Comparative Law

A degree program in comparative law may help you learn about law on a global scale and give you the tools you need to practice in a variety of legal arenas. Read on to see if a degree in comparative law is for you.

Is Comparative Law for Me?

Career Overview

A comparative law degree program provides you with an evaluation of the world's legal systems and philosophies in relation to each other. The field of comparative law includes, but is not limited to, common law, international law, civil law and European law. Lawyers act as representatives for clients during legal proceedings and may give advice, draw up legal documents and help with transactions. Due to the global nature of business and the economy, an understanding of laws in many countries is useful, even if you anticipate practicing law principally in one country.

Job Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most lawyers work in private practice dealing primarily with criminal or civil law ( may work as a criminal defense attorney, judge or government official. Additionally, you may specialize in immigration, commercial and banking, tax, corporate, family, human rights or international law. As a lawyer, you'll be expected to understand the intent of laws while applying them to the specifics of your clients' cases.

Employment Information

The BLS stated that lawyers had a median annual wage in May 2012 of $113,530. The field was expected to grow 10% in the 2012-2022 decade, which is about as fast as the estimated average job growth during that period.

How Can I Work in Comparative Law?


Becoming a lawyer will take you approximately seven years. You'll likely need a 4-year college degree, followed by three years at an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law school. To gain admission to law school, you'll need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).


After you complete law school, you'll need to pass the bar exam. As part of their bar exam, most states require the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), and some additionally require the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). You might be required to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) to demonstrate your comprehension of the ABA codes on professional conduct and ethics.


If you choose a comparative law education program, you'll cover areas such as public law, trade regulation, economic law, international law and human rights. You'll learn about research methodology, including training on electronic legal research systems, such as the Lexis and Westlaw. You'll compare U.S. law to laws in places such as Canada, China, Germany and Japan while studying topics in international business transactions, international human rights and international sale of goods. Degree options include the Juris Doctor or Juris Doctorate (J.D.), the Master of Laws (LL.M.), the Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L. or L.L.C.M.) and the Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D. or S.J.D).

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