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Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Law School and a College Degree in a Single Bundle?
If someone told you the path to an undergraduate and juris doctorate was only six years long, would you buy a ticket? If you'd just graduated from high school, would you be certain enough that you wanted to practice law? Certain enough that you could handle a rigorous, uninterrupted course load for six long years?
If your answer is "maybe", you may want to read on.
The dual degree program is nothing new. Universities across the prestige spectrum have been offering JD/MBA programs, interdisciplinary double-majors, undergraduate-MBA degrees and more. Students with clear goals from the outset lock into these programs, knowing it will speed their passage to the professional world while giving them the option to coalesce their learning options.
Typically, law degrees involve three years of full-time education. With the downturn in the legal job market over the past decade, law schools have begun to scramble to find new ways to keep students streaming into classrooms.
The so-called 3+3 programs incorporate three years of undergraduate study with the three-year law degree. Some universities with attached law schools will guarantee students entry into the JD program, provided they succeed in the undergraduate program.
Arguably, the legal job market has rebounded-at least in part. But law school admissions numbers and LSAT-takers are still down, making 3+3 programs enticing for universities, law schools, and some hopeful lawyers. Enrollees would also save a year in undergraduate tuition.
Purists will argue that the rigorous JD should be a stand-alone program. Others note that there are a number of undergraduate fields of study, which prepare students well for a legal education. Through that prism of thought, the dual programs may prove to be a more popular choice in the future.
It's a concept that's been slow to blossom, and continues to unfold sluggishly. As it stands, the ABA does not keep record of available dual degree programs in the U.S., but experts put the number around 20.
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