I want to hang a shingle
July 29, 2008 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for information - books articles etc - on how to go about getting into law without having a college degree. Any suggestions thanks.
posted by pianomover to Education (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Here is an article.
posted by lee at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2008

This page (about taking the bar exam without graduating from law school) might be helpful.
posted by cider at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2008

If you're just wanting to "get into law", experience that world, but not actually be a lawyer you may consider looking into a Paralegal educational program. There are some that are as short as 6 months.
posted by alcoth at 1:30 PM on July 29, 2008

Are you looking to get into law school without an undergraduate degree, or to sit for the bar without a law school degree?

Thomas M. Cooley Law School admits students with an associate's degree or two years toward a bachelor's.

A few states allow you to sit for the bar after "reading law," or apprenticing, with a licensed lawyer for a few years instead of attending law school. I recall that when I looked into this it appeared that an undergraduate degree was a requirement for participating in these programs, but I don't have a source handy.
posted by enn at 1:33 PM on July 29, 2008

Many law schools feature combined bachelors programs.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:38 PM on July 29, 2008

Some lower-tier law schools will accept you without an undergrad degree. A co-worker went to UWLA for that reason--though I think there were additional requirements beyond the standard three-year program that she had to fulfill.
posted by serialcomma at 1:40 PM on July 29, 2008

I assume "getting into law" does not mean "holding oneself out as an attorney." Though "hang[ing] a shingle" implies that is what you want to do.

MasterShake correctly points out that law licenses are taken pretty seriously. California, for example, takes a pretty hard stance. Although I haven't looked up all the relevant sources, I'd wager every state has some jail time involved for egregious instances of the unauthorized practice of law (UPL).

True, lawyering -- like most professions -- began with apprenticeships and little by way of formal education. As it stands now, most states -- but not all (see, California) -- require graduation from an American Bar Association certified law school as a prerequisite for licensure. The place to start would be your state's requirements for licensure which can be found at your state's bar association.
posted by GPF at 1:47 PM on July 29, 2008

I find this happening more and more, what I am typing in my mind does not translate to the page. I proofread and see it as I think it should be, come back later and aughh. I want to get into law school, or if possible take the bar exam (California) without an undergraduate (BA or other) degree. Thanks again.
posted by pianomover at 5:05 PM on July 29, 2008

Sorry for the late follow-up.

I found the google search, ("law school" "without a college degree"), fruitful. For example:


Some of the results are kind of spammy, but I'll leave it to you to evaluate them with the above advice in mind. It appears that getting a law license without any law school might be more feasible than law school without an undergraduate degree. You might just have to trawl through all the law schools in CA and evaluate their enrollment criteria. My guess -- and only a guess -- is that they would make an exception to a degree requirement in very few cases.
posted by GPF at 9:03 AM on August 8, 2008

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