Online Law Degree Programs

Becoming a lawyer or legal professional is a gratifying and lucrative career choice. Helping to uphold local and federal laws, lawyers are natural communicators who excel at presenting their ideas in a comprehensive way. The road to becoming a lawyer is an eventful one but anyone with a passion for law and dedication toward furthering their education to serve others can accomplish the task. In order to become a lawyer, one must complete an LSAT exam to get into law school, at which point you’re equipped with the skills and intel needed to pass the BAR exam and begin practicing law. For those with robust schedules that wish to have control over their coursework, pursuing an online law degree is a great option. 

Luckily, obtaining the undergraduate requirements in order to take the LSAT can be easily accomplished online as well. There are various fields of law that can be explored and practiced, from environmental law to family law. An online law program offers virtual class discussions, online lectures and text for review, and assignments to be completed for a grade. Let’s explore some of the most popular online law degree programs to see if pursuing an online law degree is the right choice for your career aspirations.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Law Degree Online

Completing an online law degree program can be accomplished in as little as three years, but typically takes around four. Different online programs will feature unique requirements to consider when calculating how long it will take, but duration is largely determined by the individual’s schedule. An academic year will typically consist of 48 to 52 weeks, regardless of whether this is distanced or in-person. The biggest difference between an online law program and traditional on-campus program is the amount of examinations. Due to the virtual nature of online degrees, exams are necessary in tracking progress so more tests are to be expected. 

Before choosing a specialization within law, students will be expected to cover the basics of law and foundations for constitutional processes in order to move forward in their legal proficiency. Once the basics have been mastered, students can begin to dive into the intricacies of the legal field they find the most interesting. Let’s explore some of the potential law degrees that can be pursued completely online

Juris Doctorate (JD)

Most who choose to go into law will have the intention of earning a Juris Doctorate (JD). The JD is a professional degree and the highest form of legal education that a law student can accomplish. The JD allows law students the ability to take the BAR exam to begin practicing law. In order to begin pursuing a JD, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in order to take the LSAT. Once the student has passed the LSAT they may apply to a law school approved by the American Bar Association in order to prepare for their JD. Many in law school will choose to dual-major in order to gain more knowledge of select legal areas of interest. 

Obtaining a JD also depends largely on the specific state a student is looking to receive a license to practice law. Pursuing a law degree online doesn’t automatically qualify a student for a JD, in fact only a few states allow online law students to take the BAR exam. While the JD program will vary for each school, those that prefer a streamlined class schedule can expect to complete law school within three years. For those looking to get a JD online, make sure that the state you’re wanting to practice law has approved this program through the American BAR Association.

Master’s of Legal Studies (MLS)

A Masters of Legal Studies degree (MLS) is perfect for those with a passion for law that wish to work closely with lawyers or develop a stronger understanding of legal practices. While a MLS does not allow law students to get a license to practice, it furthers their insight over all legal matters. This can assist in potential legal career opportunities that require strong knowledge of the law and allows online students an alternative option to pursuing a JD. Prerequisites will vary depending on the school, but these online universities will all boast enriching and worthwhile online law degree programs. 

Washington University School of Law – Master of Legal Studies Program

The Washington University School of Law boasts one of the best online law programs in the country. Offering a versatile schedule and comprehensive lectures from experienced professors, students can obtain their Masters in Legal Studies online in as little as a year. Great for those not looking to actively practice law but want to strengthen their legal foothold, students will receive an all-inclusive virtual education surrounding the American justice system and receive the tools needed to apply these legal skills to future career aspirations.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree, no LSAT needed

Pepperdine University Online – Master of Legal Studies Program

Another program that is tailored to non-practicing lawyers that have received a bachelor’s is the Master of Legal Studies program available at Pepperdine University Online. Students can expect to complete the Legal Studies program in as few as 16 months as they develop the legal skills to succeed within any legal environment. With the guidance of ABA-accredited law professors supporting them every step of the way, online law degree students will thrive with the help of Pepperdine. 

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree, no LSAT needed

Grand Canyon University – Masters of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies 

Rooted in fostering a strong knowledge of criminal justice, the Masters of Legal Studies program at Grand Canyon University helps law students immerse themselves in contemporary legal issues. Students will become experts in the legal field with Grand Canyon University’s online program. With classes that focus on crime analysis and strategic legal planning, students will be prepared to assist their communities with valuable legal insight.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree, no LSAT needed

American University – Washington College of Law – Master’s of Legal Studies 

If you’re looking to effectively apply yourself in legal concepts, the online Masters of Legal Studies program at American University’s Washington College of Law is a great choice. Perfect for those looking for specific specializations in law, this online law program offers exciting concentrations such as Health Care Compliance, Technology Cybersecurity, Business, and General MLS. 

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree, no LSAT needed

Master of Laws Programs (LLM)

Sought out by early to mid-level lawyers, a popular and relatively new postgraduate option is enrolling in a Master of Laws program (LLM). Perfect for those looking to establish themselves within the legal field internationally, international law students can prepare for the BAR using a reputable LLM program. This is also a popular option for practicing lawyers looking to specialize in one specific area of law, such as Commercial, Human Rights, or Interdisciplinary law. 

Typically heavily research-based, LLM programs will advance legal education a step further by having students conduct a thesis. This is an internationally-recognized and optional degree for those looking to have a rigorous education and understand all intricacies within a specific legal field. Most online LLM degrees take around 1-2 years of full time courses to complete and will require some form of prior legal degree. When researching a LLM, make sure to focus your efforts on choosing a program for the legal field you wish to advance.

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Potential Careers with a Law Degree

The potential careers for those with a law degree will vary on the type of degree the law student has received. Having a strong knowledge of legal matters is a valuable asset to many career paths, and not solely in legal environments. From providing legal insight within a real estate decision to discussing custody in a courtroom, the possibilities for those with a law degree are optimistic. Some of the most common careers chosen by those with a law degree include:

Tax Law

Environmental Law

 Real Estate Law

Family Law

Corporate/Business Law

 Prosecutor/Public Defense Attorney

 Public Interest Law

 Legal Consultant

Average Salary with a Law Degree

The average salary for those with a law degree will be largely impacted by the field they decide to pursue opportunities within and certifications they’ve received. Many will seek advanced law degrees such as a Masters, JD, or LLM in order to maximize their resume for profitable legal positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2019 the average salary of lawyers is $122,960 per year, or around $59.11 per hour. Salary expectations will fluctuate with the type of legal degree, area of practice, and years of experience. Some common lawyer salaries include:

Intellectual Property/Patent Lawyer $129,500
Crminal Lawyer $54,000
Tax Lawyer $99,000
Real Estate Lawyer $90,000
Family Lawyer $70,000

Potential Careers with a Law Degree

Pursuing an online law degree is a fulfilling career choice that can lead to a lifetime of gratifying work. With countless online law programs to choose from, it’s never been more accessible to take the steps needed in order to get a law degree and begin a career in the legal field. Whether you want to practice criminal law to help fight criminal injustice or would enjoy defending national parks against illegal environmental hazards, these goals all begin with choosing a reputable university to begin the process of earning a law degree. View a list of colleges today to see which online law program would be best for you and sign up for a newsletter to receive more information soon!