2 YEAR LAW SCHOOL

Is a 2-year Law School Program Right for You?

Introduction

How many years is law school? For prospective law students contemplating their academic path, it’s important to consider the duration of the program alongside other factors. The traditional Juris Doctor program typically takes three years to complete. However, for working professionals or those seeking a faster track, some institutions offer accelerated 2-year law programs.

Certain law schools allow their students to graduate in two years. An accelerated law school lasting two years or two and a half years is offered by less than 10% of law schools. Additionally, several law schools allow students to start law school during their final year of college through their 3+3 JD programs. 

Aside from law school part-time, this is another way for working professionals to finish law school more quickly. Continue reading to learn about the law school accelerated programs, the advantages and disadvantages they present to law students, and a list of law schools that provide them.

A group of people throwing graduation caps in the air- 2 year law school

Overview of the Two-Year Law School Program

Students enrolled in accelerated law school programs are required to dedicate two years of their lives to the thorough study of legal theory and practice due to the demanding law school curriculum. Throughout their law school education, students might study legal research techniques, legal principles, legislative interpretation, and legal procedures. 

Furthermore, in addition to attending seminars and lectures on criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, law students will have the opportunity to gain practical experience through engagement in moot court competitions and service in law journals. After completing all of the required law school classes and passing any additional criteria, a law student can formally acquire their degree and graduate in two years.

The 3+3 JD Program v.s 2 Year Law Program

By combining a bachelor’s degree and a law degree, the 3+3 JD curriculum is created. Students can complete their bachelor’s degree in three years as opposed to four under this program, and in their senior year of undergraduate studies, they begin their legal studies as first-year undergraduates.

Normally, this program is only open to undergraduate students at the university, however, some do allow transfers into it. With almost 50 law schools offering the 3+3 JD degree, it is a more popular program than the accelerated JD program.

In actuality, the 3+3 JD program is not a two-year program. Although the three years of law school remain the same, students complete their bachelor’s degree faster. These programs are similar to what students at a regular institution would get if they took a lot of classes and a couple of summer courses.

Can You Finish Law School in 2 Years?

When considering the array of options available in legal education, it’s important to recognize that different programs are tailored to meet the diverse needs and capabilities of students. One such option is the 2-year law program. Students who are intellectually gifted, highly driven, and able to manage a demanding course load are usually the target audience for 2-year law programs. These programs are highly selective, favoring applicants who demonstrate their academic capacity and time management abilities, which are essential to successfully finish law school in 2 years. 

Foreign-trained practicing lawyers can also enroll in the two-year law programs offered by some institutions in the United States. To fulfill the needs of lawyers with foreign education, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, for example, offers a short law school curriculum for Foreign Lawyers. To get them ready to use American law, this program teaches them everything they need to know about it and how the legal system works.

Top 10 Accelerated Law School Programs

Can I finish law school in 2 years? It is not necessary to attend a specific major for law school in order to enroll in the 2-year Accelerated JD program. Less than 10% of the 200 ABA-accredited law schools provide an Accelerated JD, and many of these institutions do not have the best reputations. It’s crucial to carefully research any Accelerated JD program you’re thinking about. It is up to you to complete your research and make sure that a specific law school’s Accelerated Program is up to par. Some law schools do provide successful 2-year law school programs.

Law School Tuition Ranking in Best Law Schools Acceptance Rate LSAT Scores (25th-75th percentile) Median LSAT Score 
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law $72,212 #10 15% 166-172 171
University of Kansas School of Law $23,402 (in-state) $29,739 (out-of-state) #40 55.3% 153-160 158
Pepperdine Caruso School of Law $63,660/Year #45 27.7% 159-166 164
University of Washington School of Law $43,584 (residents); $55,617 (non-residents) #49 30.3% 160-166 164
Drexel University – Thomas R Kline School of Law $52,800 #80  31% 152-161 159
Albany Law School $58,044 #105 50.2% 153-158 155
Southwestern Law School $20,508 #141  50.4% 152-157 154
The University of Akron School of Law $25,113 (in-state)
$25,213 (out-of-state)
#150 62.9% 151-155 153
Creighton School of Law $1,497 per credit hour #155  67.8% 149-157 153
Vermont Law School $25,850 #164 60.9% 149-158 154

Law School Students standing for a photo inside a library

Pros and Cons of the Accelerated Law School Program

Weighing the pros and cons of accelerated JD programs should be a key element of your selection. There are some drawbacks to these programs that may offset the benefit of completing law school sooner for many law students.

Costs and Financial Considerations

Accelerated JD programs are less expensive than standard 3-year law school programs. This is an important consideration, particularly because the average law school debt law school graduates is above $100,000.

It’s a huge time-saver first and foremost. You essentially eliminate a full year of intellectual engagement when you condense three years of education into two. This may lessen the overall cost of attending law school. Speaking of finances, figuring out how to pay for law school becomes less intimidating with one less year of tuition expenses to think about. A head start on your career is also possible if you graduate early and have the opportunity to begin earning sooner. And let’s not overlook the possibility of law school scholarships, which can further ease the financial load.

