is approximately six years. For the student who has already earned a bachelors and is considering entering law school, the time commitment is between three and four years. All in all, law school takes about seven years to complete for the average student entering college.

 

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