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Law School Basics: From Juris Doctor to Attorney

So, you’re thinking about a career as an attorney. Perhaps you dream of standing before a judge and jury, passionately advocating on behalf of your client. Or, maybe you dream of making BigLaw money and closing deals as part of a Mergers and Acquisitions team. While different types of legal careers can vary widely in form and substance, they share one common starting place: law school.

What is a J.D.? 

In the United States, the most common path to working as an attorney begins with obtaining a postgraduate law degree, called a J.D., or Juris Doctor. Most states require a J.D. in order to obtain a legal license. Postgraduate degrees, including the J.D., are earned after a bachelor’s degree. So, to become an attorney, students must generally complete both a four year bachelor’s degree and a three year law degree. [1] 

People with undergraduate degrees in any major can go to law school and earn a J.D., so long as they take the Law School...

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