Internship Opportunities

One perk of the three-year JD program is that students are often provided with a choice of internship possibilities. Most legal students intern for two full summers before graduating, and many also intern or participate in clinics during the academic year. This is not always the case in an Accelerated JD Program scenario.

Most Accelerated JD students are unlikely to have the additional time required to participate in internships. Students do not have summers off, therefore you will have to work around your heavy school load if you want to participate in any serious extracurricular activities. This is a significant disadvantage of law school accelerated programs, as practical experience has grown increasingly vital for legal firms over the years.

Social Connections

The standard 3-year law school provides several opportunities for law students to engage in social activities and network with classmates and law firms. There are also law school-sponsored events and regular guest lecturers. The typical law student graduates with many lifelong friendships and connections that frequently benefit their professional advancement. As an Accelerated JD student, you will most likely miss out on many of these social gatherings and opportunities due to your busier schedule and additional classes.

Quality of Education

Three-year JD programs are demanding enough. They require a huge amount of memorization, and students often acquire new topics at breakneck speed. Accelerated law school programs run even quicker, with more hours packed into a shorter timetable and less margin for error. Burnout is a real issue in law school, and it is especially prevalent in an Accelerated Program with no summers off. What you learn in an Accelerated curriculum is less likely to stick, compared to a 3-year law school curriculum that allows you more opportunity to master new concepts.

Admission Requirements

Here’s a breakdown of typical law school entrance requirements and some specific advice on approaching each to ensure your application stands out.

Academic Transcripts

Secure your transcripts as soon as possible, as some universities may take some time to process them. If your grades do not reflect your genuine potential, explain this in your personal statement or an amendment. You can describe any conditions that affected your academic performance.

LSAT Scores

The LSAT is a critical exam that plays a major role in law school admissions, as it allows admission officers to compare applicants using a standardized score. A higher LSAT score increases an applicant’s probability of admission into their desired law school program. Adequate preparation is essential. Determine the median LSAT score for your desired law school and strive to get that LSAT score or above it in order to enhance your likelihood of admission. So make sure that your preparation helps you get above this score.

Personal Statement

This requirement highlights your distinct qualities, experiences, and motivations, helping the admissions committee understand your unique potential as a law student. You have the opportunity to share your story in your law school personal statement. Concentrate on your distinct qualities. Perhaps you have surmounted obstacles or possess a distinct viewpoint or life background. Be sincere and allow your individuality to come through. 

Letters of Recommendation

This provides an external perspective on the applicant’s abilities, character, and suitability for law study, often offering insights not visible in other parts of the application. Choose recommenders who know you well and can attest to your academic abilities and moral integrity, such as a professor or an employer. Give them your resume, or any particular details you’d like them to highlight. Allow them enough time to compose the law school letter of recommendation, and politely remind them when things need to be done.

Resume

This requirement showcases the applicant’s academic achievements, work experience, and extracurricular activities, demonstrating their readiness and suitability for the rigors of law school. So make your law school resume specific to applications to law schools. Emphasize experiences that exhibit legal-relevant abilities like research, writing, leadership, and critical thinking. Add any extracurricular activities, volunteer work, academic honors, and any experience you have in the legal field. 

Achieve a High LSAT Score with Our All-Inclusive LSAT Prep Course

For entrance to law school, the Law School Admission Test is effectively the make-or-break exam. Schools employ it to assess your ability to manage academic demands. It examines abilities such as argument analysis and reasoning, which are essential in law school. Odyssey Test Prep can help you ace the LSAT as it is the best predictor of admission and provides guidance throughout the admission process.

LSAT Prep Course

Enroll in our LSAT Prep Course to master the skills needed for success in a rigorous two-year law school program. Odyssey offers an interactive LSAT prep course jam-packed with video lessons and in-person instruction to guide you through every exam section, realistic practice tests, drills, and test questions. Our LSAT expert instructors, online student portal, and analytics tools are alongside you in preparing to ace the LSAT.

LSAT Tutoring

Elevate your LSAT scores with personalized tutoring, ensuring you’re fully prepared for the intensity of a two-year law school journey. Get personalized one-on-one LSAT tutoring with our trained tutors who specialize in tailored lesson plans, designed to maximize your score improvements based on your abilities and learning style. Our trained tutors analyze your practice tests to identify strengths and target areas needing improvement, then develop a customized study plan to meet your needs. Tutoring is available in flexible in-person or live online schedule options to accommodate any student.

Law School Admission Consulting

Secure your spot in a top-tier two-year law school program with our expert Law School Admissions Consulting services, tailored to maximize your application’s strength. Odyssey’s experienced law school admission consultants guide you through the full application journey – from strategic planning to crafting compelling essays and determining eligibility for your target programs. They also assist with interview preparation, application review services, and waitlist strategy assistance to help lead you toward acceptance at your desired law school.

Final Thoughts: Can You Do Law School in 2 Years?

To sum it up, only a few law schools offer 2-year law school programs. When you compare these schools to a 3-year law school, there are some pros and cons. People who go through accelerated law school programs will save money, have fewer student loans, and finish law school faster. The shorter time frame does, however, mean that there are fewer chances to make friends and do internships, and the level of education will probably not be the same as in a regular three-year JD program.

You should now know enough about accelerated law school to be able to decide if they are worth your time.