Law school
Overview
 
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education
Legal education
Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law or business...

.
The oldest civil law faculty in Canada offering law degrees was established in 1848 at McGill University
McGill University Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law is a constituent faculty of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. Its graduates obtain both a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law , concurrently, in three to four years, allowing them to practice in both the Canadian, U.S...

 in Montreal, and the oldest common law faculty in Canada offering law degrees was established in 1883 at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
The typical degree to practice law in Canada is now the Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

, which requires previous college coursework and is similar to the first law degree in the United States, except there is some scholarly content in the coursework (such as an academic research paper required in most schools).
Encyclopedia
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education
Legal education
Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law or business...

.

Law degrees

Canada

The oldest civil law faculty in Canada offering law degrees was established in 1848 at McGill University
McGill University Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law is a constituent faculty of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. Its graduates obtain both a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law , concurrently, in three to four years, allowing them to practice in both the Canadian, U.S...

 in Montreal, and the oldest common law faculty in Canada offering law degrees was established in 1883 at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
The typical degree to practice law in Canada is now the Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

, which requires previous college coursework and is similar to the first law degree in the United States, except there is some scholarly content in the coursework (such as an academic research paper required in most schools). The programs consist of three years, and have similar content in their mandatory first year courses. Beyond first year and the minimum requirements for graduation, course selection is elective with various concentrations such as business law, international law, natural resources law, criminal law, Aboriginal law, etc. Given that the Canadian legal system includes both the French civil law and the Anglo-American common law, some law schools offer both an LL.B. (common law) and a B.C.L. (civil law) degree, such as McGill University
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

, University of Ottawa
University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is a bilingual, research-intensive, non-denominational, international university in Ottawa, Ontario. It is one of the oldest universities in Canada. It was originally established as the College of Bytown in 1848 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate...

 and Université de Montréal
Université de Montréal
The Université de Montréal is a public francophone research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It comprises thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools: the École Polytechnique and HEC Montréal...

. Some universities such as the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

, Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Law School is a Canadian law school, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and affiliated with York University. Named after the first Chief Justice of Ontario, William Osgoode, the law school was established by The Law Society of Upper Canada in 1889 and was the only accredited law...

, Queen's University
Queen's University
Queen's University, , is a public research university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841, the university pre-dates the founding of Canada by 26 years. Queen's holds more more than of land throughout Ontario as well as Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England...

, The University of Western Ontario, The University of Windsor and University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

 have changed the name of their degree to that of a J.D.. Despite changes in designation, schools opting for the J.D. have not altered their curricula. Neither the J.D. or LL.B. alone are sufficient to qualify for a Canadian licence, as each Province's law society requires an apprenticeship and successful completion of provincial skills and responsibilities training course, such as the British Columbia Law Society's Professional Legal Training Course, the Law Society of Upper Canada's Skills and Responsibilities Training Program. and the École du Barreau du Québec. Although the main reason for implementing the J.D. in Canada was to distinguish the degree from the European counterpart that requires no previous post-secondary education, the American Bar Association has yet to recognize the degree as awarded by any Canadian institution. In the eyes of the Canadian educational system the J.D. awarded by Canadian universities has retained the characteristics of the LL.B. and is considered a second entry program, but not a graduate program. (This position is analogous to the position taken by Canadian universities that the M.D.
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine is a doctoral degree for physicians. The degree is granted by medical schools...

 and D.D.S. degrees are considered second entry programs and not graduate programs.) Nevertheless, disagreement persists regarding the status of the degrees, such as at the University of Toronto, where the J.D. degree designation has been marketed by the Faculty of Law as superior to the LL.B. degree designation. Some universities have developed joint Canadian LL.B and American J.D programs, such as York University and New York University, the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy, and the University of Ottawa and Michigan State University program.

England and English common law countries

In England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and other English common law countries, a law degree is usually an undergraduate qualification, with the LL.B being the most common. In Australia & New Zealand, law may be taken as a Combined Law degree with another major as a five-year joint degree, instead of possibly six years for both degrees separately.

