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Overview of a Bachelor’s in Law
A bachelor's degree in legal studies prepares students for an exciting career in the American justice system, with promising job growth and above-average salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment of paralegals and legal assistants to increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026. There may also be an increase in the employment of legal secretaries and other that perform legal research and prepare legal documents.
A bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies (or BS law degree) can also provide foundational knowledge to start you on your way to law school, acting as a pre-law degree, and allow you to further your studies and reach your goals. Legal studies majors will find that, whether they are interested in becoming an FBI agent, a court clerk, a paralegal, a judge, an attorney, a law enforcement officer, earning a bachelor’s degree is where it all begins, it's no different for those who wish to attend law school. Graduates have the option of taking on an entry-level position or transferring their credits to continue their education and study for a graduate degree, a certification program, or head to law school for a law degree. A bachelor's in legal studies degree is not your only option, of course. You may also focus on criminal justice studies, juvenile justice studies, paralegal studies, legal research, criminal law, constitutional law, international law, immigration law, environmental law, and more within the legal field. Though it's important for law students to understand that focused courses will be less common in a pre law studies program. Many of these options are available in an online format or through hybrid programs, which combine online learning and in-person learning.
- You will earn a higher salary than those without an education or even those with only an associate degree
- Your job options and opportunities will expand
- You can help protect innocent people and see that justice is served for any wrongdoings
- Jobs in the legal system are well respected
- There is plenty of room to advance your career, especially if you are looking to move from paralegal studies or criminal justice studies further into the legal field, perhaps to apply to work in law firms or government departments as an attorney.
- It takes very long to complete your education and finally earn your law degree, even if you attend courses online
- Prospective students won’t be able to earn some certifications until after they get their bachelor’s
- It can cost a pretty penny to conplete out this degree, even if you are elligible for financial aid and earn some credits online or through other less costly means
- You will need to work extra hard
- There aren’t many bachelor’s in legal studies programs available, so it may be more difficult to get into a program at your state university or find an option for an online bachelor's
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Certificate vs. Bachelor's
An online bachelor’s is an undergraduate degree that takes four years to earn, or two years if you already obtained an associate degree, assuming your credits are transferable. You may also be able to take online courses in tandem with your regular courses or complete an accelerated online program. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree, you can jump right into an entry-level position and still continue to study online part-time while you work to earn your master’s and, after that, your doctorate. If you choose a concentration or a major while training for your bachelor’s, then your study program will consist of courses in that area along with general studies and foundational knowledge such as English, math, biology, etc.
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While training for certification, all your study courses will be based on one specific area that pertains to the career choice you made. For example, if you are training to become a cook, then all you will learn about is cooking rather than having to also attend general studies. Certification classes as an educational base are best for specific positions like nursing, cooking, mechanics, hairdresser, etc. Once you choose a profession and obtain certification for that career, you will not be able to change careers without studying in another industry. However, with a bachelor’s, you will be qualified for numerous employment opportunities in many industries.
What Law Bachelor’s Degrees are Available Online?
In the U.S. there are only a few official bachelors of law degrees available; the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies and the Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies are the most popular. A JD is generally the main degree students earn when they are interested in law and these might be hard to find 100% online, though many have an online component. However, if you are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree with a focus on a specific area, you can choose a concentration or a major that will aid in a legal career, here are some to consider:
- Political Science
A Criminal Justice and Homeland Security's Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program should be approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) if you wish to pursue law in the future. This is the case for online and traditional programs. The program teaches students the skills necessary for future graduate studies, as well as to pursue a paralegal career in a variety of settings. The curriculum focuses on key aspects of the field, including research and writing, procedure and law, critical thinking, practical skills, and more.
The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies (LS) is an alternative for aspiring students looking for a legal career that’s more geared toward applying soft skills with an occupation that’s not as technical as a science degree. The purpose of the LS bachelor degree program is to expand a student’s ability to communicate written and verbal complex communications as well as advanced analytical and critical thinking skills. These programs may be more accessible to online learners than some others.
To enter an online bachelor’s law degree program you may first need to have a traditional or online associate law degree from an accredited college or university, a cumulative GPA score of at minimum a 2.5, and good SAT/ACT scores. In addition, you will need to submit your official transcripts from any college or university that you earned a degree from (online or not), two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Finally, you must fill out and submit a school enrollment application and pay the application fee charges to be considered by any institution.
How long does it take to earn a Law Bachelor's Online?
To earn an online bachelor’s degree in law, it will take up to 4 years. After you obtain your online bachelor's, you can start law school, which takes several more years to complete, but these are your final courses. Once completed, you can gain the position you want in law or legal services. If you know you will be earning your online bachelor’s right after obtaining your associate's degree, then you can knock one whole year of school off by taking a three-year law degree class to earn your bachelor’s.
Potential Careers in Law with a Bachelor’s
- Fraud Investigator:
Typically, fraud investigators work to try and find individuals or organizations who have attempted to perform fraudulent acts in return for gaining financial benefits. Fraud investigators usually focus on a single specific field, such as accounting or insurance, as the applications for fraud investigations are numerous. Due to a high volume of insurance fraud cases occurring regularly in the U.S., investigators are badly needed and this career opportunity will not be replaced by AI.
Average Salary: $61,900.
- Legal Assistant:
A legal assistant, also known as a paralegal, works either with legal teams or individual lawyers at a firm by assisting them with their caseloads. Usually, the assistant will go through piles and piles of documents to find any information or evidence to help the client’s case and will mark passages and pages to follow up on in the near future.
