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The Undergraduate Law Degree

Updated on January 17, 2012

The cost to attend a respectable law school for three years hovers around $150,000. Those who attend a four year school-at night- law school hovers around $50-60,000. Hey, we are NOT even talking about the textbooks that easily add thousands. A recent study shows that the high price of law school means higher legal fees to clients and fewer lawyers. New attorney's start indebted heavily and much of their salary goes to pay it

The most ridiculous element of law school is that after you have made through and have your Juris Doctor degree, you still have to take a bullshit Bar exam which is nothing more than income generation at $5-600 exam fee. Many attorney's hate having to pay annual Bar fees to be a member, if they don't, then they cannot practice. Many are calling to the BAR exam to be eliminated, the logic being is , that if you graduated, you have already taken many exams and have passed, so why do you have to do it all again? Other degrees do not have this requirement.

Some are now calling for a undergrad law degree to reduce costs and once obtained, take the Bar, if required. The State could also require the undergrad to do a one year apprenticeship to obtain hands-on experience. Thus, such a program would have the student focus on law classes in their last two years of a four year school. Many professionals agree that two years is plenty of time to understand the essentials of law. The one year apprenticeship would, in effect, take place of the last year of law school, which many find a waste of time (the core courses in law are always covered in the first two years). Allowing the undergrad method eliminates the costly law school tuition (remember, all law schools from the most renowned to the small ones ALL teach the same core subjects, cover the same topics etc., the only difference in them is their reputation that many firms put a high value on when hiring).

For some reason, the US is resistant to this, while in England, it has been done for a long while. If one reduces the cost to train an attorney, legal fees will drop allowing more middle income people to access them. Becoming an attorney through an undergrad program, instead of a graduate program, creates a better rounded attorney because the college does not simply focus only on law, but many other disciplines.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Yes, the British system may be one the US should use.

    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 5 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      well written PerryA

      In England we have core subjects. Equity builds on Land, and Land builds on Contract, so we spread the compulsory subjects over three years with options in Years Two and Three.

      Some Universities are now combining the LLB with a Legal Practice Course (necessary to become a lawyer). Some also let you have a Masters degree as well. After your academics you still need "hands on" experience, usually at low pay.

      Also possible is to come up the paralegal route where you work 5 days a week and by distance learning or evening classes study everything you need. You top out as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, sit one more exam, and you are a solicitor.

      Thank you for your thoughtful piece on the American system.