After undergraduate qualification (the LLB) further study is necessary prior to practise. To become a solicitor one must complete the Legal Practice Course
Legal Practice Course
The Legal Practice Course also known as the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practiceis the vocational stage for becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. The course is the successor to Law Society Finals and is more vocational in its syllabus. The LPC can be taken in many different formats including...

 and subsequently complete a two year training contract.
For the bar one must complete the LLB, the Bar Professional Training Course
Bar Professional Training Course
The Bar Professional Training Course is a graduate course that is completed by those wishing to be called to the Bar, i.e. to practise as a barrister in England and Wales...

 (formerly the Bar Vocational Course) and then obtain a pupillage (legal apprenticeship) prior to becoming a tenant in chambers.

While the LLB is undertaken at a University the latter professional courses are undertaken at for profit professional schools such as the BPP School of Law. Rarely, some students study the BPTC at the City Law School (formerly Inns of Court School of Law) which is the oldest legal training provider.

France

In France, the legal education is a three tier system. The student may study for a LLB (licence de droit), then a LLM (master de droit) and, for those interested in Law theory, a PhD in Law (doctorat de droit).

The majority of french universities offers Law courses in schools labelled as Research and Education Units (unité de formation et de recherche), Faculties of Law, or Law Schools. The most prestigious Law School is the Sorbonne Law School.

A LLM-level is a prerequisite for legal professions, but is combined with vocational education, such as the école nationale de la magistrature for judges and the Certificat d'aptitude aux fonctions d'avocat for advocate
Advocate
An advocate is a term for a professional lawyer used in several different legal systems. These include Scotland, South Africa, India, Scandinavian jurisdictions, Israel, and the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man...

s.

India

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, legal education has been traditionally offered as a three years graduate degree. However the structure has been changed since 1987. Law degree
Law degree
A Law degree is an academic degree conferred for studies in law. Such degrees are generally preparation for legal careers; but while their curricula may be reviewed by legal authority, they do not themselves confer a license...

s in India are granted and conferred in terms of the Advocates Act, 1961, which is a law passed by the Parliament
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

 both on the aspect of legal education and also regulation of conduct of legal profession. Under the Act, the Bar Council of India
Bar Council of India
The Bar Council of India is a statutory body that regulates and represents the Indian bar. It was created by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961. It prescribes standards of professional conduct and etiquette and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction...

 is the supreme regulatory body to regulate the legal profession in India and also to ensure the compliance of the laws and maintenance of professional standards by the legal profession in the country.

To this regard, the Bar Council of India
Bar Council of India
The Bar Council of India is a statutory body that regulates and represents the Indian bar. It was created by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961. It prescribes standards of professional conduct and etiquette and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction...

 prescribes the minimum curriculum required to be taught in order for an institution to be eligible for the grant of a law degree
Law degree
A Law degree is an academic degree conferred for studies in law. Such degrees are generally preparation for legal careers; but while their curricula may be reviewed by legal authority, they do not themselves confer a license...

. The Bar Council also carries on a period supervision of the institutions conferring the degree and evaluates their teaching methodology and curriculum and having determined that the institution meets the required standards, recognizes the institution and the degree conferred by it.

Traditionally the degrees that were conferred carried the title of LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) or B.L. (Bachelor of Law). The eligibility requirement for these degrees was that the applicant already have a Bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in any subject from a recognized institution. Thereafter the LL.B. / B.L. course was for three years, upon the successful completion of which the applicant was granted either degree.

However upon the suggestion by the Law Commission of India
Law Commission of India
Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reform. It membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government...

 and also given the prevailing cry for reform the Bar Council of India instituted upon an experiment in terms of establishing specialized law universities solely devoted to legal education and thus to raise the academic standards of legal profession in India. This decision was taken somewhere in 1985 and thereafter the first law University in India was set up in Bangalore
Bangalore
Bengaluru , formerly called Bengaluru is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is nicknamed the Garden City and was once called a pensioner's paradise. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and...

 which was named as the National Law School of India University
National Law School of India University
The National Law School of India University is the leading institution for undergraduate and graduate legal education in India. By popular estimates, the school consistently ranks as the most prestigious law school in India...

