Legal education abroad is distinguished by the high cost and difficulty of studies. Moreover, it is often necessary to pass several exams before you could start working in a specialty, for example, in the USA and Canada. An important factor when applying for a law program is a high level of language proficiency. If a student plans to stay in the country of study, it is necessary to know the local language perfectly for further employment.

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Description of the specialty

To become a lawyer, you must be able to convey and defend your point of view, think analytically and critically, have writing and research skills, persistence and creativity. In turn, the profession of a lawyer has many advantages:

  • High salaries (in most countries);
  • Continuous intellectual development;
  • Prestige and status in society;
  • The ability to help others;
  • Job prospects.

Much depends on the place of work, but often lawyers overwork, especially in high-paying positions, speak in public and regularly read tons of literature and regulations.

Judges, lawyers, civil servants, teachers in universities, consultants at companies and mediators in disputes — these are just a few examples of positions for specialists in the field of law.

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Best law schools in the world 2021

View a list of the best law schools in other countries here.

Top European law schools
Information is exploratory. For accurate information, refer to the official website of the school.
41University of CambridgeUnited KingdomCambridge
from  28,742 USD
to  37,615 USD
from  15,397 USD
to  56,022 USD
62University of OxfordUnited KingdomOxford
from  6,442 USD
to  48,052 USD
from  5,679 USD
to  80,707 USD
93University College LondonUnited KingdomLondon
23,687 USD
23,416 USD
265University of EdinburghUnited KingdomEdinburgh
from  3,490 USD
to  39,541 USD
from  5,629 USD
to  63,314 USD
287King's College LondonUnited KingdomLondon
from  11,394 USD
to  40,575 USD
from  9,633 USD
to  66,443 USD
519London School of Economics and Political ScienceUnited KingdomLondon
28,738 USD
from  13,784 USD
to  49,252 USD
781Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenBelgiumLeuven
from  1,358 USD
to  7,497 USD
from  1,044 USD
to  10,322 USD
844Leiden UniversityNetherlandsLeiden
from  11,643 USD
to  17,602 USD
from  19,249 USD
to  21,296 USD
12018Queen Mary University of LondonUnited KingdomLondon
from  11,394 USD
to  30,980 USD
from  9,423 USD
to  60,296 USD
35918University of Paris 1 Pantheon-SorbonneFranceParis
3,010 USD
4,096 USD
Top Asian law schools
Information is exploratory. For accurate information, refer to the official website of the school.
241University of TokyoJapanTokyo
4,111 USD
from  4,087 USD
to  22,124 USD
421National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
28,327 USD
28,327 USD
491Tsinghua UniversityChinaBeijing
4,443 USD
from  4,158 USD
to  11,061 USD
521Seoul National UniversitySouth KoreaSeoul
from  3,733 USD
to  6,940 USD
from  4,189 USD
to  9,212 USD
552Peking UniversityChinaBeijing
4,205 USD
from  4,065 USD
to  13,175 USD
871University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
18,626 USD
18,626 USD
992The Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongShatin
18,499 USD
18,499 USD
1004Fudan UniversityChinaShanghai
from  8,368 USD
to  24,855 USD
from  7,658 USD
to  12,254 USD
1091National Taiwan UniversityTaiwanTaipei
1,947 USD
1,923 USD
1184City University of Hong KongHong KongKowloon
15,309 USD
15,309 USD

Legal education by country

When choosing a country to receive legal education, it is necessary to keep in mind the differences between general and civil law. Another important factor is your future place of residence, as the curriculum is based on the legal system of the country of study. Universities also put high language requirements, because a lawyer deals with papers, speeches and constant communication.

