Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law (such as politics or academic) or business. It includes:
In addition to the qualifications required to become a practicing lawyer, legal education also encompasses higher degrees, such as doctorates, for more advanced academic study.
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree earned for a graduate course of study or major that in theory, depending on the location and the topic of study, is supposed to last three to six years, but can range more widely in duration, depending on ability and diligence of the student, whether or not the student balances work and other life commitments while attending school, the student's existing level of education, the availability of classes, and school policies. In some cases, it may also be the name of a second graduate degree, such as a Master of Legislative Law (L.L.B.), Master of Law (B.L.), Master of Civil Law, the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Philosophy, or the Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree which are normally offered after a first Graduate/Bachelor's Degree.
During the Renaissance, those who received a doctorate, upon passing their final examinations, were decorated with berried branches of bay, an ancient symbol of highest honor. From this ancient custom derives the French word baccalauréat (from the Latin bacca, a berry, and laureus, of the bay laurel), and, by modification, the term "bachelor" in referring to one who holds a university degree.
A law school (also known as a school of law or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education.
The oldest civil law faculty in Canada offering law degrees was established in 1848 at McGill University in Montreal, and the oldest common law faculty in Canada offering law degrees was established in 1883 at Dalhousie University in Halifax. The typical law degree required to practice law in Canada is now the Juris Doctor, which requires previous university coursework and is similar to the first law degree in the United States, except there is some scholarly content in the coursework (such as an academic research paper required in most schools). The programs consist of three years, and have similar content in their mandatory first year courses. Beyond first year and the minimum requirements for graduation, course selection is elective with various concentrations such as business law, international law, natural resources law, criminal law, Aboriginal law, etc. Some schools, however, have not switched from LL.B. to the J.D. – one notable university that still awards the LL.B is McGill University.
An academic degree is a college or university diploma, often associated with a title and sometimes associated with an academic position, which is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree. The most common degrees awarded today are associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Most higher education institutions generally offer certificates and several programs leading to the obtainment of a Master of Advanced Studies, which is predominantly known as a Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées under its original French name.
An admission to practice law, also called admission to the bar in some jurisdictions, is acquired when a lawyer receives a license to practice law. Becoming a lawyer is a widely varied process around the world. Common to all jurisdictions are requirements of age and competence; some jurisdictions also require documentation of citizenship or immigration status. However, the most varied requirements are those surrounding the preparation for the license, whether it includes obtaining a law degree, passing an exam, or serving in an apprenticeship. In English, admission is also called a law license. Basic requirements vary from country to country:
An attorney at law (or attorney-at-law) in the United States is a practitioner in a court of law who is legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. Alternative terms include counselor (or counsellor-at-law) and lawyer. As of April 2011, there were 1,225,452 licensed attorneys in the United States.
The United States legal system does not draw a distinction between lawyers who plead in court and those who do not, unlike many other common law jurisdictions (such as those of the United Kingdom which distinguishes between solicitors who do not plead in court and the barristers of the English & Welsh system and advocates of the Scottish system who do plead in court), and civil law jurisdictions (such as Italy and France, which distinguish between advocates and civil law notaries). An additional factor which differentiates the American legal system from other countries is that there is no delegation of routine work to notaries public.