The degree of Juris Doctor qualifies you to be a practicing lawyer in the United States. It is the terminal degree you obtain after graduating from a law school. But before you can enter law school in the United States, you must complete your undergraduate degree in any discipline and submit an LSAT score. You then begin law school of three years to earn the degree of Juris Doctor. The Juris Doctor degree is particularly designed for the American legal system and in that sense differs from the LLB and LLM which are for the British system.
What will I study to earn the title of Juris Doctor?
Law school is very rigorous and demanding and that’s why the degree of Juris Doctor is held in such high regard. The first two years of law school generally require you to complete core courses. Core courses introduce you to the basics of law including terminology and accepted procedures in courts and chambers. You will generally complete introductory courses on torts, corporate and constitutional law.
The elective you take in your third year depend on what specialization you want in the legal world. People may specialize in corporate law, intellectual property law, investment law and family law among others, though they will all earn the same degree of Juris Doctor.
Law school emphasizes the case method of study. Students are expected to engage in heavy reading and prepare several cases and precedents for each class. It is common for instructors to cold call in class and expect you to know the facts behind various cases. Studying for the degree of Juris Doctor is thus hard work though most people find it is worth it in the end.
It is also fairly standard for students pursuing the degree of Juris Doctor to complete internships in each summer of law school. This gives them the practical experience they will be expected to have later in their careers.
Can I become a Juris Doctor online?
It is somewhat more common to study to be a paralegal online since the duration is shorter. It is also very common to get your undergraduate degree online. But there are also several people who find that completing their Juris Doctor degree is a convenient option given that it allows them to continue working.
When you complete the Juris Doctor degree online, you can watch the lecture videos at your own convenience. You also have access to all handout and examinations in an electronic format. The discussion element from the classroom is somewhat lacking but is compensated for to some extent by the use of forums and social media channels.
While you could obtain the Juris Doctor degree online, you still need to clear the bar exam separately to practice in a particular state.
What are my career options after becoming a Juris Doctor?
While most Juris Doctor degree holders will become practicing lawyers, many enter positions in public policy and management where they do not do use their legal background directly.