 (popularly 'NLS'). These law universities were meant to offer a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach to legal education. It was therefore for the first time that a law degree other than LL.B. or B.L. was granted in India. NLS
National Law School of India University
The National Law School of India University is the leading institution for undergraduate and graduate legal education in India. By popular estimates, the school consistently ranks as the most prestigious law school in India...

 offered a five years law course upon the successful completion of which an integrated degree with the title of "B.A.,LL.B. (Honours)" would be granted.

Thereafter other law universities
Autonomous law schools in India
The term Autonomous law schools in India refers to the law schools founded in India pursuant to the second-generation reforms for legal education sought to be implemented by the Bar Council of India. The first such autonomous law school was the National Law School, Bangalore which admitted its...

 were set up, all offering five years integrated law degree with different nomenclature. The next in line was National Law Institute University set up in Bhopal in 1997. It was followed by NALSAR university of law in 1998. The Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University is a public, professional university located in Delhi, India...

 in Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 offered a five years integrated law degree course of B.A.,LL.B / B.B.A.,LL.B (Honours) from 1998 and the Mysore University School of Justice set up by the University of Mysore
University of Mysore
The University of Mysore , is a public university in India. The University founded during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore, and was conceptualized on the basis of a report on educational progress in the United States and Australia, submitted by Messrs Thomas Denham and...

 in Mysore offered a five year integrated law degree course of B.A.,LL.B (Honours) from 2007. The course for three years LL.B. is also regularized in University of Delhi
University of Delhi
The University of Delhi is a central university situated in Delhi, India and is funded by Government of India. Established in 1922, it offers courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the Chancellor of the university...

 as an option for post graduation after the completion of graduation degree. The National Law University, Jodhpur
National Law University, Jodhpur
National Law University, Jodhpur is an autonomous law university in India. The Institute offers under-graduate and post-graduate courses in various streams of law.The degrees offered at the under-graduate level are;* B.B.A,LL.B. * B.A.,LL.B....

 offered for the first time in 2001 the integrated law degree of "B.B.A, LL.B. (Honours)" which was preceded by the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, abbreviated to WBNUJS or NUJS is an autonomous law university offering courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is situated in Salt Lake City of Kolkata, West Bengal, India...

 offering the "B.Sc., LL.B. (Honours)" degree. Gujarat National Law University
Gujarat National Law University
Gujarat National Law University is a statutory university established by the Government of Gujarat under the Gujarat National University Act, 2003. This University is based in the city of Gandhinagar, which is the capital of Gujarat and is located 30 kilometers north to the metropolitan city of...

 established in Gandhinagar also offers LL.B.

However despite these specialized law universities
Autonomous law schools in India
The term Autonomous law schools in India refers to the law schools founded in India pursuant to the second-generation reforms for legal education sought to be implemented by the Bar Council of India. The first such autonomous law school was the National Law School, Bangalore which admitted its...

, the traditional three year degree continues to be offered in India by other institutions and are equally recognized as eligible qualifications for practicing law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Another essential difference that remains is that while the eligibility qualification for the three year law degree is that the applicant must already be a holder of a Bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

, for being eligible for the five years integrated law degree, the applicant must have successfully completed Class XII from a recognized Boards of Education in India
Boards of Education in India
The following boards of education have been recognized by Government of India#Andhra Pradesh Board of Secondary Education#Andhra Pradesh Board of Intermediate Education#Assam Higher Secondary Education Council#Assam Board of Secondary Education...

.

Both the holders of the three year degree and of the five year integrated degree are eligible for enrollment with the Bar Council of India
Bar Council of India
The Bar Council of India is a statutory body that regulates and represents the Indian bar. It was created by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961. It prescribes standards of professional conduct and etiquette and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction...

 upon the fulfillment of eligibility conditions and upon enrollment, may appear before any court in India.

Malaysia

In Malaysia, saved for UiTM
UiTM Malaysia Law School
UiTM Malaysia Law School is one of the professional graduate faculty of UiTM and is located in Shah Alam, Malaysia....

, the new law degree curriculum requires completion of 8 semesters in undergraduate degree in order for the law degree holder to underway pupillage or chambering in respected firms. Any overseas LL.B holder are required to obtain Certificate of Legal Practice in order for them to be admitted as an Advocates and Solicitors. However, local graduate with LL.B (Honours) are exempted from taking Certificate of Legal Practice as they have undergone professional training in their fourth year of undergraduate study. The oldest school of law founded in Malaysia can be traced back in year 1967 from the establishment of Law Faculty, Universiti Teknologi MARA
UiTM Malaysia Law School
UiTM Malaysia Law School is one of the professional graduate faculty of UiTM and is located in Shah Alam, Malaysia....

