What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

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Online Master of Legal Studies » Related Law and Legal Degrees » Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Online Juris Doctor Degree Programs for 2022

If you are looking for a flexible online law degree that enables you to sit for the bar exam, you might want to consider an online or hybrid program.  Online Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree programs are a combination of online courses and on-campus instruction ideal for working professionals through an online hybrid or a weekend-based format . Read on to learn about the online J.D. programs approved by ABA and common admissions requirements, and compare different types of online formats to find the J.D. program best for you. 

What Is a Juris Doctor?

Juris doctor is Latin for  Doctor of Law . A Juris Doctor, J.D. for short, is a professional law degree and academic credential conferred by law schools upon graduation. This graduate degree enables you to sit for the bar exam and earn a license to practice law. It typically consists of 85 to 90 credits and takes three years of full-time study. It is considered “the first degree in law” by the  American Bar Association (ABA) .

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

University of Dayton

School of law, online hybrid juris doctor.

The University of Dayton School of Law is providing wider access to a quality legal education through its Online Hybrid Juris Doctor program. The ABA-approved program prepares students to sit for the bar exam in most states.


Online and Hybrid J.D. Programs

Aspiring attorneys can earn their Juris Doctor degree through any of the 199  schools and programs accredited by ABA . Among these schools, only a few offer hybrid online J.D. programs that combine online courses with on-campus components. There are also law schools that offer fully online J.D. degrees, but none are approved by the ABA.

To determine which one is the best fit for you, consider your career goals, learning style and financial budget. Here are some ABA-approved law schools offering online and hybrid J.D. programs:

Loyola University

Weekend hybrid j.d., chicago, illinois.

Name of Degree: Weekend Hybrid J.D.

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 4 years

Credits: 88

Admission Requirements:

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Online hybrid j.d., saint paul, minnesota.

Name of Degree: Online Hybrid J.D.

Length of Program: 3+ years

Credits: 84

Seton Hall University

Weekend online j.d., newark, new jersey.

Name of Degree: Weekend Online J.D.

Southwestern Law School

Part-time evening j.d., los angeles, california.

Name of Degree: Part-Time Evening J.D.

Credits: 87

Syracuse University

College of law, interactive online j.d., syracuse, new york.

Name of Degree: Interactive Online J.D.

Touro College

Jacob d. fuchsberg law center, flextime hybrid j.d., central islip, new york.

Name of Degree: FlexTime Hybrid J.D.

Dayton, Ohio

The University of Dayton School of Law’s Online Hybrid J.D. program — one of the first to earn ABA approval — prepares you to sit for the bar exam without relocating for your studies. A bachelor’s degree and LSAT or GRE scores are required. This flexible program includes live, online classes, in-person learning sessions on campus and a two-semester-long legal clinic or externship experience.

Credits: 90

University of Denver

Sturm college of law, hybrid j.d., denver, colorado.

Name of Degree: Hybrid J.D.

University of New Hampshire

Franklin pierce school of law, concord, new hampshire.

Length of Program: 3.5 years

Credits: 85+

Why are There Only ABA-Approved  Hybrid  Online J.D. Degrees?

Attending a law school accredited by the ABA allows you to take the bar exam in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the  Association of American Law Schools (AALS) . The ABA seal of approval means your school meets the  association’s quality standards for legal education .

The ABA has yet to accredit any law school with courses offered entirely online.  But as law schools increasingly expand into online instruction, the  ABA has begun to issue waivers to hybrid programs –those that mix traditional campus learning with online courses–so they can apply for accreditation. With trained faculty and significant technological investment, distance learning proponents even argue that law degree programs can be completed exclusively online.

Attending an ABA-accredited school isn’t the only way to become a lawyer. In New York, California, 29 other states and the District of Columbia,  you can sit for the bar exam with a law degree from a non-ABA accredited school . But it’ll likely be more complicated to enter law practice that way, as some employers look for candidates who have graduated from accredited institutions.

Before you decide to attend a school without ABA accreditation, be sure to research bar admission limitations and ensure that the school will provide you with adequate legal training to enter the field. You can also refer to the ABA’s  Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2021 (PDF, 1.3 MB) , for guidance.

Typical Online Juris Doctor Curriculum and Outcomes

An online law degree should teach you to think critically and creatively, educate you on a variety of legal doctrines, and expose you to subjects ranging from economics to sociology to help broaden your perspective.  This holds true whether your program is offered on campus or in the hybrid online format.

But there are differences between online law degrees, such as the time to graduation, the level of flexibility in your school schedule, access to externships and other outside opportunities, and admissions requirements.

Admissions Requirements

Here are some common admissions requirements for J.D. programs:

Program Courses and Areas of Focus

You can expect to take similar courses no matter the law school you attend. Some online and hybrid courses are taught by the professors who teach on-campus classes. Your J.D. curriculum may include:

Steps to Complete Your J.D. Degree

What Is a Juris Doctor Degree Equivalent to?

The answer to  whether a juris doctor degree is equivalent to a Ph.D. is both complex and controversial .  A Ph.D., called a doctorate, is the most advanced degree you can earn in many disciplines, typically taking five or more years to complete. You need a master’s degree before entering a Ph.D. program.

Many people view a J.D. degree as a functional, but not an absolute equivalent to a Ph.D.  For one thing, a J.D. is not the highest law degree. You can earn a Master of Laws (LL.M.) or Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) after your J.D. Also, law schools require only a bachelor’s degree, not a master’s, for admission into a J.D. program.

But on practical terms, a J.D. is often viewed as the highest academic distinction for lawyers.  Most U.S. law professors, for example, do not have a Ph.D.  (PDF, 610 KB).

Is a J.D. Worth it?

A J.D. degree is a portal to more than just joining a law firm. People with legal training play a role in virtually every sector of the economy. They work at Silicon Valley startups in courtrooms and halls of academia and government.

The rigorous, analytical thinking that is the foundational skill of legal training can be an asset in many professions. President Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law. Dozens of CEOs for Fortune 500 companies hold J.D.s.

Law typically pays well, and it can pay extremely well at the highest levels of seniority and tenure.  The top 10% of lawyers earn over $208,000,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The growing number of online or hybrid J.D. programs can make it possible for you to earn a law degree while you keep your current job. Distance learning opens up more schools to choose from.

The flip side is that the legal field can be grueling, intense and competitive. In 2021, there were  1.33 million actively practicing attorneys in the United States (PDF, 207 KB) , according to the ABA National Lawyer Population Survey.  Many large corporations are trying to economize by cutting back on outside counsel  and reassigning tasks to paralegals and legal assistants.

