If you are looking for a rewarding career that will challenge you intellectually while also providing you with a chance to help other people, then you might be thinking about going to law school. On the other hand, a lot of people have second thoughts when they realize that law school is going to require several years of education after finishing college. At the same time, some people are wondering if they can complete law school in a shorter amount of time. If you are wondering, “how long is law school,” there are a few important points that you should keep in mind.
After you get into law school, it will usually take you about three years to complete all of your courses. Even though there are law schools out there that allow people to graduate in two years, this usually handicaps people when they start looking for jobs. Most law firms, companies, and other entities are going to assume that if someone finished law school in two years that they must have cut out some classes along the way. Therefore, they may believe that the individual is not as ready for a career in the legal field. Therefore, everyone should take three years to finish law school and compete for a job.
Importantly, law school is three years after finishing college. The vast majority of people are going to require four years to complete an undergraduate degree. Even though it might be possible for someone to get into law school with an associate's degree, this is highly unusual. Some individuals are able to compress their undergraduate education and finish in three years. In this situation, they might be able to start law school one year early; however, they often have to take summer classes in order to finish their undergraduate education in three years. If they take classes during the summer, this might handicap their ability to compete for undergraduate internships that would otherwise strengthen their law school application.
Getting into law school was the first challenge. Succeeding in law school is an entirely different challenge. Once you get to law school, you are going to realize this is like drinking from a fire hose. Therefore, you need to make sure that you set yourself up for success. Go to class every day, complete the reading on time, focus on the details, and participate in class. If you want to absorb as much material as possible, you need to be an active participant in all of these educational activities. You will set yourself up for success on the day of exams and on the day you take the bar.
Even though you are not required to pass the bar exam in order to get a job as a lawyer, you do need to pass the bar exam in order to enter the courtroom as a lawyer. The vast majority of students are going to try to take the bar exam as soon after finishing law school as possible. That way, all of the information and material they learned is still fresh in their mind. In general, the bar exam is going to be offered two times per year. Most jurisdictions offer the bar exam once in February and once in July. The bar exam usually takes two days to finish; however, it will last for three days in some states.
It is critical for students to make sure they prepare for the bar exam appropriately. This is a rigorous examination that is going to have a pass-fail rate that will vary from state-to-state. Because the bar exam is only offered two times per year, and students have to pass the bar exam in order to enter the courtroom, it is better for students to pass it on the first attempt. That way, they will be more competitive for jobs in the legal field.
A lot of students decide to sign up for prep classes that will prepare them for the bar exam. By learning from people who have achieved some of the top scores on the bar exams, students can increase their chances of passing the bar exam on the first attempt.
A lot of students are wondering how long they should take to study for the bar exam. Of course, students are going to learn this material at different rates; however, the vast majority of students are going to spend somewhere around 400 hours studying for the bar exam. About 200 of these hours should be dedicated to learning the law of the relevant jurisdiction in which they are taking the bar exam. It is also important for students to spend this time memorizing their outlines. They are going to be asked to write papers on the bar exam and these outlines are going to be important.
The rest of this time should be spent working practice questions. It is just as important to learn how the bar exam is going to phrase certain questions and topics as it is to learn the material that is required to answer them. There are only so many ways a single examination will be able to test a single topic. The more times you see these questions, the more likely you will be to answer them correctly on the day of the exam.
Even though law school is going to be a challenge, embrace it. This is a chance for you to set yourself up for a successful career.