Getting an online law degree is a relatively new opportunity and is gaining in popularity. Online education for law school is still not accepted nationally, so it does offer drawbacks for some. Currently, California is the only state that allows students from online law programs to sit for their state bar exam, so this opportunity is best for those who plan to practice in California after receiving their degree. After practicing in California for some time, however, you may become eligible to sit for bar exams in other states.
An online law degree, also known as a J.D. degree, is a graduate professional degree. Typically, a J.D. degree takes three to four years to complete. However, prior to starting your degree, you should be prepared by completing study with a Bachelor’s degree with competitive grades. Many law students major in subjects such as political science, government, history, or English. After graduating with your Bachelor’s degree, you will need to take the LSAT. Good scores on this exam will help with your admission to law school. Once you begin working on your J.D. degree, in your first year, you can expect to take classes such as Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Contracts, and Legal Research and Writing. As you advance through your education, you can expect to take classes more specialized to your area of interest. Finally, after completing your J.D. degree, you will need to sit for and pass the bar exam to be eligible to practice law.
One of the alluring aspects of the legal profession is the promise of a comfortable salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for attorneys in private practice just nine months after graduation is $85,000. Options for employment as a lawyer include being self-employed, holding positions with law firms, serving as a lawyer for a corporation, working for state or local government, or working with non-profit organizations. The legal profession continues to grow at average rates, but competition for the best positions is very intense.