Students interested in pursuing their Juris Doctor degree, or JD, will need to first obtain their bachelor's in a field that is related to interpreting the law or that will provide overlapping competencies. It is common for people to obtain an undergraduate degree in business or legal science, as these provide helpful skills, such as communication. After receiving his or her bachelor's, a student must then take the LSAT test.
Students can then study law, and they can do this using online law school. The length of time it takes to earn an online law degree can vary, but on average, it requires three years of coursework. Students will learn about constitutional law, civil procedures, and the law as it relates to contracts, torts, criminality, property, real estate, and more.
Students pursuing their online law degree can expect to intern or pursue an externship or practicum to gain practical use of terms and concepts, and there will be further educational requirements needed to retain their ability to practice law. Once a person has earned his or her JD, he or she can qualify to take the bar exam in their state of residence, and after passing this requirement, he or she will become licensed.
Though a student most certainly can become a lawyer at that point, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more attorneys graduate than there are positions available in the field. There are, however, many other jobs for which it is necessary to have an understanding of the law, giving students many options to choose from.
Career Opportunities and Salary Information for Law Students
Students who graduate from online law school may choose to find employment in public administration, helping to shape public policy as a commissioner, director, or other civil servant. They can also assist with the interpretation of local laws and with city planning. Salaries for these positions can vary, but generally, a city commissioner can earn between $39,000 to $150,000, with a median annual wage of $81,000. A job in public administration has a range between $39,716 and $97,429, depending on years of experience and location.
There are several jobs within a courtroom setting that necessitate holding a JD, such as the position of judge, magistrate, lawyer, court officer, or those who provide mediation to help resolve disputes. Judges can be chosen by appointment or by election, and the yearly salary for a judge or magistrate is between $157,273 and $179,433, with a median pay of $160,336. Court attorneys earn between $49,000 to $160,000, with a median of $81,599.
Many corporations need legal advice on a regular basis and hire staff to deal with their ongoing workload. JD graduates can find employment creating documents and contracts for human resources departments and helping businesses defend themselves when they are sued by customers or staff. They can also provide their services to firms on a freelance basis.
In-house attorneys are commonly found providing expertise for real estate firms, giving oversight to business formations, and employed by firms who need help interpreting labor laws. They can assist with mergers, licensing agreements, and with managing issues related to copyright and patent infringement. Salaries for corporate attorneys run the gamut between $63,000 to $170,000, with a median wage of $97,851.