To ensure your J.D. degree is a worthwhile investment of money and time, have a clear career goal and think through how your preferred degree program will help you meet that goal. Once enrolled, take full advantage of externships, networking opportunities, and your school’s career resources. Earning a J.D. is an important, but still just one, step toward your legal profession.

FAQs on Online Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degrees

No. While there is no fully online J.D. degree program accredited by ABA, there are  hybrid online J.D. programs  available that combine the flexibility of online learning and the engagement of on-campus programs.

It’s not mandatory. However, if you want to be qualified to sit for the bar exam and practice law in certain states, a law degree accredited by the ABA may be a better choice.

A traditional J.D. degree typically takes three years to complete, while an online J.D. degree takes about three to four years in full-time enrolment.

Yes, if your law school is approved by the ABA and you successfully meet your degree requirements upon graduation.

Yes, some online law schools accept LSAT or GRE scores taken in the last five years. Students can decide to either submit their LSAT or GRE scores.

Generally, schools allow students to work while studying. Some of them may also offer part-time enrollment to provide more flexibility for students. However, students should also take into consideration the workload of each term and make sure they can meet the graduation requirements.

Students may check the accreditation status of programs or schools, the bar exam pass rate, concentrations available, online student support options, curriculum and workload required.

They are both postgraduate degrees. However, similar to Master of Legal Studies or other legal studies programs, Juris Master programs are designed for people who want to further their legal knowledge and may not want to become a lawyer or practice law.

Information on this page was last retrieved in  November  2021.

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Best Online JD Programs at Law School for 2023

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What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

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The 10 Best Online Schools for Doctorate in Law (Juris Doctor) Degree Programs 2023

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Frequently Asked Questions

A Doctorate in Law is an optional academic feat for Law majors who seek advanced learning, specialize in research, and contribute to law literature. Juris Doctor degree holders–students who have completed three years in law school and may practice the profession– are eligible for admission to the Doctorate in Law degree program.

An Online Doctorate Degree in Law is generally research-intensive and usually requires an extensive doctoral thesis. On average, students finish the degree in three to four years. The Online Doctorate in Law degree is designed for adult learners who aim to go beyond the law practice and explore other competencies, including in the areas of scholarly research and publication, as well as teaching in academia.

Featured Schools

Quick links, walden university, liberty university, abraham lincoln university, emory university, new york university, florida state university, the university of tulsa, california southern university, nova southeastern university, loyola university chicago, best online schools for doctorate in law (juris doctor) degree programs.

Methodology: We compiled a list of the 10 Best Online Schools for Doctorate in Law Degree Programs for 2021, listed in no particular order due to each school’s unique degree program and highlights. In exploring these features, we also mention the career opportunities for graduates who have acquired advanced knowledge and skills in the discipline. The following attributes were considered: Highlights each school’s accreditation details, required credit hours for program completion, admission requirements and retention rates, Programs designed to relay a better understanding of legal and ethical laws, public policy and legal trends to the working professional, Includes Dissertation/Doctoral study in Juris Doctor Law, Options in Concentrations; allowing students opportunities to expand on their current credentials, apply for advancements, or pursue a teaching career at the university level, 100% Online, Blended or Hybrid format options, Financial Aid options: Scholarships, Grants, Military Aid, Offers experiential learning through an effective online distance learning format by quality professors outstanding in the field of Doctorate Law (Juris Doctor), Based on prestigious and notability as an online school according to reputable academic resources. To learn more, please see our Methodology page.

Walden University


Program Standouts: The Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with a Law and Public Policy concentration at Walden University explores the contemporary practices and theories and national and global issues in the administration of criminal justice.

This online doctorate degree provides the necessary skills and knowledge a student needs to attract exciting new career opportunities, whether they want to pursue leadership roles in the current organization or start a new career in criminal justice. It is ideal for students who are interested in gaining an in-depth knowledge of the law or studying legal concerns in the workplace.

Students need to have 98 credit hours to earn this online doctorate program.

Campus Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Accreditation: Walden University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Retention Rate: 50%

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Admission Requirements:

Program Core Components:

Degree Outcomes: Graduates of this online doctorate program have the option to pursue career advancement in their current profession. They are able to evaluate the root cause of crime and its specific impact on the practice of law, procedures, and policies.

In addition, it has prepared them for a variety of positions, such as:


liberty university


Program Standouts: Liberty University has a Ph.D. in Public Policy that provides the ethical background and skills that students or professionals need to mold the local, national, state, and local law in order to pursue peace and instill Christian values in the pursuit of happiness.

This online Ph.D. degree is suitable for individuals seeking to enhance their current credentials, strengthen their skills in policy research or put an emphasis on educating the next generation of law professionals.

It has five specializations, namely:

Students need to have 60 credit hours to earn this degree in a span of three years, depending on the students’ timeframes of learning.

Campus Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Accreditation: Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 84%

Acceptance Rate: 55.5%

Degree Outcomes:

Graduates of this online doctorate program are equipped with essential skills in law and governance. They are built upon their existing expertise in their chosen specialization and hone their craft to help create a better, secure and prosperous future for the nation.


abraham lincoln university


Program Standouts: The Juris Doctor online program of Abraham Lincoln University is designed for individuals who want to practice law or those interested to pursue into one of the many legal fields that a Juris Doctor degree offers.

It is ideal for working professionals and provides students with increased flexibility without sacrificing their quality of education. They are able to learn the advanced analytical skills necessary to create legal documents, perform legal research, and investigate legal issues and concerns. The Juris Doctor of ALU requires 140 quarter units to earn this degree.

The university prides itself on the establishment of a rigorous, online law degree that provides competence in the educational goals of their law students.

Campus Location: Los Angeles, California

Accreditation: Abraham Lincoln University has received accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Retention Rate: 68%

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Abraham Lincoln University’s law school graduates of the Juris Doctor program have the eligibility to become full members of the State Bar of California and are eligible to practice in California. They are able to understand the principles and theories of law, their relationships with others, and their limitations.

Graduates are prepared for a rewarding career as well as prepared for the California First Year Law Students’ Examination and California General Bar Examination.




Program Standouts: The Juris Doctor program offered by the Emory Law of the Emory University provides empowerment to discern students’ legal path right from the beginning of their legal studies. The faculty handling the Emory Law are experts in their respective law careers and dynamic teachers in the learning environment.

