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Students are able to communicate effectively, writing and speaking clearly for varied audiences and purposes. Currently, no law school offers a fully online Juris Doctor degree approved by the American Bar Association. In order to sit for state bar examinations, students must earn a degree from an ABA-accredited institution.

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While fully online programs do not exist, some universities and law schools may allow students to complete some coursework via online learning formats. This includes students in dual, concurrent, or joint degree programs. There are numerous considerations when deciding to pursue a law degree. Prospective students need to ensure they are getting the right return on their investment by finding a law school that matches both their educational needs and career goals. Below is a list of factors students should review before deciding to apply to law school.

Passing the bar examination is the basic requirement to practice law. Traditionally, law schools prepare students to take the bar examination in the state the institution is located. Prospective students should consider where they want to practice law as that will influence where they attend school. However, some states have reciprocal agreements allowing graduates from one state to practice law in another after passing the bar examination.

Attending law school means reading, and lots of it. Law students should consider the research facilities and libraries at their school of choice, examining the quality of the library collection, staff, research materials, and even hours of operation. The success of any student hinges on faculty members. Faculty-student ratio is also important, as it is an indicator of how personalized the learning experience will be at each school. Generally speaking, law students are not required to specialize when they graduate. Secondly, students seeking a well-rounded education should ensure the school offers a rich and diverse list of classes that complement coursework in general law.

Through educational training, lawyers develop a range of professional skills, most of which revolve around information. Lawyers must be able to consume, digest, analyze, and process vast amounts of data. Lawyers should be keen researchers, able to decipher complex legal documents and case studies. Another major skill is communication, both verbally and in written form, which enables proper conveyance of ideas to clients, arbitrators, legal counsel, juries, and the general public.


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Although certification has become an important part of the legal profession, formal board certification of lawyers is a fairly recent industry shift. Certification programs are entirely voluntary and lawyers not certified in a specialization e. Lawyers may pursue certification from private ABA-accredited programs, state sponsored plans, and state-accredited private certifiers. For example, lawyers may gain board certification in multiple areas from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, including the following:.

Like other fields, the legal industry is experiencing a growing integration of technology into everyday work. In addition to standard office tools and technology e. Some of these include:. Nationally, the BLS projects a 10 percent growth of employment in legal careers between and , translating to an additional 74, positions created during this time.

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Five of the most in-demand practice areas are detailed below. Driven by an increase in proceedings, there is a growing need for skilled legal specialists in areas of commercial litigation and medical malpractice. Driven by compliance, federal regulation such as Dodd-Frank Act, contract administration, and increasing business activity. Driven largely by compliance issues created by the American Care Act, insurance companies and government organizations are seeking skilled legal professionals with knowledge of the healthcare industry.

Driven by the vast technology sector, protecting intellectual property has become paramount for most companies. Driven by an improving economy and growing housing markets, lawyers are needed to provide services in areas ranging from commercial development to property management issues.

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States with the best employment outlooks include Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. Below is a list of the ten states expected to see the largest percentage of employment opportunities for lawyers between and Curious about lawyer job growth in your state? Select a state below for more information about employment and job growth for this career. Becoming a lawyer is not the only career path available to those interested in this area of work. A diverse, wide-ranging industry, legal services offers prospective students a wealth of career opportunities that diverge from the actual practice of law.

In addition to the practice of law, there are numerous related career paths. Below is a table of salary data for related careers in the legal field.

Legal Education Digest

Choosing a fire science or EMT program can be tough. This search tool lets students review various credentials and programs available in their state so that they can identify those that fit them best. You're about to search for degree programs related to a career that you are researching. It's important to recognize that a degree may be required for a career or increase your chances of employment but it is not a guarantee of employment when you complete your degree.

