In order to practice law in the United States, immigration lawyers earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an accredited program. This three-year program follows the completion of their undergraduate degree. In order to complete this degree program, the completion of a research thesis or dissertation, as well as comprehensive exams, is required. Most students complete internships in order to obtain practical experience in a specialized field, such as immigration law.
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Juris Doctorate Programs with Concentration in Immigration Law
A J.D. program requires three years of full-time enrollment in an accredited law school and a bachelor's degree. Law school admissions are highly competitive, and students complete the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in order to be considered for acceptance. Students pass comprehensive examinations in order to graduate.
The curriculum for a J.D. program is very structured and incorporates coursework in different areas, such as dispute resolution, legal research, contracts, ethics and interviews. Students may specialize in a specific area during the final two years, including immigration law. Some course topics for immigration law training are:
- Immigrant rights
- Visa processes
All practicing lawyers have to be licensed by their respective states by passing the bar examination and often the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The MPRE is required as part of the bar exam in 48 states and other U.S. districts. Immigration lawyers complete a varying number of continuing education hours in order to maintain state licensure. Many workshops are available through law associations, government agencies and employers to keep legal counselors up-to-date on the latest legal changes and case law issues. Immigration law training is continuous in order for attorneys to do their best work. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) sponsors an annual national conference, along with regular regional meetings by individual chapters. Members of AILA receive business management support, current news alerts, research resources and networking opportunities. Additionally, numerous publications are readily available.
The Juris Doctor degree program lasts three years and encompasses various aspects of law training. Under the concentration of immigration law, students will intern while taking courses on immigrant rights.