If you’re considering joining the legal field, you’ve likely come across the term “JD.” To learn more about this term, read on! This guide will go over one of the most popular legal degrees pursued, a JD, and how it can be used.
A Juris Doctor (JD) is a three-year professional graduate degree required to become a licensed lawyer. It signifies an advanced level of expertise and specialization as the highest degree that can be achieved in the legal field.
Students often spend months of hard work perfecting their applications to ensure they stand out!
You should know what you’re getting yourself into by pursuing a JD! They typically take three arduous years to complete as a full-time student and are incredibly demanding.
However, there are several part-time JD programs that take four years to complete. These programs offer the same curriculums and opportunities as full-time JDs but have more flexibility!
The majority of individuals who complete a JD degree go on to work as practicing lawyers. For graduates seeking to practice law within the United States, it's also necessary to gain admission to the Bar in the specific jurisdiction you plan to practice.
Alternatively, many law school graduates choose not to pursue licensure or leverage their degree in different career paths, including:
Lawyers can eventually also become judges without any further education. However, this typically involves over a decade of experience working as an attorney and is a highly revered and selective career.
Some JD holders may choose to become mediators instead of lawyers. Mediators are neutral third parties that help resolve conflicts to reach agreeable settlements.
Jury consultants assist attorneys in identifying and evaluating potential biases, attitudes, and perceptions of prospective jurors. Through careful research and consideration, their goal is to ensure the right and least biased jurors are chosen.
Legal secretaries play an integral role in any law firm by helping with administrative tasks to ensure smooth operation.
While paralegals often only hold degrees or certificates in paralegal studies, JD students are more than qualified to pursue this role. Paralegals work closely with attorneys and provide them with a range of support services.
You may also pursue a teaching career with a JD, but will need to obtain higher education to teach at the postsecondary level.
Now you know what careers are open to Juris Doctor graduates, book a call with a law school admissions expert to secure your spot at law school today!
While schools offered bachelor’s degrees in law in the past, the main types of law degrees besides a JD are master’s, such as a Master’s of Law (LLM), and doctoral degrees, such as a Doctor or Juridical Science (JSD). These degrees allow students to gain more in-depth knowledge of a specific specialty.
For any remaining inquiries, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about this legal degree.
A JD is unlike any other degree. It is a graduate-level degree that offers you specialized training in law and valuable experience to prepare you for your career. In this way, it can be compared to an MD, as an MD also offers advanced training in medicine and considerable hands-on experience.
But, MD students must also complete residencies to practice medicine. Lawyers can begin practicing right after their JDs, assuming they pass the bar exam!
No, a JD is not equivalent to a PhD. PhDs require a research, independent study, and thesis component that JDs do not. While PhD holders are considered doctors, JD holders are not.
No, a JD is much more extensive than a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite to a JD.
Yes, a JD is considered a professional doctorate degree.
Getting into a JD program will be difficult. It will require you to write the LSAT, maintain a high GPA, and submit a standout application to admissions committees that have seen thousands of applications. Once you’re in a JD program, the difficulty will only increase. These programs are also extremely expensive!
Considering these factors, pursuing a career as a lawyer ensures all of this time, effort, and money is not spent in vain. Lawyers are well-paid and can often handle their student debt when working full-time. However, if you pursue another job, such as a mediator, you will not make as much and may struggle with your student loans.
Additionally, you do not need a JD to pursue other legal careers! There are other cheaper and less competitive options that would serve you better.
Bearing in mind the high costs and competitiveness of these programs, it’s essential you carefully consider if this degree is right for you! After going through this guide, you should be able to come to a decision easier!