The freshman year of studies immerses students in the language of the law, sophomore students have the opportunity in a one-week immersion in advocacy and a summer internship program, and the third-year students of this online doctorate program puts an emphasis on mentorship programs under the supervision of a dedicated 3L Career Center adviser.

Students will need 90 credit hours to earn this degree.

Campus Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Accreditation: Emory University has earned accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Retention Rate: 83%

Acceptance Rate: 18.5%

Juris Doctor graduates of Emory University have demonstrated an understanding and knowledge of procedural American Law and they are equipped with professional skills that are needed for ethical participation and competence as members of the legal professions.

In addition, they demonstrate competence in reasoning, problem-solving in a legal context, legal analysis, and legal research. A rewarding career awaits them in the private and government sectors that need legal expertise across different issues and concerns of the society.


New York University


Program Standouts: New York University has a Juris Doctor program that provides the most extensive range of law and business offerings in legal studies with specialized programs and outstanding programs in corporate law for individuals who are less interested in less traditional career pathways. The university provides an opportunity for exceptional students with a passion for pursuing high-level careers in business and law through the Mitchell Jacobson Leadership Program.

The NYU Law has a cutting-edge business and law set of coursework and curriculum that provides both corporate skills and effective collaboration with business students in an interactive learning environment. A wide range of academic services is focused on helping students succeed in their journeys such as:

Campus Location: New York City, New York

Accreditation: New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Retention Rate: 85%

Acceptance Rate: 20%

NYU School of Law graduates are automatically granted the NYU Alumni Card that opens them a wide range of opportunities and benefits such as:

In addition, they are prepared in several career pathways in an array of investment banks, top law firms, government agencies, international organizations, and corporate headquarters.


Florida State University


Program Standouts: Florida State University offers a Juris Doctor program through its College of Law. This doctorate degree is completed in an average of three years depending on the students’ timeframe of learning. It is specially formatted in traditional courses and develops to include the latest in interdisciplinary and theoretical analyses.

The university offers several learning opportunities for experiential learning and courses that enable students to be competitive and highly-skilled entrants into the business, law, and government sectors. Additionally, students have the option to enroll in any FSU’s joint-degree programs namely:

Campus Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Accreditation: Florida State University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Retention Rate: 94%

Acceptance Rate: 36.8%

Program Specializations:

Degree Outcomes: Graduates of this Juris Doctor program have a strong wealth of knowledge through FSU’s extensive and hands-on learning program. The hands-on learning experience in the Mock Trial and Moot Court programs equipped their graduates to be appellate and trial advocates.

They are provided the opportunity to hone their research and writing skills that are essentially useful when they navigate in different sectors of the society through promising legal professions.




Program Standouts: The Juris Doctor program by the University of Tulsa is dynamically designed to prepare students to make an outstanding impact and excellence in legal and any related professions. They are administered by an outstanding faculty, robust experiential learning programs, and high-level scholarships. In addition, the university provides an unwavering commitment to professionalism and public service at the core values of the College of Law.

UTulsa has three sets of accelerated degrees namely:

All joint and accelerated degrees are completed in six years depending on the timeline of students. Students need to have 88-125 applicable semester hours to earn this degree. UTulsa has one of the most selective admission processes in the country.

Campus Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Accreditation: The University of Tulsa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Acceptance Rate: 40.8%

Program Concentrations:

Degree Outcomes: Graduates are carefully guided and supported by UTulsa through their wide range of student services such as:

With a professional development office, graduates are ensured of a successful career in different sectors of society.




Program Standouts: California Southern University’s Juris Doctor program is suitable for individuals who prefer the convenience and flexibility without compromising their busy, working professions.

This online JD program is a rigorous and challenging program that puts an emphasis on ethical responsibility and analytical thinking capabilities. The rigorous program has the same case books and materials that many of the country’s most prominent law schools use.

Students will become part of a community that provides overall support and tools essential to the study of law and business. CalSouthern’s JD program requires 88 credits for degree completion. Students can earn this degree in as quick as 2 years depending on their pace of learning.

Campus Location: Costa Mesa, California

Accreditation: California Southern University received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Retention Rate: 96%

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Graduates of CalSouthern’s online JD program acquire an advanced set of knowledge of the traditional fields of law.

They are integrated with skills that are helpful in understanding and applying legal procedures, to comprehend legal principles, limitations of the law, and excel in the State Bar of California examinations. They have the eligibility to sit for the California Bar Exam.


Nova Southeastern University


Program Standouts: Nova Southeastern University has a Juris Doctor program through the Shepard Broad College of Law. This comprehensive program equips students with a strong background in the principles, skills, and knowledge they need to become competent and trusted lawyers. It is designed to develop student’s communication skills, analytical capabilities, and the comprehension of professional ethics and responsibility that are primarily used in the practice of law.

The university combines innovative teaching methods to provide professional and dynamic programs for its students. Faculty members are from the practitioners in the South Florida area who specializes in dynamic coursework to bridge the gap between legal principles, theories, and practice.

All students must complete 90 semester hours to earn this degree. It takes three academic years to complete this program but may vary depending on the student’s timeline of learning.

Campus Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Accreditation: Nova Southeastern University has an accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Retention Rate: 79%

Acceptance Rate: 78.5%

Graduates of the Juris Doctor program continue their journey with clinical programs, fellowships, and active student bar association.

NSU is committed to providing career and continued professional development, and their thriving alumni community integrates blueprints and linkages for the next steps in their students’ career.




Program Standouts: The Juris Doctor program of Loyola University Chicago is a rigorous program combined with practical experience students need to rise above the competition. Students will work closely with world-class faculty to learn the foundations of the American legal system. The set of coursework under this program helps students learn to effectively apply the study of law to real-world challenging scenarios.

Students must complete 86 credit hours to earn a JD degree in Loyola. Experiential learning that is comprised of 6 credit hours is required to demonstrate the applied knowledge and skills of the students all throughout the program. All online courses are offered through the university’s highly interactive and collaborative online learning platform – Sakai.

Campus Location: Chicago, Illinois

Accreditation: Loyola University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Acceptance Rate: 67.9%

Students who complete the JD program will earn the same rewarding opportunity to gain benefits from quality, world-class legal education at Loyola. They have achieved unwavering success in serving different sectors of society through promising career pathways in the government and private sectors.


Why should i earn a doctorate in law (juris doctor) degree.

