How Long Is Law School And What Is It Like…
The first question most students interested in attending law school ask is, “How long is law school?” Although it is a simple question at first glance, the answer to how long is law school is not as easy to answer as it used to be.
A typical law school program takes three years to complete. Students take classes from August through May, leaving the summers off for internship or work opportunities.
Although the answer as to how many years one spends in law school is varied, it normally takes three years; an innovative program offered at a few schools is changing the way law students can finish school. If you’re wondering how long does it take to become a lawyer, not just finish law school, that now depends upon the program in which the student is enrolled. There are new programs with an approach that offers students the chance to complete their coursework in two years instead of three.
The Accelerated JD Program Option
An accelerated JD program provides year round classes for law students. An accelerated law student begins classes in May or June, attending classes all summer. The student attends classes from August through May, like normal law students do. The second summer the student is off from class, and then completes courses August through May. From start to finish, the student is completely done with law school in two years instead of three. An accelerated JD program involves five semesters of learning instead of the traditional six semesters. The courses are taught at an accelerated pace, and are restricted to highly-motivated students.
What is Law School Like?
Students considering entering law school often wonder what to anticipate as they begin law school classes. Law school students generally are in class for 14-16 hours per week. First year law students are almost universally enrolled in the same core classes all over the United States; usually including Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Torts, and Constitutional Law. Some classes take only one semester to finish where others may require two semesters to complete.
Law students are required to read massive amounts of material every day, most of it case law (major court decisions). The classes offered at law school are very different from most classes encountered in undergraduate school. Professors utilize a unique method of teaching, called the Socratic Method, when questioning students. This method of teaching, which involves protracted questions directed at one particular student, allows the students to develop their skills at presenting oral arguments.
Whether a student finishes law school in two years or three, the same basic core material will be covered by either option. This ensures that all law school students leave school with the education that will allow them to work in the legal field.
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