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Legal Education and Training

An Overview of Education and Training Requirements for the Legal Profession


Former Dean Of Harvard Law School Nominated To U.S. Supreme Court
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The length of time required to complete a legal education runs the gamut from a few months to seven years, depending on the position. Below is an overview of the legal education requirements for many legal jobs.

Law School

Education for lawyers and judges is the most time-intensive legal education of all legal careers and requires the successful completion of undergraduate degree program, law school and a state bar examination. Generally, a lawyer’s legal education is completed in seven years of post-high school education, although part-time programs may extend a student’s length of study.

Bachelor’s Degree

The only legal education required for a large majority of legal positions is a bachelor’s degree and specialized training in the field. For example, paralegals generally need a bachelor’s degree (in any field) and a paralegal certificate; legal nurse consultants must possess a bachelor’s degree in nursing and specialized training in legal consulting; and litigation support professionals generally possess a paralegal or IT degree and technology training.

Trade Schools

A growing number of trade schools train legal professionals in careers ranging from legal secretaries and paralegals to court reporters and legal investigators. These programs are often completed in two years or less and graduates are awarded a certificate, associate’s degree or other specialized degree. Some legal education programs can be completed within a few short months.

No Formal Legal Education

Some legal positions require no formal legal education; the employee is trained on the job. These positions are a great way to get your foot in the door.

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