 (UiTM) where UiTM offered the London-External LL.B programme. Later, when UiTM started to confer its own degrees, UiTM offered the programme of Bachelor of Legal Studies (Hons.) Upon completion of the programme, the students can choose either to work as legal advisors / legal executives or as advocates and solicitors. If they choose to practice as advocates and solicitors, they will be vetted and short-listed to pursue with a one year LL.B (Hons) programme. The places for UiTM's LL.B (Hons) programme are limited and those who are not qualified need to do the Certificate in Legal Practice examination if they still wish to practice law. The Bachelor of Laws in UiTM is recognized as a professional examination and as such, unlike other law programmes, the students work in a law office simulated environment. The students are provided with a practitioner’s office - like settings and are required to work in mock law firms. The programme structure has been designed in such a way that students will actually get a hands-on experience of legal practice to prepare them for the real legal world.

National University of Malaysia or also known as UKM faculty of law was established in February 1984. The faculty began admitting students in the 1986/87 academic year. The objective of the faculty is to train lawyers to be competent both in practice as advocates and solicitors and to serve in the legal and judicial service and the private sectors. The curriculum was designed to include academic and practical aspects of the law with the addition of Islamic courses to reflect the increasing importance of Islamic law in Malaysia. Instead of civil law students are required to extend their knowledge in islamic law.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong
Legal system of Hong Kong
The law of Hong Kong is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The constitutional framework for the legal system is provided by the Hong Kong Basic Law. Under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, the legal framework of Hong Kong is based on the English common law,...

, which generally follows the English common law system, an undergraduate L.L.B. is common, followed by a one or two year Postgraduate Certificate in Laws
Postgraduate Certificate in Laws
PCLL redirects here. For the lacrosse league in the northeastern United States, see Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League.The Postgraduate Certificate in Laws is an intensive one-year full-time professional legal qualification programme in Hong Kong...

 before one can begin a training contract
Training contract
A training contract is a compulsory period of practical training in a law firm for law graduates before they can qualify as a solicitor in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia or Hong Kong...

 (solicitors) or a pupillage
Pupillage
A pupillage, in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, is the barrister's equivalent of the training contract that a solicitor undertakes...

 (barristers).

Iran

In Iran, the legal education has been influenced both by civil law and Islamic Shari'ah law. Like many countries, after high school, one can enter the law school. The first law degree is LL.B. It takes about four years to get LL.B. The first graduate program in law is LL.M. It takes about two to three years to get LL.M. The LL.M. is a mix of course work in a specific field of law and a dissertation. PHD in law is the highest law degree offered by some law schools. It takes about 5-7 years depending on the school as well as the students. The faculty of law in Shahid Beheshti University (formerly known as Iran's National University) and the faculty of law and political sciences at University of Tehran are the top two law schools in Iran.

Japan

In 2004, the "law school system" was introduced in Japan according to the Recommendations of the Justice System Reform Council. Completion of a J.D. degree is required to practice. The J.D. is completed in two years if the student has already completed an LL.B., or three years if the student has a non-law undergraduate degree. To practice law, graduates must pass the National Bar Examination and complete a one year apprenticeship at the Legal Research and Training Institute at the Supreme Court of Japan. Graduate Schools of Law, which confer LL.M. and LL.D. degrees, exists, largely for a few students pursuing academic careers (and partly for a policy career). An LL.M. degree usually requires two years of study.

Philippines

Law degree programs are considered graduate programs in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. As such, admission to law schools requires the completion of a bachelor's degree, with a sufficient number of credits or units in certain subject areas.

Graduation from a Philippine law school constitutes the primary eligibility requirement for the Philippine Bar Examination
Philippine Bar Examination
The Philippine Bar Examination is the professional licensure examination for lawyers in the Philippines.It is the only professional licensure exam in the country that is not supervised by the Professional Regulation Commission...