Earning a Juris Doctor (JD) degree is an excellent option for anyone interested in learning more about the legal field and pursuing a career as an attorney. A JD degree provides the necessary skills and knowledge to practice law and a deeper understanding of the legal system.

The degree also offers a variety of opportunities for specialization and career advancement. Those with a Juris Doctor degree can also look forward to higher salaries, increased job security, and more job opportunities.

What can I do with a Doctorate in Law (Juris Doctor) Degree?

A Doctorate in Law (Juris Doctor) Degree is the highest degree in law and is typically required to practice law in the United States. With a Juris Doctor, you could pursue a career in legal practice by becoming a lawyer, a judge, or a law professor.

Additionally, a Juris Doctor can open up policy-making, advocacy, and legal consulting opportunities. You could also apply your degree to a career in government, business, or nonprofit organizations.

Do I need a Doctorate in Law (Juris Doctor) Degree to become a lawyer?

Yes, in most states in the United States, you must have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in order to become a licensed lawyer.

What is the average salary for an Attorney?

The average salary for an attorney in the United States is approximately $127,990 per year to upwards of $208,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure can vary depending on geographic location, experience, and other factors.

First ABA-approved online J.D. program to debut next fall

Signage is seen outside of the American Bar Association (ABA) in Washington, D.C.

(Reuters) - St. Mary’s University School of Law next fall will launch the first fully online Juris Doctor program approved by the American Bar Association.

The San Antonio law school unveiled the pioneering program Tuesday, saying it planned to enroll 25 students in the first cohort of the five-year pilot program. Nearly a dozen law schools now offer hybrid J.D. programs, in which a large portion of coursework is delivered online but which still require students to spend some time on campus. St. Mary’s new program is the first ABA-approved program to offer all credit-bearing courses online by design. (A small number of online J.D. programs have been around for more than a decade but lack the ABA’s seal of approval.)

“We’ve got to get it right – not only for these 25 students, but for the schools that will follow us with their own programs and for the American Bar Association, for having the confidence in us to give us permission to try,” St. Mary’s Law Dean Patricia Roberts said in an interview.

The online J.D. will take about four years to complete, and tuition will be comparable to the school’s existing in-person part-time program, which is currently $26,594. The first-year courses will be 50% asynchronous, meaning students can complete them on their own schedules, while the other half will be delivered in real time online.

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Roberts first asked her faculty to weigh the possibility of offering a hybrid J.D. program in August 2020, spurred, she said, not by the pandemic-induced move to online classes but because St. Mary’s has offered an online Master of Jurisprudence for five years. That meant the school already had professors with experience teaching online, Roberts said, noting that now the entire faculty has completed training in online teaching.

She said the school initially saw enhanced online offerings as a way to expand access to legal education for people in the under-served areas of South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, where there are no law schools. (Texas lawmakers have long discussed the possibility of a new law school in El Paso.) But the faculty committee quickly proposed the idea of a fully online program instead of a hybrid, arguing that requiring students to come to campus on a regular basis undermined its access and affordability goals.

The ABA approved St. Mary’s application for a waiver of its distance education limits in May, but the school did not release any information about its plans until this week. The ABA has in recent years been increasing the number of credits a J.D. student may earn online. Currently, J.D. students may take up to a third of their credits online, which translates to about 30 credit hours at most schools. Any J.D. program that exceeds those online hours must obtain special permission from the ABA. (The ABA has allowed law schools to exceed those distance education limits during the pandemic.)

Roberts said she believes the pandemic made the ABA more receptive to the idea of a fully online J.D. program, and she expects other schools to roll out similar programs in the coming years. St. Mary’s has pledged to provide the ABA with detailed data on the academic and bar exam performance of the online J.D. cohort.

“We talked about it and thought, ‘Well, somebody’s going to be first,’” Roberts said. “We might as well try it.”

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The 20 Best Doctor of Law/Juris Doctor Graduate Schools in 2023

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JD_Doctor of Law - featured image

In 1902, Harvard Law School faculty suggested the name change from LL.B. to JD since it was a professional degree. Within a year, the University of Chicago was granted the world’s first JD degree. But it was only 1965 when the current requirement for JD applicants possessing a bachelor’s degree was made standard by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Indeed, the Juris Doctor (JD) or Doctor of Law degree has undergone several changes since the College of William and Mary granted the first Bachelor of Law degree in 1793. But the respect, recognition and prestige that came with earning a JD degree haven’t faded in more than two centuries. The 20 best JD programs in this list are definitely among the most respected, recognized and prestigious in the world!


The 20 Doctor of Law universities featured here were chosen based on the following factors:


Yale university.

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Yale Law School offers its JD students rich opportunities in learning about the law and writing for the law profession, independent research, and seminars. The extraordinary community that Yale has established since its early days in the 19th century continues to nurture students in their future legal careers. Many students work with faculty members as teaching and research assistants to pursue careers in the academe, research, and media. 

Standout Features 

Yale has several law-focused centers that provide its students with valuable exposure to the real-life work of lawyers and their advocacies. Justice Collaboratory, Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Learning, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and Yale Center for Law and Philosophy are examples. 

Students can interact with international students, visiting scholars, and legal experts. These are necessary to expand their professional perspectives in preparation for legal work. 

Did you know?

Skull & Bones is among Yale’s most secretive and exclusive college clubs, with its typical members being student leaders, from team captains to political union members. Only 30 new members are admitted every spring term, and among its members are George Bush and George W Bush. 


Stanford University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

JD Program  

Stanford’s interdisciplinary philosophy in its JD program is based on its tradition of learning without limits. Students master legal doctrine and become proficient in their applications in a wide range of settings, from the government to business, education, and science. Graduates then have the knowledge and skills vital for success in whatever specialization they pursue. 

Stanford’s student attorneys in its 11 clinics are unique in the legal profession – certified by the California State Bar and, thus, allowed to practice law with the guidance of mentors. Other opportunities for beyond-the-classroom learning are the Global Initiative and W. A. Franke Global Law Program. The Global Initiative takes law education on the move while the W. A. Franke Global Law Program provides a 10-week immersion and overseas study trips. 

Stanford nourishes its students’ entrepreneurial spirit, so it isn’t surprising that 74 billionaires call it their alma mater! These include the founders of Google, Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard. 

Harvard University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Harvard Law School’s list of alumni reads like a who’s who of the United States’ best and brightest in politics and the judiciary! Rutherford B. Hayes and Barack Obama, both former Presidents of the United States, are shining luminaries. Such excellence in society isn’t surprising considering Harvard’s emphasis on academic excellence and community service. 

