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Law School: The Degree

The Juris Doctor (J.D.) is a graduate degree; it normally takes J.D. candidates three years to complete the law school curriculum. Law schools typically require entering students to have a bachelor's degree, but beyond the B.A., there are no specific requirements for admission into law school. Generally, law schools seek applicants who possess the ability to read, research, and write effectively, because these attributes are essential to the study and practice of law. Successful applicants have usually taken a number of undergraduate courses that demonstrate, develop, and engage these abilities.

Many highly-specialized career paths exist within the practice of law, but the J.D. itself provides generalist training. Although certain law schools may be known for their particular programmatic strengths (for example, corporate law, tax law, or public interest law) and range of courses and electives, J.D. candidates are trained as generalists and become specialists by practice. Specialized training typically takes place once a law school graduate accepts employment with a firm, agency, company, or judge.

Dean's Certification at Time of Application: Some law schools require a dean's certification at the time of application if the applicant has an academic and/or disciplinary sanction(s). To request a dean's certification for law school, please register with the Preprofessional Office. You can do so hereIf you are reverted back to this page after logging in, click "here" again. 

ATTENTION ALUMNI/AE MATRICULATING TO LAW SCHOOL FALL 2020:

If you were admitted to a law school that requires a dean's certification for matriculants, please go to the school's admitted students' web page, complete your section of the form, and email it as a pdf attachment to Cindy Cogdill at cfc5@columbia.edu.  You do not need to complete our online registration.

 

Prelaw Listserv/Blog

All students considering a future in the legal profession should sign up for the prelaw listserv.

Instructions can be found on this page.

 

Preprofessional Advising

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