, the national licensure examination for practicing lawyers in the country. The bar examination is administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

 during the month of September every year.

South Korea

On July 3, 2007, the Korean National Assembly passed legislation introducing 'Law School', closely modeled on the American post-graduate system. Moreover, naturally, since March 2, 2009, 25 (both public and private) 3-year professional Law School
Law school
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education.- Law degrees :- Canada :...

s that officially approved by Korean Government
Government of South Korea
The Government of South Korea is divided into executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The executive and judicial branches operate primarily at the national level, although various ministries in the executive branch also carry out local functions. Local governments are semi-autonomous, and...

, has been opened to teach future Korean lawyers. The first bar test to the lawschool graduates will be scheduled in 2012.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 to practice law, one must be admitted and enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka is the highest court of the nation of Sri Lanka. The Supreme Court is the highest and final judicial instance of record and is empowered to exercise its powers, subject to the provisions of the Constitution. The Court has ultimate appellate jurisdiction in...

. This is achieved by passing law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College
Sri Lanka Law College
Sri Lanka Law College was established as the Ceylon Law College under the Council of Legal Education in 1874 in order to impart a formal legal education to those who wished to be lawyers in Ceylon...

 which are administered by the Council of Legal Education and spending a period of six months under a practicing attorney of at least 8 years standing. To undertake law exams students must gain admission to the Sri Lanka Law College and study law or directly under take exams after gaining a LLB from a local or foreign university.

Taiwan

Taiwan was a colony of Imperial Japan until the U.S. defeated Japan in 1945, and handed power back to the Republic of China. At that time a new legal system put in place. Since that time, the study of law has been an undergraduate pursuit resulting in a bachelor's degree. Foreigners are not allowed to practice law (no exception is made for citizens of the United States).

United States

In the United States, law school is a postgraduate program that typically lasts three years and earns the student a Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 (J.D.) law degree
Law degree
A Law degree is an academic degree conferred for studies in law. Such degrees are generally preparation for legal careers; but while their curricula may be reviewed by legal authority, they do not themselves confer a license...

. Some schools in Louisiana concurrently award a Graduate Diploma in Civil Law (D.C.L.). To gain admission to a United States American Bar Association (ABA) approved law program, a prospective student must take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), and have a minimum four-year undergraduate (bachelor's) degree in any major. Currently, there are 199 ABA-approved law schools.

There currently are five online law schools that are unaccredited by the ABA but registered by the State Bar of California.

Postgraduate and professional study

Some schools offer a Master of Laws
Master of Laws
The Master of Laws is an advanced academic degree, pursued by those holding a professional law degree, and is commonly abbreviated LL.M. from its Latin name, Legum Magister. The University of Oxford names its taught masters of laws B.C.L...

 (LL.M.) program as a way of specializing in a particular area of law. A further possible degree is the academic doctoral degree
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in law of Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) (in the U.S)., or the Doctorate of Laws (LL.D.) in Canada, or the Ph.D. in Law from European or Australasian universities.

In addition to attending law school, many jurisdictions require law school graduates to pass a state or provincial bar examination
Bar examination
A bar examination is an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.-Brazil:...

 before they may practice law. The Multistate Bar Examination is part of the bar examination in almost all United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 jurisdictions. Generally, the standardized, common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 subject matter of the MBE is combined with state-specific essay questions to produce a comprehensive bar examination.

In other common law countries the bar exam is often replaced by a period of work with a law firm known as articles of clerkship.

Controversies involving US law schools

Employment prospects

Law schools generally portray law school as a good investment, citing high salaries and employment rates. The National Association for Legal Career Professionals produces an annual report summarizing the employment data of law schools in the United States that suggests otherwise. As of the 2009 report, out of 44,000 law school graduates, less than 80 percent (35,002) reported any form of employment (full or part time) within 9 months of graduation. Over 25 percent of all employed respondents were employed in a temporary position, bringing the number of graduates employed in non temp jobs of any kind (legal or otherwise) to under 60 percent. Only 45 percent of graduates were employed in non temporary attorney jobs and less than 40 percent of all graduates were employed as full time non temporary attorneys.