Harvard Law School offers a JD curriculum with unequaled depth and breadth through 400-plus courses, workshops, and reading groups. Small class sizes, usually with less than 25 students, make learning more focused and productive. Students are also encouraged to adopt an international perspective via coursework, study abroad opportunities, and international fellowships. 

Harvard started in a single-frame house with a small college yard. Today, its property holdings cover more than 4,000 football fields, but the main campus only covers 4%! 

University of Chicago

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

The University of Chicago Law Review is the pride of students, faculty, and alumni partly because it is one of the five most-cited in the world. Students on the editorial team are selected based on their academic performance and writing capacity after their first year. Suffice it to say that admission into the review team is just as tough as admission into the law school itself! 

The capstone experience can be a judicial clerkship where students enrich post-graduation opportunities with established legal professionals. Graduates interested in it are assisted by the Office of Career Services and a faculty committee. 

UChicago’s well-rounded curriculum also allows its graduates to pursue either a generalist or specialist approach to their careers. 

The on-campus Mansueto Library can house up to 3.5 million volumes and serves as the location for the “Divergent” film. 

Columbia University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Columbia Law School is among the world’s leading institutions in legal education and scholarship for good reasons. The distinguished faculty aren’t just educators but innovators. The curriculum also emphasizes innovation in how students think and actively encourages intellectual exchanges beyond their comfort zone and challenges the system. 

Establishing connections is the distinguishing characteristic of the JD experience at Columbia. Students make connections between their studies and legal practice, local and legal communities, classroom and clinic experiences, and present and future. Students may also enroll in classes at other colleges within Columbia and earn an international double degree. 

Columbia is built on a former public hospital, the former Bloomingdale Asylum. The only remaining structure from the asylum is the Buell Hall.  

University of Pennsylvania

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

JD Program 

Leges sine moribus vanae (Laws without morals are in vain). This is the underlying philosophy of Upenn’s Carey Law School and its professional programs, including the JD program. Here, students train as tomorrow’s lawyers with expertise across multiple disciplines, including business, health, and education, even in emergent fields. 

UPenn provides numerous enrichment opportunities for its students to expand their education and horizons. Students may take graduate-level courses, certificates of study, and even joint degrees in UPenn’s other schools. 

The self-initiated, 70-hour pro bono work requirement is also a way of developing legal skills while committing to public service. The Toll Public Interest Center also serves as the hub for Carey’s public interest projects, including pro bono work. 

UPenn was the first American college with strictly secular roots! The study of the classics was emphasized alongside the acquisition of practical competencies, a philosophy explained in Benjamin Franklin’s university founding document. If you want to know, its title is “Proposals Relating to the Youth of Pennsylvania.” 

New York University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

NYU Law School trains its JD students to become versatile professionals with the personal and professional capacity for leadership in their chosen field. Graduates can become successful practicing lawyers, committed public servants, big-time entrepreneurs, and politicians with JD degrees. Such versatility results from NYU’s emphasis on critical and creative thinking, interdisciplinary and international perspective, and experiential learning. 

NYU Law’s Lawyering Program is unique in legal education because it teaches students real-world skills vital to success in the practice of law. The lessons cover financial literacy, client relations, and marketing, to name a few, that will soon become valuable for JD graduates/future lawyers. 

NYU sends more students to foreign colleges and universities than any other American institution. Class 2020, for example, had 47% of its students study abroad. 

University of California Berkeley

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

The JD program is UC Berkeley Law School’s cornerstone partly because it has produced many of the best leaders in its public and private sectors. Earl Warren, Pauli Murray, and Edwin Meese are notable alumni who learned under the program’s rigorous, experiential and engaging curriculum. 

Real-world focus is at the heart of the JD program, and it’s expressed in multiple ways, from student-run journals and clinics to university-sponsored think tanks and externships. Experiential education strengthens the solid theoretical foundation built from the first legal course. 

The California Gold Rush may have started from a gold nugget found at the Bancroft Library. 

University of Virginia

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

UVA’s School of Law is the country’s second-oldest continuously operating law school, with no less than Thomas Jefferson establishing it in 1819. Distinguished lawyers in the public and private sectors, from the government to business, technology, and health, have trained here! UVA instills the value of integrity, leadership, and community service and encourages the cooperative spirit that results in a strong network. 

The proof of UVA’s excellence in legal education is in the graduate outcomes – and UVA has the numbers to prove it ! According to ABA, the Class of 2020 had among the highest percentage of graduates hired directly after graduate school to federal clerkships or law firms with 500 or more lawyers. 

UVA’s unofficial mascot is the Wahoos, originally an insult hurled at the football players but adopted by the school as its second mascot. The official mascot is the cavaliers. 

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Academic excellence and intellectual rigor are the hallmarks of the student experience in UMich’s JD program. This is reflected in the structured curriculum, emphasizing theory and practice or didactic and experiential learning. Students must develop their critical thinking, analytical thinking, and communication skills to analyze complex legal issues. 

The program has a strong international perspective that manifests itself in multiple ways. Many faculty members are involved in international and comparative law, both in UMich and national and international institutions. Students can work and study abroad in places as diverse as Switzerland and Tanzania. 

US Supreme Court Justices George Sutherland, William Rufus Day, and Frank Murphy are notable alumni. The bar passing rate is 93% and above, and the 10-month employment rate is about 98%. 

Duke University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Duke’s academic programs are known for their innovative curriculum and rigorous content, and its JD program isn’t different in these respects. The JD program screens candidates so that only the cream of the crop is accepted, which contributes to its impressive graduation outcomes. Indeed, your legal career starts here! 

Duke Law has 11 clinical programs that complement its extensive externship opportunities. While the curriculum has a fairly structured design, students are provided with ample opportunities to build their program of study. The clinical program is notable for its public interest-centric services in several distinct areas that serve as the students’ training grounds in real-world lawyering. 

Examples of these clinics are the Community Enterprise Clinic, Immigrant Rights Clinic, and Start-Up Ventures Clinic. The clinic program strengthens the idea that Duke is a community for and of lawyers! The lawyers here are in different careers, from lawyers-in-training to established lawyers in the academe, public service, and private practice. 

Duke students burn benches when the Blue Devils win over the University of North Carolina! The bonfire happens at Abele Quad. 

