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How to Get a JD Degree

by Hal Bartle, Demand Media

    A JD degree is a Juris Doctor degree. Juris Doctor degrees are first level, or basic, law degrees that law students receive after successfully completing the required course work. A JD program could be a full-time program, or a part-time program. Full-time programs are usually day division programs that last three years, and part-time programs can occur in the day or the evening, and regularly last four years. It takes approximately seven to eight years of total higher education to obtain a JD degree.

    Step 1

    Obtain a bachelor's degree. All law schools require that applicants first obtain a bachelor's degree. There is no specific undergraduate course work required to be admitted to law school, but a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree is necessary. A high grade point average is looked upon favorably by law school admissions officers.

    Step 2

    Create a profile with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The Law School Admission Council provides services to students that helps streamline the process of applying to law school. Most law school applications require undergraduate transcripts, an application form, your Law School Admission Test score, a personal statement and letters of recommendation. These documents are collected by the LSAC and transmitted to the law schools to which you apply. Register with the LSAC in your junior year of college.

    Step 3

    Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). You must register to take the LSAT through the LSAC website. You should take the LSAT in the beginning of your senior year of college so that you have time to complete your law school applications by their respective deadlines. The LSAT contains four sections on three topics: logic games, logical reasoning and reading comprehension. A high score on the LSAT will improve your chances of getting accepted into the law school you want to attend.

    Step 4

    Complete the law school curriculum. The law school curriculum is usually between 84 and 88 credit hours depending on your law school, and the credit hours must be completed in three or four years depending on whether you are a full-time or part-time student. There are few required courses in law school, and many electives to choose from, which allows you to experiment with, and become exposed to, a variety of areas of law. Typical required classes are torts, contracts, criminal law, property, civil procedure, constitutional law and evidence.

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    About the Author

    Hal Bartle has been writing professionally since 2009. He has been published on various websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Saint Joseph's University and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law.

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