If you want to become a bankruptcy lawyer, there are many colleges and universities in the United States that provide law degree programs that include bankruptcy concepts in the curriculum and offer resources for relevant training in the field.
Top 10 Law Schools
In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked these as the best law schools in the country:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and fees (2015-2016)*|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||Private||J.D.||$58,050|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||Private||J.D.||$58,242|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||Private||J.D., LL.M.||$56,274|
|Columbia University||New York, NY||Private||J.D.||$62,700|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||Private||J.D.||$56,916|
|New York University||New York, NY||Private||J.D., LL.M.||$59,330|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||Private||J.D.||$58,918|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||Public||J.D., LL.M.||$48,679 in-state, $52,630 out-of-state|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||Public||J.D.||$53,112 in-state, $56,112 out-of-state|
|University of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA||Public||J.D.||$54,000 in-state, $57,000 out-of-state|
Sources: *U.S. News and World Report
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School Selection Criteria
When choosing between law schools the following tips may help with your decision:
- Depending on the degree you are planning to pursue, try to find schools that offer specialization options in bankruptcy law.
- Look for law schools that have centers devoted to the study of bankruptcy, in addition to hosting bankruptcy-related conferences, workshops and other special events, and sponsoring bankruptcy-related student groups.
- Try to find a school with an active career services department that can assist students in the job search process, from helping them to write a resume to securing and scheduling interviews.
- Make sure that your undergraduate training is sufficient for admission into a J.D. program; for instance, may students complete pre-law courses, while others hold bachelor's degrees in an array of majors, such as political science, English or communications.
Juris Doctor Degree
A Juris Doctor program, which typically can be completed in three years of full-time study, is general in scope but provides students with the knowledge to work in bankruptcy law. In addition to core courses in areas such as criminal law, contracts, legal writing, civil procedure and ethics, J.D. candidates might be able to select some electives that are pertinent to the field of bankruptcy, including corporate reorganization, employee benefits law and secured transactions.
Master of Laws in Bankruptcy and Reorganization
A Master of Laws program in bankruptcy generally takes one year of full-time study, after a student has already completed a Juris Doctor. These specialty programs are designed for students who wish to gain a solid understanding of the many facets of bankruptcy, both in the United States and abroad.
Required courses might include financial services law and compliance, secured transactions, collections and loan workouts, bankruptcy taxation and consumer bankruptcy. Additionally, some LL.M. in Bankruptcy programs allow students to choose areas of specialization, such as general bankruptcy or international and comparative bankruptcy. An LL.M. in Bankruptcy program typically requires completion of a thesis, which allows students to prove their knowledge of bankruptcy, as well as demonstrating their research skills.
As you search for educational institutions that offer training to become a bankruptcy lawyer, you'll want to consider law schools that can support your educational interests in this field through coursework, workshops and related student groups.