Law degrees

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The discipline of law is sufficiently broad as to require multiple degrees with different focuses. Practitioners generally acquire first professional degrees, which qualify them to sit the bar exam. Those focusing on research and academics will continue their education further and acquire additional advanced degrees.

First Professional

There are two main first professional law degrees that are mandatory for bar admission. In many countries the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is used, especially in Commonwealth realms. The study of law as an undergraduate field was very common over time and even occurred in the US until the middle part of the 20th century. With the increased focus on liberal arts education at the undergraduate level, law schools began to require a separate undergraduate degree and switched to a doctoral system, using the J.D. instead.

Research and Academic

Those engaged in the practice of law only need a first professional degree, and most practitioners elect to end their education after graduating law school. The first professional may be the most commonly known law degree, but is by no means the highest or sole law degree available. Extreme competitiveness for teaching positions makes the acquisition of advanced degrees a necessity. The Master of Laws (LL.M.) is common, although more geared towards foreign lawyers.