Whether training to become a criminal lawyer, family lawyer, or corporate lawyer, an undergraduate college degree plus an additional three years of law school are required. In a typical Juris Doctor (J.D.) program, students take on a heavy course load along with clerkships, internships, and supervised clinical work with actual clients. Schools sometimes allow J.D. students to specialize in an area like business law, criminal justice, or international law. J.D. programs usually need to be accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).
After graduating from a law school program, aspiring lawyers need to get licensed. This involves completing written bar exams in the state where one wishes to practice. Practicing lawyers must also complete continuing education courses.
Common concepts taught through law school courses include:
- Critical thinking and reasoning
- Legal research and writing
- Advocacy and presentation skills
- Case law
- Statutory law
List of Courses
Legal Writing Course
This course covers the fundamentals of legal analysis, and objective and persuasive legal writing. Writing and editing skills for briefs, memoranda, letters of intent, and contracts are emphasized in this course, along with other transactional texts. Law students learn how to draft argument-winning documents, sway clients and bolster their critical thinking. Legal writing courses are often required in the first year of a law program.
Constitutional Law Course
This course teaches students to dissect hypothetical cases while looking at legislative history. Law students learn how to apply and construct the United States Constitution toward federal and state governments. Colleague collaboration, theoretical readings and class discussion are also a key part of this course.
In this class, students learn the art of negotiation, effective communication, and dispute resolution with a focus on problem solving. Students are taught practical skills and techniques needed for successful negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and the differences between them. These classes usually utilize lectures, interactive exercises, in-depth class discussions, and guest speakers.
Professional Responsibility Course
In the second year of law school, students usually take a professional responsibility course to examine anticipated relationships between their clients, colleagues and the judicial system. A look at the varying state rules for professional conduct, based on the American Bar Association, is also a part of this course. Professors cover the rules binding lawyers and the ethical dilemmas lawyers often face.
Evidence Law Course
In this course students learn how to examine real and demonstrative evidence needed for trials and evidentiary hearings. Students learn the Federal Rules of Evidence composed of character evidence, common behavior, impeachments, relevance, burdens of proof, presumptions, and judicial notice.