Disputed accuracy of statistics given

Critics question the forthrightness of some law schools in providing prospective students with accurate information on alumni job placement and compensation rates, suggesting that law schools may distort their statistics to attract students.

Some law school graduates suggest that their schools use misleading statistics to attract students. An example of this would be schools citing a relatively high employment rate of students who responded to their employment survey without disclosing the percentage of students that responded. This is misleading because unemployed graduates tend not to respond to employment surveys until they gain employment, and some schools even explicitly tell graduates not to respond unless they are employed. In addition, schools cite the mean graduate salary
Salary
A salary is a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract. It is contrasted with piece wages, where each job, hour or other unit is paid separately, rather than on a periodic basis....

, instead of the median; while the median salary of law graduates is approximately $62,000, the mean could be inflated somewhat by a relatively small concentration of graduates earning starting salaries well above the median. For example, the starting salary at mega law firms in several cities across the country in 2008 is US$160,000. It is likely that median salary statistics are incorrect, because students who are unemployed, working temporary jobs or have a low salary may be less likely to submit a salary report to the school.

A common response to this criticism is that it simply reflects the reality of competitiveness in legal education
Legal education
Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law or business...

 and in the legal market. With a limited number of top positions available, prospective law students should be circumspect about the employment opportunities that will await them after graduation -- especially if they plan on attending a lower-ranked school.

Students at prestigious, highly regarded institutions have a variety of options available. This discrepancy can be seen as a function of supply and demand, with the number of newer (and thus lower-ranked) law schools proliferating in recent years. A similar difficulty may be encountered by graduate students in other fields, although the aforementioned lack of accurate information about post-graduate employment may exacerbate the problem for law students.

Continued increase in number of law schools

New York was recently described as having a "glut" of law schools, with a total of 15 in the state (Albany, Brooklyn, Cardozo, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, Hofstra, New York Law School, NYU, Pace, St. John's, Syracuse, Touro (Fuchsberg), and public SUNY Buffalo and CUNY Queens College).

Two-track lawyering market

According to the National Law Journal, 40% of law school graduates default on their student loans, incurring collection fees of 29% when the loans are turned over to collection agencies. Law school graduates default more often than doctors, engineers, and business school graduates.

According to the 2009 annual report of the Association for Legal Career Professionals, 55% of graduates responded to employment statistics requests. Of 19,513 respondents, 88% reported that they were working, or approximately 45% of all graduates assuming those not responding are not employed. Of the respondents, 39% reported that they were not practicing law but were in the military, public interest, business or the same job as was held before law school. Of the remaining 61% of respondents (34% of the graduating class), the reported salaries for first-year lawyers congregated in two camps: those who earn about $30,000 to $65,000 a year (representing about 34% of reported lawyer salaries), and those who earn about $160,000 a year (representing about 25 percent of reported lawyer salaries). Few lawyers actually receive “average” or even median pay. Additionally, 86% of lawyers reported start dates pushed more than 6 months after passing the bar.

Thus according to the NALP, of the responding lawyers salaries for those earn around $160,000 they represent only 8% of the entire graduating class. This mirrors the top 10% observation of "super lawyers" which has been cited elsewhere. Super lawyers are the top 10% of top 10 law schools who go on to earn $160,000. Of the remaining 90% with a law school debt that can exceed $200,000 the return on investment is very poor and can significantly affect quality of life.

As of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the expected number of new lawyer positions is to be fewer than 60% of the number of graduates out of law schools. However, employment statistics vary by race, ethnicity, gender, age, location, and school rankings. For instance in the last recession in Los Angeles the public sector employment for lawyers was frozen for 5 years (as of 2010 it has been frozen for 1 year). In the private sector in California approximately 3,500 attorneys were terminated in 2009. In one day alone nationwide 800 law firm jobs were terminated. Attrition among graduates of law schools are also very high, with 39% reporting not practicing law after 1 year. After 10 years in lower tier schools it approaches 90%.

Financing

In order to pay for law school, many law students assume debt obligations in the form of student loans. Many graduate with well over $100,000 in student loan debt. Currently the maximum a student may borrow under the federal loan borrowing program is $20,500 per year. Tuition charged by instutitions above $20,500 per year must be covered by private education loans that are not eligible for deferment and forgiveness programs available for federally backed educational loans. The New York Times has recently published an article questioning the propriety of the Chairman of the Board of Access Group, Richard Matasar, also serving as the Dean of New York Law School. Unlike most other types of debt including gambling debt, student loan debt is generally not discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.