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Identify Law Schools and Complete Applications. Lawyer Career Basics The work of a lawyer is broad in scope as there is no singular occupation designated to the title. Lawyer Career In-Depth As advisors, lawyers represent clients in both legal issues and disputes. West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming. Legal Skills Introduces students to the elements of practicing law, including legal analysis, policy, and writing. Contracts Students are introduced to the basic principles of contracts, including creation, termination, and alteration. Civil Procedure Students gain an understanding of court procedures that do not involve criminal matters; includes the study of trial litigation, discovery process, and jurisdictional rules.

Constitutional Law Teaches students about the U. Constitution and how it structures the legal system. Torts This course examines civil liabilities of conduct and topics such as medical malpractice and tort reform. Intellectual Property Law One of the most rapidly growing specialties in law, intellectual property is concerned with trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Criminal Law In the courtroom, criminal defense lawyers are tasked with representing clients accused of committing crimes.

Environmental Law When compared to other areas of legal practice, environmental law can be considered a relatively new specialty area.

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Entertainment and Media Law In this specialization, students prepare to practice law in music, television, film, and other creative industries. Doctor of Philosophy in Law The PhD in Law is ideal for JD graduates who wish to pursue academic research, scholarship, and teaching at the postsecondary level. Doctor of Juridical Science The SJD degree is a research-focused program designed for students interested in performing legal research and writing in preparation for leadership roles in public positions or legal scholarship.


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Doctor of Comparative Law The D. Research Methodology Students are able to analyze issues, develop informed plans of inquiry, conduct research, and make data-driven recommendations. Legal Expertise Students develop an advanced understanding of legal issues, theory, and the legal system alongside critical reasoning skills. There were no legal rules as such, and the facts of each case determined whether a legal action existed. Gradually, legal reasoning in civil law became more rule-based, as legal scholars and jurists formulated legal definitions and propositions.

However, since the 19 th century, the common law system replaced the forms of action with doctrinal law such as contracts and torts. With the rise of the regulatory state, the interpretation and application of legal rules in legislation also became prominent. Together, common law reasoning and statutory interpretation form the bedrock of what law students today typically learn in law school. In view of the modern rule-based nature of law, law has often been compared with games governed by clear and identifiable rules, such as chess.

Writers on the subject of legal reasoning have typically viewed legal rules as much more complex than the rules of chess because of the broad universe that the law occupies. Professor Frederick Schauer noted that:. All of the moves of a game of chess can be found in the rules of chess, but not all of the moves in legal argument and legal decision-making can be found in the rules of law.

Similarly, it has been observed that legal rules are more flexible than the rules of chess in view of the greater number of permutations in organising legal rules and facts to reach a decision:. The complexity of legal reasoning is also demonstrated by the fact that different judges can have diverse plausible views on the same legal issue.

While the Speluncean Explorers case mentioned in the Introduction is fictional, dissenting judgments are issued by judges from time to time in the real world. To understand the likely impact of AI on legal reasoning in the future, it is useful first to consider how AI has affected the game of chess in the past 60 years or so. Although the rules of chess are far less complex than legal rules, chess and law share a common characteristic in that chess players, as well as lawyers and judges, have to evaluate, reason and make decisions based on the information available.

In chess, such information is presented through the configuration of the pieces and pawns on the chessboard; in law, such information is obtained through the facts of the case and the relevant legal materials such as precedent cases and academic commentary.

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Chess players also refer to relevant materials for instance, records of games played previously and chess books before the game to help them in the decision-making process over the chessboard. What is notable is that before the advent of computers, chess players did not have a machine to tell them what the good or bad moves in a given position may be. These moves had to be worked out through a process of analysis, trial-and-error and experience, much like what any lawyer has to do in the practice of law.

Today, any chess player with a computer can easily turn on a chess engine to find good moves and detect bad moves, some of which will even confound the strongest chess players in the world. This process was not a straightforward one. As with many human endeavours, it took years of experimentation before the correct formula was found. With quicker hardware and improved programming over the next few decades, Type A programs overtook Type B ones such that by the s, they were able to defeat strong chess players. But the tables were soon overturned in the rematch in , when he lost to a much-improved version of Deep Blue by just one point.

A similar revolution is likely to occur in the legal industry.