Northwestern University 

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Offered at the Pritzker School of Law, Northwestern’s JD program is known for its practical philosophy and extremely competitive admission. Applicants with at least two years of work experience are strongly preferred, with the student profile showing such preference. More than 70% have more than two years of experience, while about 90% have at least a year of experience; the rest were accepted under special circumstances. 

Aside from being the oldest law school in Chicago, Northwestern Law is also a pioneer in offering a two-year JD program for international students. Candidates must be lawyers in their own countries as a minimum requirement. International students enroll in the required first-year curriculum to integrate as a cohort like their American counterparts. The second-year coursework consists of elective requirements. 

Northwestern is among the country’s most innovative institutions, impacting millions of people! Its therapeutics innovations, for example, impacts more than 10 million patients. Northwestern earns $2.2 billion in revenue from its intellectual property and patents. 

University of California – Los Angeles

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

UCLA’s JD program has all the hallmarks that make the public research university among the best in the country. A tradition of innovation, a close-knit community, and world-renowned faculty contribute to the conducive learning environment. The faculty and student body diversity contribute to the intense but respectful intellectual discourse in and out of the classroom. Plus, UCLA has competitive tuition with plenty of financial aid options, so students graduate with little to no debt! 

UCLA offers an exceptional range of student support services in line with its commitment to student success. Examples are the academic support workshops, GAT study groups, academic counseling, and Constitutional Law Section 9. 

Law students can experience extreme stress during finals week, but there’s a stress-relieving solution! The Midnight Yell allows all UCLA students to shout at midnight as loud as they can, a way of relieving stress or taking a break from the books!

Cornell University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Cornell Law School may be among the country’s smallest top-tier programs, but therein lies its primary strengths! About 200 students graduate every year with exceptional legal knowledge and lawyering skills. The graduate outcomes are impressive, too, with most students passing the bar and being hired in large law firms and other prestigious companies. 

The JD program has about 600 students, so there’s a close-knit community of learners that thrive on collaboration, not competition. As Cornell says, they are serious about the legal profession but certainly not stuffy, elite in its rankings but not elitist. 

Cornell has more than 20 practicum courses and clinics designed to gain practical lawyering skills. Examples include the Immigration Law and Advocacy Clinic, Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, and Gender Justice Clinic. 

Students choose a concentration during their third year of studies, too. The choices are Advocacy, Business Law and Regulation, Conflict Resolution, General Practice, Law, Inequity, Structural Exclusion, Public Law, and Technology and Law. 

Cornell’s current Ithaca location would not have happened if not for its founder’s mugging experience at Syracuse! 

Georgetown University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Georgetown University Law Center assures its JD students of exciting experiences, thanks partly to the university’s proximity to the nation’s political powerhouse, literally! The US Capitol and Supreme Court are a short walk from the university, and numerous international firms, law firms, and non-government organizations are in Washington, DC Didactic coursework becomes more exciting when its real-world applications are right at your doorstep! 

Georgetown takes pride in its intellectual community, where debates, discourses, and scholarly activities are encouraged. Students can have a direct hand in shaping history, too, such as drafting legislation and assisting lawyers in preparing for Supreme Court hearings. 

There’s a Georgetown tradition that students must never walk down, much less stand on, the middle of the Georgetown seal in the Healy Hall entrance or risk not graduating. 

Vanderbilt University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Vanderbilt Law School only accepts around 175 students to its annual JD program cohort with its highly selective admission process. With more than 84% of its Class of 2020 obtaining full-time, long-term employment nine months after degree completion, it’s also an impressive success rate among the universities. 

Students enjoy a balance between studies and play through active participation in one or more of the 45 student organizations. Social events complement the lectures, seminars, and presentations organized by these organizations.

There’s also the opportunity to become part of the highly-regarded Vanderbilt Law Review, the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, and the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. 

The campus landmarks are named after notable people whose contributions to Vanderbilt are recognized via these structures. The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center (BCC), for example, is in honor of Joseph Johnson, the university’s first Black student. 

University of Texas – Austin

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Texas Law’s highly selective admission – 17.5% for the Class of 2022 – results in its JD students receiving intensive, comprehensive, and workplace-ready legal education. More than 90% of graduates secure full-time, long-term employment nine months after earning the degree, and it does not include the success of solo practitioners. 

The student body is among the youngest, too, with the average age being 24, while out-of-state students comprise one-third of the student population. Texas Law must reserve 65% of its first-year slots for Texas residents as required by state law. 

Students can expand their educational horizons by taking courses in other schools in UT Austin or pursue a dual degree in Texas Law. There are study abroad opportunities, too. 

UT Texas has a deep love for animals! The Tower Girl, a falcon living at the UT Tower, and Domino, the campus cat, are considered university icons. Domino is even a well-loved pet among students and faculty who feed and take care of it. 

Washington University in St. Louis

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

WashULaw is among the oldest continuously operating law schools in Missouri and, through the years, has established a reputation for brilliance in legal education. Many of its alumni have attained prominence in government, business, and the judiciary, such as Michael Cherry, Richard B. Teitelman, and Luther Ely Smith. 

Every upper-class JD student can tailor their legal education based on their interests and aspirations through a combination of clinics, externships, and joint degrees. WashULaw has 11 clinics, seven externship programs, and seven joint-degree programs aside from the wide variety of electives to choose from. The concentrations offered contribute to the individualized program of study, too, with choices like Commercial and Consumer Law, Intellectual Property and Technology Law, and Bankruptcy. 

During the 1918 flu pandemic, the Red Cross used WashU’s Graham Chapel to make masks on a large scale. 

Boston University

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

BU Law is a truly progressive school! Aside from being the second-oldest law school in The Bay State, it was also among the first who admit students regardless of their race and gender. This was a revolutionary idea – the late 1870s – when minorities and women were barred from most law schools. The tradition of excellence and acceptance is as strong as ever in its rigorous JD program. 

Students can combine their JD degree with another degree and, thus, expand their career options. BU Law has 17 dual degree programs and partnerships with foreign universities. 

BU established its Law School in 1872, the second school in its system. BU Law is the first law school that introduced entrance requirements and the three-year curriculum in legal education. 

University of Southern California 

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

The USC Gould School of Law is one of the country’s oldest law schools, with its origins traced to 1896. Through the years, it has evolved to become an outstanding law school that offers an exemplary JD Program with a challenging curriculum. Graduates are known for their work ethic, proficient understanding of the law, and extensive entry-level lawyering experience. 