Political bias

A 2005 study found that liberals were significantly overrepresented among elite law schools professors. This has been criticized since law professors may significantly influence legal issues and courts by their submissions. A 2010 study of hiring initial, tenure-track professors made during the years 2005, 2007 and 2009 at law schools found that 52% of those hired were openly liberal compared to 8% openly conservative. There was no statistical relationship between law school prestige and and tendency to hire liberals or conservatives. The authors wrote that "the extreme discrepancy between the proportion of new professors who can be clearly identified as liberal or conservative indicates either unequal hiring patterns or environments less conducive to openness and debate in the law school setting,"

Lawsuits involving law schools

Four lawsuits have recently been filed involving various law schools. One was filed by the Thomas Cooley Law School against a law firm and four anonymous internet bloggers and seeks to recover damages for defamation. A separate lawsuit was filed by a graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law against her school, seeking damages for misrepresentation and fraud regarding the school's published employment statistics and salary information. The third and fourth lawsuits were filed by The Kurzon Strauss law firm against New York Law School and Thomas Cooley Law School.

UK and Europe

While law schools in the U.S. and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 are typically post-graduate
Postgraduate education
Postgraduate education involves learning and studying for degrees or other qualifications for which a first or Bachelor's degree generally is required, and is normally considered to be part of higher education...

 institutions with considerable autonomy, legal education in other countries is provided within the mainstream educational system from university level and/or in non-degree conferring vocational training institutions.

In countries such as the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and most of continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, academic legal education is provided within the mainstream university system starting at the undergraduate level, and the legal departments of universities are simply departments like any other rather than separate "law schools". In these countries, the term "law school" may be used, but it does not have the same definition as it does in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. The same is true for private Law Schools, e.g. in Germany two private law schools have been established, Bucerius Law School
Bucerius Law School
Bucerius Law School is a small, non-state university affiliated private law school located in Hamburg, Germany. The school is the first private law school in Germany and is often ranked as the best law school in the country. It admits 100 bachelor students per year, who achieve very high results in...

 in Hamburg and EBS Law School in Wiesbaden which are termed law schools but follow the usual German path of legal education.

There are also sometimes legal colleges that provide vocational training as a post-academic stage of legal education. One example is the College of Law
The College of Law
The College of Law of England and Wales is a private educational institution in England and a registered charity which provides legal education for students and professionals.-20th century:...

 in the United Kingdom, which provides certain professional qualifications British lawyers must obtain before they may practice as solicitors or barristers.

Australia

In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, law schools such as the Sydney Law School
Sydney Law School
Sydney Law School is the law faculty of the University of Sydney and is regarded as one of the most prestigious institutions of legal education in Australia and the Asia Pacific. Located in the main Camperdown campus of the University, with some operations at the St...

 and the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

 have emphasised a combination of the British and American systems. However, other universities such as the University of New South Wales, the Australian National University and Monash University are known for their intensive and practical work.

See also

  • Juris Doctor
    Juris Doctor
    Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

  • Legal clinic
    Legal clinic
    The phrase legal clinic may refer to any private, nonprofit law practice serving the public interest. In the academic context, these law school clinics provide hands-on experience to law school students and services to various clients. Academic Clinics are usually directed by clinical professors...

  • Legal education
    Legal education
    Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law or business...

  • Madrasah
    Madrasah
    Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

  • Paralegal
    Paralegal
    Paralegal is used in most jurisdictions to describe a paraprofessional who assists qualified lawyers in their legal work. This is true in the United States and many other countries. However, in Ontario, Canada, paralegals are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, giving paralegals an...

  • Law School Admissions Test

Further reading

  • Duncan Kennedy
    Duncan Kennedy
    Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School and a founder of critical legal studies as movement and school of thought. Kennedy has been a member of the ACLU since 1967. According to his own testimony, he has never forgotten to pay his dues.-Education and...

    : Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy, New Edition, New York Univ Press, 2004, ISBN 0814747787
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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