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.

Diane Aqui, Esq.

(Class of 2001)
Empire College gave me the opportunity to earn a Juris Doctorate while still working full time in my “first” career as an engineer. The professors are all practicing attorneys and judges and it is clear that they love what they do---guiding, teaching and mentoring a new group of potential lawyers, who one day will be their peers and practice alongside them in the legal community. I think one of my favorite cases since I graduated in 2001 was against a former Empire professor and I walked away with a win!

Andrew Conway, Esq.

(Class of 2014)
I decided to go to law school after interning for the Diversion program for the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office while I was in college. Empire provided me with friends who became colleagues, and Professors who became the Judges I appear in front of today. I have always wanted to work with the law and youth and I now manage a Dependency contract for Mendocino County, which has become my dream career as I get to do the exact job I wanted when I decided to go to law school. I definitely have my dream job thanks to Empire and their exceptional professors.

James V. Sansone, Esq.

(Class of 2006)
I picked Empire College because I had to juggle between family obligations and a fulltime job. Empire was the only option that allowed me to effectively manage my work and family obligations and still pursue a law degree. Thanks to Empire, I was able to pass the bar exam on my first try and begin a new, exciting, and lucrative legal career that I love.