Juris Doctor Degree: What Is a JD Degree?

July 25, 2019

Juris Doctor Degree: What Is a JD Degree?

If you’ve been thinking about going to law school but need some more information about the degree lawyers earn in the United States, we’ve got the details for you! Here you can learn more about what the degree is, the kinds of course work it takes to earn it, what types of careers it makes possible, and how to get your JD.


What Is It?
The JD degree is a professional degree and is the law degree in the United States. Usually, law school applicants have a bachelor’s degree, but there are exceptions. At Empire School of Law, you can apply with only 60 hours of college credit, so you don’t need a bachelor’s degree. Earning this degree typically takes three to five years depending on a variety of factors. For example, Empire’s program takes four years because the classes are offered in the evening so that students can continue their day jobs while they earn the degree.


What Courses Will I Take?
Once law students receive a foundation in legal research from introductory courses such as Legal Research and Writing, they progress through their yearly required courses. First year courses introduce students to various aspects and fields of law, so classes usually include Criminal Law, Contracts, Torts, and similar topics. As students enter their second, third, and fourth years, the courses explore these topics in more depth while educating students on other important areas such as civil procedure, corporate law, wills and trusts, and more. Along the way, law students learn many other topics and gain experience through hands-on learning opportunities such as Moot Court and participation in law clinics where they apply their legal skills while helping clients.


What Types of Careers Can I Get?
Graduates of JD programs often go on to take the bar examination for their state and practice law. There are many kinds of law to practice, and there are even career options beyond practicing law. Practicing attorneys can be public defenders, criminal defense attorneys, or more. They can focus on one of many fields of law, such as: corporate, civil rights, immigration, or environmental law. For JD students who want to pursue a less traditional path, there are many career options where the degree will be useful even if not essential. For example, some graduates enter politics and public service, others work as educators for the next generation of attorneys. Probably the most common alternative career path is business; these JD holders sometimes earn an MBA as well, and they work on retainer for large companies and handle issues related to compliance and regulation.


How Can I Get a Juris Doctor Degree?
Once you have at least 60 hours of college credit, you can apply to Empire College School of Law. Our program does not require an LSAT score upon admission, and we offer a four-year JD program that makes it possible to earn your degree while working a day job. You can prepare for your law career by taking evening classes and learning from distinguished faculty in a program with a strong reputation. Learn more about Empire’s Juris Doctor Degree now.

One of the things that I appreciate about going to Empire College was that the training was so hands-on.

Yesenia Avalos

Medical Assistant Coordinator, West County Health Centers
Empire Law School provided the instruction, guidance, and motivation that I needed to pass the California State Bar Examination on the first try, despite the rigors of managing a full-time career and family commitments in parallel. I would absolutely recommend Empire Law School to anyone looking for relevant and masterful instruction in the subjects of law.

Chris Van Nuys

Operations Manager, LEMO USA, Inc. (Class of 2019)

By assisting clients at the Self-Help Access Center, students learn about law, human nature, society and challenges people face on a daily basis.

Michelle Brown

Empire Law Graduate

Empire is perfect for individuals seeking a practical, cost-effective legal education taught by committed practitioners. Empire enabled me to grow and learn through experiences with the Superior Court’s Office and the District Attorney’s office as a student and then launch into a rewarding career serving as General Counsel for American Home Shield >Corporation, The ServiceMaster Franchise Group, Graham Packaging Company, and currently, Evergreen Packaging.

Mark Lightfoot

General Counsel, Evergreen Packaging

Walking across the graduation stage already employed with a full-time job was very gratifying.

Nancy Clark

Paralegal, Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc.

I had a lot of friends go through Empire who had a great experience. If you want a solid IT foundation to get out in the workforce, it’s the place to be.

Blake Buchanan

Service Desk Analyst, Davita Medical Group