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Author Topic: Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten  (Read 1868 times)

mli

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Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten
« on: May 15, 2005, 03:17:36 AM »
Well, perhaps not totally clueless, but just about. I've always been interested in law, and planned to go to law school after undergrad. However, with no career advisor and a plethora of information online, I'm quite confused about the requirements for becoming a lawyer. Do I take the JD program first, then a SJD or LLM? Or could I directly go to LLM? And I'm assuming that I need a SJD or LLM degree in order to be lawyer, correct? Is it standard education time to have four years undergrad, three years grad? Or do lawyers usually receive more? Please help clear the fog. Thanks.

Stroopwafel

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Re: Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2005, 03:55:26 AM »
The path, I believe is something like this
(with the caveat that I am not in law school, I am only going to be a 1L):

high school diploma + SAT + personal statement -> B.A., or B.S + LSAT + personal statement + research + recommendations -> JD + state bar = terminal degree unless you require further specialty training, or received an LLB, or equivalent law degree outside of the US -> LLM or certifications

after you get your JD I have been told that you will have to continue taking classes to stay current
Rest not. Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time.

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mli

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Re: Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2005, 09:38:25 AM »
Thank you very much for the flowchart, sure cleared a lot of things up.  :) And that emphasis on research means researching for the right grad school and what area of law you want to go in?
So at the moment, I can look at 4 years of undergrad, 3 years of grad, and no schooling for terminal specialty training, other than the courses to stay current? But this way.. it looks like I can have a serious job only after receiving my LLB? Or could you start working after receiving a JD degree?

Lenny

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Re: Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2005, 09:51:06 AM »
A substantial majority of attorneys only have a JD.  You usually only go on to get an LLM if you end up specializing in a highly technical field such as tax or international trade.  The other situations in which you go for an LLM are if you want to be a professor or if you have graduated from a foreign law school and want to practice in the US.  The "other classes" that people have spoken of are called Continuing Legal Education.  Each state has its own requirement of X number of hours per year of CLE in order to retain your membership in your state's bar.  These CLE classes are usually seminars or meetings.  So, undergrad + 3 years of law school (either immediately following undergrad or after doing something between undergrad and law) makes you an attorney.

180

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Re: Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2005, 10:32:35 AM »
Well, perhaps not totally clueless, but just about. I've always been interested in law, and planned to go to law school after undergrad. However, with no career advisor and a plethora of information online, I'm quite confused about the requirements for becoming a lawyer. Do I take the JD program first, then a SJD or LLM? Or could I directly go to LLM? And I'm assuming that I need a SJD or LLM degree in order to be lawyer, correct? Is it standard education time to have four years undergrad, three years grad? Or do lawyers usually receive more? Please help clear the fog. Thanks.

You need an LLM to apply to most SJD programs.  Very few people, even in academia, go this far.  It is really only helpful to those in the ivory tower. 

laur0212

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Re: Totally clueless about law as a career, please enlighten
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2005, 05:41:53 PM »
Essentially its like this:  A JD is like no other graduate degree in that there are no undergrad pre-requisites and everyone goes to law school starting from scratch.  In a sense its a little bit like an undergraduate degree.  An LLM is an advanced law degree in a specific area of study.  It's like getting a masters degree in any other subject:  you find something you're interested in while you're in college and choose to pursue a more advanced degree in it after you're through with your undergrad degree.  To follow up an LLM (which from what I understand almost no one gets these days), you get an SJD, which you could probably equate to a Ph.D.

Basically, its sort of a weird and screwy system, but because a JD is considered an advanced degree, most people don't bother with an LLM or an SJD.  You just won't need it in order to practice law (might be helpful though if you plan on becoming a tax lawyer...I hear that's a  female dog).