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Is a Two-Year Law School Program a Good Idea?

Why spend three years in law school when you can finish in two?

That’s the question law school students are asking themselves now that more schools are offering accelerated programs. Read the schools’ marketing materials and the abbreviated J.D. programs sound almost too good to be true–smaller class sizes, less expensive and an expedited path to the workforce.

But the truth is, it’s not that simple. Two-year J.D. programs might make sense for some students and be a bad idea for others.

Here’s a breakdown:

Smaller Class Sizes

Smaller classes give students more opportunities to interact with their professors, but less chances to make connections and network with classmates. Often, other students will become your study partners while you’re studying the law and your business partners (or at least a great source for referrals) after you graduate. Limiting the number of students you come into contact with isn’t always a good idea because it limits the size of your professional network upon graduation.

On the other hand, if you’re a student who has already been in the workforce, you might already have a professional network. It might be more important for you to get more face time with your professor so you can quickly grasp legal concepts and move onto what comes next.

The takeaway is this: Smaller class sizes can be an advantage for students who already have professional experience and networks and a disadvantage for younger students.

Savings

With law school tuition skyrocketing and the job market remaining challenging, saving money is always a good idea.

However, not all two-year programs are money-savers. Some schools charge nearly the same price for their two-year J.D. program as their three-year program. So while you might save money on living expenses, you won’t necessarily save on tuition.

The takeaway: Every law school student should do whatever they can to save money, but look carefully at how much a two-year J.D. will really save you.

A Quicker Route to the Workforce

The quicker you earn your J.D., the quicker you can start looking for jobs. But the trade off is that you won’t have as many opportunities to get real-world experience through clinics and externships–both of which make you more desirable to law firms.

The takeaway: The two-year J.D. is good for students who already have jobs lined up, but not necessarily a good idea for students who need to gain experience.

 

About the Author

Sumita Dalal is the Founder and CEO of FindMyLawTutor, the largest and most trusted website and online portal that connects law students with law tutors for success in law school. Whether preparing for the LSAT, are currently a law student or are studying for the bar exam, FindMyLawTutor makes finding a law school tutor fast and easy.

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