Here is what they may assist with:
- Performing research
- Searching through, preparing, and prioritizing evidence as well as other documents
- Facilitating interviews
- Preparing memos
- Providing other assistance both before and during trial proceedings.
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A lawyer/attorney both reference the same position - someone who works for a law firm and works within a court to help shape a judge’s final decision. Because of this, attorneys need to always be professional as they work with prestigious judges and law officials and need to have the mentality to present a good case and work well with others. Cases they may work on are; pretrial hearings, settlements, court cases, conferences, divorce, robbery, murder, fraud, and more.
Average Salary: $85,800
Paralegals edit technical papers, briefs, pleadings, and other documents to assist the attorneys in their firm. They may also perform regulatory, legal, and business-related research to assist the attorneys working at their organization by providing them with legal support, filing materials like memorandums, motions, briefs, pleadings, and more for a large variety of court systems while also accompanying the lawyers of their firm to court to hear the trials.
Another thing paralegals might do is interview clients in person or by phone, to decide whether to accept or reject the client’s case before allowing them to talk with the organization’s attorneys.
Average Salary: $48,800
Options to Advance
New attorneys who are just starting out often work as associates for more experienced attorneys or as clerks for judges. Once they have gained enough experience, they will be able to advance to higher levels and receive more pay, possibly by becoming a partner or co-owner of their organization or even starting their own law firm. Ultimately, when an attorney has gained an abundance of experience, they may be able to advance to teaching students at a law school or become a judge. However, being a judge is not something you can decide for yourself, as you must be elected and voted into this highly respected position. You may also need to continue your education to become a judge, as it takes 7 years of schooling in total after completing high school. Holding a master’s in law may be sufficient for this opportunity and you can also voluntarily earn certification in conflict resolutions. Many of these programs are available online, both online master's degrees focused in law and online certifications.
Best Bachelor of Science in Law (LLB) Programs
The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies program helps students develop a strong foundation in paralegal practice and theory while providing a background in liberal arts. By utilizing a hands-on approach, students will learn the trial procedure and preparation, legal writing and research, critical thinking, ethics, and more.
- Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
University of Central Florida
Students have the opportunity to choose between numerous career choices in law and will receive hands-on training to develop a strong foundation in legal practices and balances in theory.
- BA/BS in Legal Studies
The Bachelor of Legal Studies program takes a hands-on approach to study law. Through a capstone project, internship, and coursework, students develop a well-balanced foundation of practical and theoretical knowledge.
- Bachelor of Legal Studies
Morehead State University
The Bachelor in Legal Studies requires 120 credit hours and helps students to develop the skills they need to pursue a professional career in the legal system, continue to earn a graduate degree, or go to law school.
- Bachelor in Legal Studies
University of Alaska Anchorage
The Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies program requires 120 credit hours to complete. Graduating with this degree will allow you to pursue a graduate degree or a variety of paralegal positions in government and law enforcement.
- Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
Traditional Schools Offering a BS in Law
Liberty University Online
The curriculum for this course is solely online and prepares students for entry into law school or for a law enforcement career as a public administrator, legal assistant, or a related occupation. The coursework for this 120-credit program includes criminal law, judicial process, persuasive argumentation, and jurisprudence.
- BS in government - Pre-law
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
SNHU's legal studies and advocacy program will give you the tools and skills needed to support victims by becoming an advocate. You will be trained by highly skilled professionals to take on a role in child and family services, victim rights, human services, and probation/parole.
- BS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies Advocacy
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Champlain College – Division of Education and Human Studies
The Division of Education and Human Studies' offers a Bachelor of Arts in Law for students who wish to pursue an exciting career in the legal system. From their freshman year, students will engage in law coursework and continue to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out a role in the law industry throughout the program
- Bachelor of Arts in Law
Dominican University – School of Professional and Continuing Studies
River Forest, IL
After acquiring 120 credit hours, you will be eligible to graduate with your Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies. Through gaining both specialized and general knowledge, students will have a choice between a diverse array of legal careers, professional certification, future graduate study, or law school.
- Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies
Post University – John P. Burke School of Public Service and Education
Develop a comprehensive understanding of legal practices and legal services as well as in ethics and writing and, upon receiving your degree, you can move on to law school, get a certification, or get an entry-level position in the legal industry.
- Bachelor's in Legal Studies
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to get a bachelor’s focused in law if I want to become a lawyer?
The short answer to this question is no. You can gain access to a law degree after completing nearly any bachelor’s program. There are, of course, degrees that are better for those who plan to earn law degrees, of course, and a bachelor’s in law or legal studies is one of those. However, any degree that provides you with communication skills, the ability to think logically, and research skills can prepare you for a JD. Some of the best options include degrees with majors in political science, history, psychology, criminal justice, English, and philosophy. All of these options provide you with skills that can help you get through your JD program and succeed as a lawyer or in any other legal profession.
Can I work in business if I earn a bachelor’s law degree?
Yes! There are plenty of business roles that require someone who has an excellent knowledge of the law and the ability to research law surrounding a subject and to keep their eye on new laws as they are made. This is the main job for compliance officers who focus on ensuring that the companies they work for are following all pertinent federal, state, and local laws. Without these people keeping their eye on the company, they might end up breaking the law without even realizing it, and then everyone is in trouble. These roles require someone with at least a bachelor’s degree and offers excellent compensation.