USC Gould has a customizable curriculum so that every student has a unique course of study. Students choose an area of concentration, work with clients during their externship and clinic experiences, and even earn certificates.  

Although the GPA cutoff for every class’s top 10% is published, there are no individual class rankings. Students in the top 10% become members of the Order of the Coif. 

Look up at the Gwynn Wilson Student Union building, and you will see a monkey gargoyle tumbling his nose at Rufus von KleinSmid’s bust! The reported reason: the building’s architect squabbled with the past university president!


What is the jd degree.

Known as the American law degree because of its origins, the JD degree is a three-year professional degree considered as the minimum educational level for lawyers. In a way, this is a professional doctorate, but it isn’t a research doctorate, so JD degree holders aren’t conferred the “Doctor” title.

Graduates of JD law programs must take the bar exam and pass it before practicing law. While there are still no bar exams for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, many states have already adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). These states include Alabama, Alaska, District of Columbia, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia, and Washington.

Facilitated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the UBE is a standardized bar exam for aspiring lawyers who want to practice law. The UBE score can be applied in the jurisdictions that adopted it, but every jurisdiction usually has additional licensure requirements. Note that the term “uniform” in UBE is a misnomer since each jurisdiction has responsibility for certain areas of the exam and its requirements, including:

The JD degree is also different from the esquire designation and the LLM degree. The term “esquire,” as used in American society, means a lawyer with an active bar membership and who can practice law. The JD degree is the first step toward becoming an esquire – you need to pass the bar after graduation to earn the old-fashioned title.

Lawyers typically earn a Master of Laws (LLM) degree with a JD degree. The LLM degree has a more specialized and concentrated focus than the JD degree, too, since students gain additional training on specific areas of the law. The one-year LLM degree programs may offer concentrations in corporate law or international law. Many LLM programs also have a theoretical approach and, thus, require their students to finish a thesis.

What are the benefits of a JD degree?

While the JD degree is among the most challenging professional degrees, its rewards are also fulfilling, both financially and non-financial sense. The law profession is among the most respected in modern society, with lawyers being held in high esteem for their integrity, extensive knowledge, and professionalism.

Lawyers also have a reliable professional in that jobs tend to be in abundance for, after all, there are always laws that must be upheld! There are also many specializations to choose from, so it’s possible to shift to another specialization for more rewarding job opportunities.

Lawyers are among the highest-paid professionals with a median annual wage of $126,930 per year (May 2020). Lawyers may also receive stock options, professional fees, and retirement savings plans as benefits depending on the company and type of work. JD degree holders also have other career options, such as becoming a law teacher, working as a law consultant or compliance officer, and pursuing a writing career.

But it’s also important to seek realistic expectations about the cost of a JD degree! Tuition and other college fees are the biggest concern, followed by the time, energy, and effort needed to complete the rigorous program.

JD_Doctor of Law - fact

What’s the typical time-to-graduate period?

The typical JD program can be completed in three years for full-time students. But it can take at least four years for a part-time student to earn the degree.

But some universities offer an accelerated two-year program like Columbia, Fordham, Rutgers, and Drexel. Students can start their first year in the JD program in these institutions after completing their third year of undergraduate studies.

What Is the typical curriculum for JD programs?

The curriculum focuses on the law and its various areas, including:

The rigorous didactic coursework demands above-average oral and written communication skills and critical and analytical thinking skills. Students must participate in classroom discussions actively, perhaps even engage in productive debates with their fellow learners. Internships are also common in most schools offering a JD program.

Many of the best law schools also allow students to simultaneously pursue the JD degree and another graduate degree, usually complementary. The most common examples are JD with a Doctor of Philosophy (JD/Ph.D.), JD with a Masters of Business Administration (JD/MBA), and JD with a Masters of Public Policy (JD/MPP).

What are the common requirements for admission into a JD program?

Note that most law schools have a selective admission process. Applicants will be evaluated based on their overall past performance and future potential based on their GPA, LSAT score, and community involvement, among other factors.

Dr. Jared Goff Chief Editor

Top Online Juris Doctorate Programs

What are the best online schools for doctorate in law (Juris Doctor)?

Also sometimes known as the doctor of jurisprudence, the juris doctorate (JD) degree serves as lawyers' primary professional preparation (and prerequisite) for taking the bar exam and obtaining licensure to practice law. A professional rather than a research doctorate, the JD affords both broad and specialized knowledge of the legal system and cultivates skills in legal writing and analysis, court procedure, and public speaking.

JD graduates typically pursue lucrative careers as lawyers, judges, consultants, or professors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers earned a median annual salary of nearly $123,000 in 2019 -- a figure several times higher than the national median for all professions.

Top Juris Doctorate Programs Online

What is a juris doctorate.

The JD serves as the terminal professional degree for legal studies. Like on-campus equivalents, an online JD degree typically takes about three years to finish and requires students to complete core and specialized coursework, internships, and a legal paper.

Most online JD students pursue this degree as a prerequisite for taking the bar exam and becoming lawyers, although other professionals become arbitrators, hearing officers, law professors, and judges. The JD can also serve students seeking careers in business, consulting, and politics. Read on to learn more about the personal and professional benefits of an online JD.

Why Get a Juris Doctorate?

Pursuing a JD provides various advantages, including access to the bar exam, a professional community, and diverse practice areas. The JD also typically yields career and salary advancement.

Accreditation for a Juris Doctorate

The U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes various national and regional accrediting agencies which evaluate the academic rigor and quality of U.S. higher educational institutions. Eligible students at schools bearing institutional accreditation from these agencies can receive federal financial aid.

Higher-caliber, academic schools typically maintain regional accreditation, while professional and religious schools often hold national accreditation. Most schools and employers consider national accreditation less prestigious than regional accreditation. Keep in mind that regionally accredited schools typically only accept transfer credits and degrees from other regionally accredited schools.

Good law schools are typically accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). To determine accreditation status, consult the ED's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Schools .

Courses for a Juris Doctorate

JD programs provide comprehensive understanding of the legal discipline and system. Core curricula cover many legal studies topics, including constitutional law, civil procedure, international law, and torts. Most programs also include coursework on professional ethics, criminal law, business law, and legal writing.

JD students may take some general courses in politics or government or complete some specialized coursework in a chosen concentration. Specialized courses may cover topics such as immigrant advocacy, international and comparative law, or entertainment and media law. Most JD programs also incorporate an internship or practicum that meets state licensure requirements. To graduate, candidates usually must complete a publishable paper.

