The Juris Doctorate (JD) degree, also referred to as the doctor of jurisprudence, has the function of providing law students with primary preparation (and prerequisite) before they take the bar exam and get the licensure to practice law. It is more of a professional law degree than a research one, as the Juris Doctor acquires extensive and specialized knowledge of the legal system and develops their skills in legal analysis and writing, public speeches, trial procedures, and more.
After graduating from a law school with a JD degree, you will be able to pursue one of the most lucrative career paths and work as, for example, a judge, a lawyer, a professor, or a consultant. As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of a lawyer in 2019 was almost $123,000. It is an impressive figure, being a few times higher than the average national salary for all the other jobs.
Interestingly, now you do not have to attend all the classes at a brick-and-mortar university. You can easily find an online law school that will make it possible for you to study without leaving home, which can be useful for various reasons – a busy schedule, being a parent, or staying safe at home during the pandemic.
The Requirements for Students of Most Online Law Schools
If you want to complete legal education, the requirements depend on the law degree level you are trying to get. It takes four years for students to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree from an online school of law, and students can find excellent, completely online programs to achieve that. Without this degree, you will not be able to get an online Master’s and, furthermore, a Juris Doctor’s degree and take the bar exam.
While working on their Master’s degree, students of online law schools mostly explore a chosen field. It is a crucial step forward from just having a Bachelor’s degree, but it is still not enough to sit for the bar exam, which is essential to become a licensed lawyer. The highest law degree students can have is a JD. It is obligatory to get it for anyone who wants to become a lawyer. However, not every online law school demands a Master’s degree from those who want to get a JD – sometimes, only a Bachelor’s is enough.
What is more, you need to keep in mind that the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is also necessary to start education in this field, including online law schools. It can be required even when applying for a Master’s program and certainly will be obligatory for students interested in JD programs.
The Reasons for Getting a JD in an Online Law School
Students can be in various life circumstances. For some of them, relocating to a new city is not a problem, and it can even be a good reason to finally move out of their parent’s homes and start a new life. On the other hand, some students find it problematic because they want to keep their job or need to take care of their family while earning a law degree. Thanks to online programs, you can get a college education in a very flexible way and do not have to resign from pursuing your dreams despite any challenges.
There are many advantages of online learning than you will not get in the case of getting an on-campus degree. For instance, in this case, you can usually meet with lower tuition rates. Furthermore, you can save even more money thanks to the lack of the costs associated with commuting or moving closer to the law school.
Apart from that, online programs provide asynchronous courses, so even the busiest students can try to fit them into their schedules. Also, it does not exclude people who cannot leave their homes too often, due to, for example, having a baby, taking care of a sick family member, being disabled, etc. In the case of online law programs, you can continue working on your JD even if there are such unfavorable circumstances like a pandemic.
The Benefits of Being a Juris Doctor
Here are some of the benefits for law students who graduate from JD programs(also online ones):
- Doctoral-degree level of expertise. Having a doctorate, a JD can meet or even exceed the educational requirements for legal professionals. What is more, you will be provided with helpful expertise associated with a complex discipline or system.
- Meeting one of the requirements to take the bar exam. In most states, having a JD is obligatory to take the bar exam. You cannot apply for state licensure without passing it, so it is a very important condition.
- Becoming a part of the professional community. Thanks to law programs, also online ones, you will have a lot of opportunities to network with other students and legal professionals. With such connections, it may be much easier to look for jobs and clients after graduation.
- High salary perspectives. By choosing online law programs, you can expect many lucrative job opportunities when you graduate. With the future high salary in mind, it is easier to find the motivation to study, even if it is a very demanding field.
- Various practice areas. As the industry is segmented, law experts can pursue many specialty areas, such as family law, constitutional law, criminal law, insurance law, and many more. Take into account that the more comprehensive knowledge you offer, the more clients you can attract!
How to Choose from So Many Online Law Programs?
There are numerous online law programs to select from, and you may feel overwhelmed with so many options. To help you with that a little bit, we have prepared a list of what to pay attention too while browsing the online law courses:
- Program structure. Bear in mind that some of the programs may be hybrid, not entirely online – it means that in some cases, you will have to come to the on-site campus at times. However, it is not necessarily a drawback because it can increase your chances of meeting the accreditation standards of the American Bar Association (ABA).
- Benefits and specializations. While browsing the offer of a particular online law program, always pay attention to the available benefits. What is more, make sure that it includes the specialization you are most interested in. For example, if you want to be specialized in cases associated with divorces, adoption, establishing paternity, etc., check if your chosen online program includes family law.
- The time necessary to graduate. Every course can be different, also in terms of the time needed to graduate. Consider if you are interested in the fastest online doctoral programs. They will be more intense but allow you to finish them faster. Or you prefer to take your time to acquire the knowledge more gradually on a longer course.
Job Opportunities With a Degree in Law
With a degree in law after graduating from an online program and passing the bar exam, you can work as, for example:
- A lawyer. Having this job, you will offer legal counseling and representation to organizations and individuals who have to deal with legal problems. Lawyers need to understand the laws in particular circumstances to provide their clients with relevant advice concerning their legal rights and obligations. This work also includes a lot of research, analysis, preparing legal documents, and making public speeches at court.
- A hearing officer or a judge. These specialists need to perform various responsibilities, such as negotiating, conducting hearings, and making legal decisions. They need to have excellent analytic skills and evaluate evidence, compose legal opinions, and more.
- An arbitrator, a conciliator, or a mediator. The role of these specialists is to help disputants to find a solution to their conflict without going to court. It usually includes meeting with them to learn about their needs and concerns and explaining the arbitration procedure to them. To find the best compromise, it is often necessary to analyze relevant documents and laws, interview witnesses, and prepare such agreements to satisfy both sides as much as possible. It is worth knowing that conciliators and arbitrators are entitled to offer binding decisions, but mediators can’t.
- Postsecondary teacher. After graduating from an online JD program, you can also find a job as a university professor or college professor. You will be preparing resources, teaching lessons, mentoring students, and even designing the whole programs (online or on-site). Meanwhile, you will be able to contribute to the field’s development by producing and publishing research papers online.
Overall, an online JD program will provide you with many benefits. You will be able to expand your knowledge and get new qualifications without even leaving your home, usually at a lower price than an on-site course. Thanks to an online course in a law school, it will be easier for you to find a fascinating job with an impressive salary, including a lawyer, a judge, a hearing officer, or an arbitrator. If you feel that this could be your career path and you want to help people with legal issues, choose one of the available online law programs and start it as soon as possible!