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A law degree program provides students with the knowledge and information necessary to work within a legal system. Students enrolled in such a program will be exposed to the various facets of the law, including how they are made, interpreted, refined and overturned. The study of law ask individuals to carefully consider the availability of information in regards to making informed decisions, then apply those methods to a legal setting. Law students will study a broad range of topics, and learn about the various functions of courts and how to operate within the legal system. Some institutions will mock cases, asking law students to defend or prosecute based on available information. During such instances students will research previous cases, citing examples along with current evidence to prove or disprove one's innocence.
Law degrees are graduate level degrees earned through the completion of law school, typically taking 3 years and requiring a bachelor degree prior to acceptance into law school. There are two forms of law degrees, the more common Juris Doctor, which can be consider an equivalent to a master's degree, or the less common Master of Law, which confers the title of LLM or LL.M and can be considered the equivalent of a doctoral degree. Students pursuing a master of law degree will typically specialize in a particular field of law, programs of which typically take one to two years to complete. Law schools typically require high marks on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) exam to be considered for admission.
A curriculum in law may include:
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Law
- Legal Writing
A degree in law does not mean that an individual can immediately begin work as a lawyer. In the United States, all 50 states require admission to their respective Bar association in order to be licensed to practice law. The requirements for admission will vary from state to state, often requiring passing of a state administered Bar examination. Once an individual has obtained licensure he or she will be able to practice law within their respective state.
Finding work as a lawyer can be difficult as it is an incredibly competitive market. Job growth for lawyers is expected to remain steady, but an increase in law school graduates will put available positions at a premium. Students considering a career in law should be prepared for long work days, little free time, and increased stress during their first few years at a law firm. Entry level positions for lawyers are known as associate level positions, with promotion coming in a variety of forms, including law firm partnership, corporate law, private practice, or in some cases, judicial positions.
The average salary of lawyer is $112,000, though the salary can vary wildly based on experience, location, position and employer.
Individual interested in law may also be interested in international law, tax law, and health law.