How Many Years of College Does IT Take to Become a Lawyer?

To become a practicing lawyer, you will need to complete about seven years of college education, including an undergraduate degree and law degree, and pass a state-administered bar exam in order to practice. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Description of Duties for Lawyers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers, or attorneys, are an important part of modern-day society because they serve as advisers and advocates for the public ( They fill the roles of counselors, mediators, defenders or prosecutors. As a lawyer, you'll be responsible for offering guidance to individuals on their legal rights, such as advice on how to defend against civil and criminal charges or file charges against another party. Additionally, you represent individuals and corporations in business and personal legal affairs, often in court.

Important Facts About Studying Law

Prerequisites Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), personal statement, recommendations
Specializations Litigation law; environmental law; family law; tax law; intellectual property law
Online Availability Fully
Possible Careers Academia; journalism; public interest advocacy; banking and finance; entrepreneur; professional counseling

Educational Requirements

Entrance to law school is highly competitive. You first need to complete a bachelor's degree program, which typically takes four years. If you're planning to attend law school, you might consider a major in English, history, politics or business, though there is no particular required major. After earning your bachelor's degree, you must complete law school, which can take 3 years, lead to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. During your first year in law school, you study broad subjects, such as constitutional law and legal writing, before you choose a concentration for your later years of study.


After completing a J.D. degree program, you need to pass the bar examination approved by your state, usually the Multistate Bar Examination. When you pass the bar exam, you demonstrate you've achieved the level of mastery mandated by your state of residence. Ethics testing is also required for licensing by many states.

Employment and Earning Potential

As a lawyer, you could have excellent earnings and employment opportunities. According to the BLS, employment of lawyers had been expected to grow 6% from 2014-2024. reported that the expected median salary for a lawyer with 0-5 years of experience was $64,085 in September 2015. Lawyers with 5-10 years of experience had an expected median salary of $88,787, with that number rising to $108,505 for those with 10-20 years of legal experience.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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