How Long Does It Take To Complete a Law Degree?

Law DegreeLaw school is one of the most important and life-impacting decisions that you’ll ever make in your entire life, and therefore it is necessary to be aware of how long it takes to complete a law degree. Getting a law degree is a strenuous and time consuming ordeal, which you will be devoting a significant portion of your life. Law school includes competitive courses, difficult exams, and serious obligations. The process of becoming a lawyer does not end at law school. Upon completing law school, students are also faced with their state’s bar exam. For these reasons, many students prefer to finish law school as quickly as possible. The below information will provide you with what to expect in terms of how long does it take to complete a law degree.

The Most Common Number of Years for a J.D.

According to Berkley Law Center, most full time students can expect to earn their law degree in three years. This is the most common amount of time for completing a law degree as cited by the American Bar Association. At most law schools, students that choose to complete their degree full time and in three years will be barred from working off campus. This ordinance is issued to ensure that students fully commit to their studies and are able to work towards their degree in the allotted amount of time.

The benefits of completing a law degree in the regular three years is that it allows students to complete vital internships over summer, it helps them build a strong network, and it also provides them with the ability to take their time understanding the information and fully gaining the education that they need to succeed. However, as with anything, there are also disadvantages to getting a law degree in three years. It means more time spent on education, it can push you out of other opportunities in the market, and it leads to less time working towards paying off student loans, which can be very hefty.

The Accelerated Two Year J.D.

Some schools like Pepperdine, Northwestern, Drexel, Dayton, and Arizona State allow students to attain their J.D. in two years. These options are called an “Accelerated J.D.” and take 24 months to complete. The main reason that many law schools have yet to institute this type of degree completion option is that it is especially taxing upon the student, according to the Atlantic. Students that choose this option take classes during summer months, they have a heavy course load, and they miss out on important internship opportunities.

Yet, while this degree option may seem to be an unpopular option, it does have its benefits. Students are able to enter the job market earlier than with a traditional degree, they can fully dedicate themselves to their students, and they are able to pay back their student loans earlier.

Related Resource: Joint MBA

Tuition – Is There a Difference?

For most students, when considering a regular J.D. or an accelerated two-year program, many contemplate whether or not there is a difference in tuition. How long does it take to get a law degree does not make any difference on the tuition that one pays. The reason behind this is that students are still required to take the same amount of units, and therefore, they will pay the same tuition.


Overall, when it comes to a law degree, students need to weigh a number of factors. The best way to decide what is best for you is to consider how long you want to spend in law school, what your career goals are, and whether or not you will still be able to maximize your experience regardless of what choice you will make, and hopefully this answers the question of how long does it take to complete a law degree.