Would you like to become a lawyer, but don’t feel you can put your life on hold for three years to attend law school? Some law schools offer part-time options suitable for working professionals, with courses available at night or on a flexible schedule. Based on research conducted by U.S. News & World Report, students in Washington D.C. and New York have top part-time law degree options at their doorsteps.
Georgetown University’s School of Law has the best law program in the country for part-time students, according to U.S. News. Students may pursue either the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree or the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree on a part-time basis.
Students who enroll in the LL.M. program at Georgetown Law can expect to complete the program within three years (as opposed to two semesters if attending full-time). The part-time J.D. program requires students to take courses over eight semesters and one summer session, and courses are typically taught in the evenings. Students may also pursue graduate certificates in Estate Planning and Employee Benefits on a part-time basis.
George Washington University
George Washington University’s School of Law rates second on the U.S. News list of best part-time law degree programs. Both George Washington University’s J.D. and LL.M. courses of study are available to students attending part-time.
Students in the part-time J.D. program at George Washington Law take courses in the evening and complete the program in four years (as opposed to the traditional three years for full-time students). George Washington offers a General LL. M. degree in addition to eight degree specializations, all of which students may pursue on a part-time basis and all of which allow the opportunity for students to interact with those enrolled in the J.D. program (with the exception of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution program, which is limited to those in the LL.M. program).
U.S. News & World Report rates the Fordham University School of Law as the third best program in the nation for students wishing to pursue a law degree part-time. Fordham offers J.D., LL.M., and dual degree programs to part-time students.
Students can pursue any one of five LL.M. degree specialties part-time or may pursue a part-time J.D. through Fordham Law’s evening division. Students may also undertake part-time dual graduate degree study in law/international political economy and development, law and business administration, or law and social work.
Whether choosing to pursue a law degree part-time or full-time, prospective law students should be aware that the American Bar Association does not rank law programs, nor do they endorse program rankings published by magazines such as U.S. News & World Report. Students would be wise to look at a publication’s rankings as an initial guide and then undertake their own careful research into law degree programs, scheduling a campus visit with faculty and/or admissions representatives, if possible, in order to determine the right law degree program for them.
The Best Schools for International Law Degrees
Each year, U.S. News & World Report publishes lists of the best colleges in the United States. In addition to ranking schools by type (liberal arts colleges versus master’s degree-granting universities, for example), U.S. News also publishes rankings of graduate and professional degree programs. Among international law programs, the rankings for which were determined through nominations by law professors from American Bar Association-accredited law schools, New York University, Columbia University, and Georgetown University are considered the best in the nation.
New York University
Law professors nominated the New York University School of Law as having the best international law program in the country, according to U.S. News. NYU offers a Juris Doctor degree candidates the opportunity to focus in international law, or they may pursue a combined J.D./Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in International Law.
In addition to the background in international law offered by the J.D. or combined J.D./LL.M. in International Law, students at NYU can gain international experience thanks to two joint degree programs. Students can pursue their J.D. at NYU in conjunction with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Singapore, or they can choose to undertake a dual J.D. from NYU and the University of Melbourne.
According to U.S. News, the international law program at Columbia University comes in second to its downtown rival, New York University. Students enrolled in the J.D. program at Columbia Law can choose from nearly 70 courses in foreign, international, and comparative law.
Columbia was the first law school in the nation to offer students the opportunity to pursue a U.S. Juris Doctor degree concurrent with a foreign law degree. Currently Columbia Law offers 29 dual degree, certificate, and study abroad programs with the cooperation of universities in 12 countries.
Georgetown University’s School of Law earns the third spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best International Law programs. Students who wish to study at Georgetown Law can pursue international law programs at either the Juris Doctor or Master of Laws levels.
Georgetown’s JD program offers major areas of study in International and Comparative Law, in addition to International/National Security Law. At the LL.M. level, students may study Global Health Law, International Business and Economic Law, and Global Health Law and International Institutions. In addition to a comprehensive study abroad program, students can also choose to pursue a joint J.D./LL.M. degree in International Business and Economic Law or a dual master’s degree in International Affairs and Law.
While U.S. News & World Report and other publications and websites that rank law schools can be a good place for students to begin their research into law programs, prospective law school applicants should note that the American Bar Association does not endorse any rankings of law school programs, nor does the organization rank law degree programs itself. Students interested in studying any legal specialization should undertake their own careful research regarding which law school will be a good fit for them personally and professionally, and should try to schedule an on-campus visit with law school representatives, if possible.