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How Long is Law School?

Published July 7, 2017

It depends, though the most common degree (Juris Doctor) takes three years to complete. If you’re thinking “law school,” you’re probably thinking J.D.

However, law school doesn’t end there. There are a number of other programs that take varying lengths of time to complete. If you already have a J.D. or want to keep studying law after your J.D., you should definitely be aware of these additional programs.

Here’s a quick overview of the popular J.D., and some less common law programs you might not know about.

Juris Doctor - J.D.

The J.D. most commonly takes three years to complete. If you want to be a lawyer in the United States, this is the program for you.

This degree is held by lawyers as well as other professions that require an understanding of law.

Master of Laws - LL.M.

An LL.M. program generally takes one year to complete. The LL.M. is designed for Juris Doctors who wish to delve deeper into a particular legal discipline or for internationally trained lawyers who also want to gain that specialty.

2-Year J.D. for Internationally Trained Lawyers

As the name suggests, this particular type of J.D. is only a two year program. It’s specifically designed for students who already hold a law degree from a jurisdiction outside of the U.S.

Dual Degrees & Interdisciplinary Programs

You can combine a J.D. program with certain Masters programs to manage your education more efficiently. The time investment will depend on your chosen degree and program structure.

The most common interdisciplinary programs include:

  • J.D./MSW
  • J.D./MBA
  • J.D./Pharm.D.
  • J.D./MA
  • J.D./MS
  • J.D./MUP
  • J.D./PhD


Fellowships are available for law graduates who want to take time to focus on research. Most fellowships are granted for one year.

So, depending on your program of choice, law school can last anywhere from one to three+ years. If you’re currently researching Juris Doctor programs, now is also the time to look into an LL.M. or interdisciplinary program if that’s your goal.

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Guest blogger Ashley Wilson-Rew is Content Strategist & SEM at protocol 80, Inc.


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