See below for common coursework in JD programs:

Typically part of first-year law school requirements, these courses focus on infringements of rights that lead to liability based upon fault. Courses often cover assault and battery, trespassing, false imprisonment, and privileges. This course also surveys negligence-based tort categories such as limitation of duty, standard of care, causation, and comparative negligence. Enrollees learn about survival, wrongful death, damages, and strict liability. This foundational course familiarizes law students with liability fundamentals needed to understand and prepare prosecution or defense for many lawsuits.

Constitutional Law

This core course examines the law, history, and development of the U.S. Constitution. Learners assess constitutional principles and interpretation and analysis methods. This course also explores the Constitution's basic doctrine dictating rights protection and governmental structure. Enrollees discuss topics including religious freedom, due process, separation of powers, and equal protection.

International Trade Law

Focused on international trade legal policy and practice, this course covers policy issues including trade and national security, globalization and protection of environments and local cultures, and labor and human rights issues. This course also explores practical topics such as antidumping, intellectual property rights, services and agriculture trade, and foreign competition. Future lawyers and aspiring international trade professionals benefit from this course.

Civil Procedure

Exploring the steps and stages of civil litigation proceedings, this core course discusses subjects such as the right to a jury trial, disposition without a trial, appeals and post-trial motions, and pleadings. The course also typically covers jurisdiction, diversity cases, and preclusive effects of judgments. Civil procedure helps aspiring legal professionals understand how to counsel clients in civil litigation.

Legal Internship

Law programs typically require legal internships that allow students to gain on-the-job skills and apply knowledge acquired during coursework. Many programs require students to complete case work through a law clinic before undertaking a full internship that may entail representing clients. Internships typically include a classroom component in which legal interns engage in reflective writing and discussion, receive faculty supervision and mentorship, and cultivate advanced litigation skills.

How Much Do Juris Doctorate Graduates Make?

Many JD graduates obtain prestigious, high-paying legal careers as lawyers, arbitrators, and judges. Legal salaries vary considerably based on position, credentials, employer, and industry. Typical median salaries for these professionals fall into the $64,000-$123,000 range, according to the BLS. On the lower end of the scale, arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators made a $63,390 median salary in 2019.

Meanwhile, judges, hearing officers , and lawyers often earn over $120,000 annually. Judges typically possess considerable professional experience as lawyers. Professionals interested in education often pursue careers as law professors. Postsecondary teachers ' pay differs considerably based on position level, but BLS data indicates that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $79,540 in 2019.

Some JD graduates qualify for career and salary advancement by completing various specialized legal certification or master of laws programs.

Career and Salary Outlook for a Juris Doctorate

Many JD graduates obtain prestigious, high-paying legal careers as lawyers or judges. Due to high numbers of law school graduates, these positions are typically competitive. However, JD graduates can also work as court officers, mediators, or consultants. Other professionals pursue careers in fields such as taxation, business, public administration, or politics.

See below for descriptions of common law-related careers for online juris doctorate students.

Source: BLS

Scholarships for a Juris Doctorate

Prospective students can save on education expenses by qualifying for the many need-based, performance-based, and identity-based scholarships available for law school students. Eligible juris doctor program candidates may qualify for the sample scholarships below. Scholarships do not require repayment.

Turco Muñoz Domestic Violence Survivor Scholarship Who Can Apply : Students in law, social work, or related fields who want to help domestic violence victims may apply. Candidates need related advocacy experience in roles such as paralegal, social worker, advocate, or investigator. Applicants must submit a resume and recommendation letter. Amount : $1,000

Arent Fox Diversity Scholarship Who Can Apply : Second-year law students belonging to underrepresented groups and attending ABA-accredited U.S. law schools may apply. Eligible applicants must demonstrate strong academic performance, excellent communication skills, and leadership ability. Scholarship recipients must express eagerness to work at Arent Fox upon graduation. Amount : $20,000 and a salaried position at Arent Fox

Arthur Lockwood Beneventi Law Scholarship Who Can Apply : U.S. citizens enrolled in accredited U.S. law schools and maintaining 3.25 minimum GPAs may apply. Application requirements may include transcripts, recommendation letters, a list of extracurricular activities, and a 1,000-word personal statement outlining career objectives. Amount :$2,000

Pi Gamma Mu Scholarship Who Can Apply : Pi Gammu Mu members within their first two years of graduate study in criminal justice-related fields may apply. Applicants submit resumes, personal statements, three recommendation letters, and official transcripts. Amount :$1,000-$2,000

California Sea Grant State Fellows Program Who Can Apply : California university students nearing completion of a graduate degree and specializing in marine law, conservation, public policy, or stewardship of coastal environments may apply. Applicants submit transcripts, two curriculum vitae (personal and academic), an education and career-goal statement, and two recommendation letters. Amount : $2,400-$46,860


Located in San Diego, Thomas Jefferson School of Law trains lawyers and legal scholars in technological innovation and global issues. While the school does not offer an online JD degree, its 60-unit online JSD program provides an attractive option for current legal professionals who want to transition into academia.

The JSD program takes 3-5 years to complete, with most candidates receiving 20 transfer credits from their master’s degrees. Upon entering the program, candidates take six units of coursework in research methodology, dissertation writing, and American jurisprudence. They complete their dissertations afterward. The program includes independent research and writing guided by a supervisory panel and dissertation advisor.

Applicants to the program must hold both a JD and an LLM, JSM, or MSL. They must also have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA in their master’s program. Admission requirements include a resume, personal statement, and transcripts. Thomas Jefferson is accredited by the State Bar of California


The University of Dayton is home to one of the first online JD degree programs accredited by the American Bar Association. UD’s hybrid program employs a combination of live instruction, interactive video classes, and online course materials. Students attend ten on-campus learning sessions during the four-year program.

UD provides comprehensive training for future lawyers with a broad base of traditional core courses based on the Socratic method. First-year students take part in the Legal Profession Program, a course sequence that builds essential lawyering skills. Final-semester students tackle a simulated legal problem in a capstone course. A semester-long externship affords the opportunity to gain real-world experience. Additionally, students may undertake concentrations in a variety of subjects, including human rights law, criminal law, and business law.

Accepted applicants at UD achieved a median undergraduate GPA of 3.48 and a median LSAT score of 151. All applicants need to submit LSAT or GRE scores, transcripts, and a personal statement. Transfer students can receive credit for up to 30 semester hours.


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