Cities Journal

You Can Become A Lawyer Without A Law Degree


‘Business Insider’ originally published this great opportunity for aspiring lawyers.

A small minority of the thousands of those who take yearly state bar exams to practice law do not have a law degree and haven’t even stepped foot into a law school, as the New York Times pointed out in a recent article. These lucky few complete legal apprenticeships rather than obtain expensive J.D.s.

The apprenticeships, still available as an option in only several states, are referred to as ‘law office study’ and the participants are called ‘law readers’. Those who choose law office study avoid the debt of their counterparts who pay law school tuition to receive their law degrees, reported The Times. They also gain experience as members of law offices, where they get the chance to work in courtrooms and with clients, rather than studying in classrooms.

But the few who take that other route also face their own difficulties. They are searching on their own for a supervisor, who wants to and has time to mentor them, and competing for jobs with those who have freshly graduated from law schools.

In Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and California, aspiring lawyers can complete law apprenticeships, receiving on-the-job training under the guidance of mentors, instead of studying law at a university for three years. New York, Maine, and Wyoming require apprenticeships to be paired with law school.

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