Legal education in the United States and Canada
Path to a law degree in the United States and Canada is unique and unlike any other country. There is no bachelor's degree in law — it is believed that a student must first gain life experience and knowledge in other areas before pursuing legal studies. It is preferable to come with a background in political sciences, economics or sociology, but young specialists from all fields can enroll in legal programs. During their studies, students need to develop public speaking, analytical, writing skills and critical thinking. Thus, for admission, a foreign student must already have a bachelor's degree in any specialty. Upon completion of the undergraduate degree, applicants must register with LSAC and pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). Based on the results of the exam, the language certificate and other documents, students enter the three-year Juris Doctor (JD) program. If a foreign candidate is a Bachelor of Laws, then he can immediately enter the Master of Laws (LL.M.), as a rule, without passing the LSAT. Admission to LL.M. is easier than to JD, since LSAT score requirements are high, and for foreigners this is one of the most difficult exams. However LL.M. does not provide an opportunity to obtain a license after graduation. Therefore, if you are going to become a practicing lawyer in the USA or Canada, then JD is required. For more information on the conditions for obtaining a legal license in Canada, please read this, in the USA — this. An important factor is tuition fees. In the United States, JD has the opportunity to receive financial aid from law schools, and for LL.M. it is advisable to look for funding from external sources. It is difficult to enroll in a law school, but it is even more difficult to study there. During the study breaks, students are already actively seeking internships and part-time jobs in the legal field. However, even after graduation, it is still impossible to practice law. To obtain a license, you must pass a qualifying exam (bar examination). In Canada, additional evaluation stages must be passed in addition to the exam. They depend on the province, for example, in Ontario you must:
  • Work 10 months under the guidance of a licensed and qualified lawyer (articling) or
  • Complete the Law Practice Program (LPP) of the Law Society of Ontario. LPP consists of 4 months of study and 4 months of internship.
In the United States, newly minted lawyers choose the state in which they are going to work and register for the exam with the state council. The Bar exam lasts 2, sometimes 3 days, it is imperative to thoroughly prepare for it. After a successful examination, the specialist can begin to practice law. The next steps in education: Master's degree — Master of Laws (LL.M.) and doctoral studies — Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) The master's degree usually takes 1 year to complete and is aimed at a narrow specialization. Doctoral studies last for 2-5 years and open up opportunities in academic careers and teaching. It should be noted that legal education in the USA has a narrow specialization in comparison to other countries: here students focus on their area of law.
Law education in the United Kingdom
Legal education in the United Kingdom is divided between the common law system of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the hybrid common law system in Scotland. The first stage in education is:
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or
  • Bachelor in another specialization + one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (transfer course, GDL).
Further, education is divided into areas of future lawyers: solicitor and barrister. The difference between them lies in the responsibilities they perform. Solicitors provide legal support, advice and services to clients, while barristers represent individuals or organizations in court, conduct legal research and advise clients. Solicitors are considered lower rank lawyers as they handle paperwork most of the time and act as intermediaries between the client and the barrister. To become a solicitor, you need to take a Legal Practice Course, (LPC) or a Solicitor Apprenticeship, which lasts 6 years and includes the entire legal degree program and LPC. The internship allows students to obtain a Master of Laws (LL.M.). To become a barrister, you must complete all 3 components of training:
  • Academic (law degree);
  • Professional (usually Bar Professional Training Course, BPTC); from September 2020, new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is in place;
  • Internship (training at work)
International students also go through all these stages. Lawyers that graduated from non-British universities, are eligible to pass the GDL and after it LPC or BPTC. More information can be found here or on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website.
Legal education in Australia
To enroll in an Australian law school, you need 12 years of secondary education. Some universities offer a Foundation course, after which students with 11 years of school study enter the Bachelor of Laws, LL.B., sometimes Juris Doctor, JD. It can last for 3 years if the candidate already has a degree and 4 years for high school graduates.
To become a professional lawyer, you must also complete practical legal training. Master's and doctoral degrees are available for further professional and academic development.
Law education in the Netherlands
Studying law in the Netherlands begins with obtaining a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B), which lasts for 3 years. Then comes the Master of Laws( LL.M.) degree, lasting 1 year. In English, a bachelor's degree is offered by 4 universities: the University of Groningen, the Hague University of Applied Sciences, Maastricht and Tilburg universities.
Jurisprudence in the CIS (Russia)
In Russia, as in other CIS countries, legal education can be obtained at universities and colleges. However, universities are more prestigious and offer more job opportunities. The decision on the specialty of the student must be made in advance: for admission to a law program, universities take the Unified State Exam only in social studies or history. Further, the career of a lawyer can follow different scenarios, depending on the specialization. For example, to become a notary, you need to pass a qualifying exam, a lawyer — have work experience and also pass special exams.

Requirements for admission to law programs

Requirements for admission differ depending on the country, university and program. General criteria are as follows:

Cost of legal education in English

Budget legal education in English

CountryUniversityProgramsCost/yearin 2020
LithuaniaVilnius University Master of International and European Law3,260 USD
GermanyHumboldt-UniversitätInternational Dispute Resolution (LL.M.)Freeapplication fee + travel expenses = 342 USD
FranceSciences PoMaster in Economic Law15,972 USD
USAUniversity of the District of Columbia Doctor of Laws24,874 USDvery low cost for a USA based program
ItalySaint Anna School of Advanced Studies of PisaMaster in Human Rights and Conflict Management8,149 USDfull program
FranceCatholic University of LyonMaster in International Business Law9,779 USD
BelgiumKatholieke Universiteit Leuven Master of Laws6,519 USD
IrelandMaynooth UniversityBachelor of Law15,212 USD

Cost of legal education in other languages

NoAccording to QS ranking 2021CountryUniversityProgramBachelor’s/yearin 2020Language
43GermanyUniversity of Munich
  • German law;
  • European International Economic Law
Free141 USD feeGerman
47ArgentinaUniversity of Buenos Aires
  • Law;
  • Teaching Law
47BrazilUniversity of São Paulo
  • Law;
  • Law practice;
  • Development of legislation acts
49TaiwanNational Taiwan UniversityBachelor of Laws1,679 USDChinese
51-100GermanyFree University of BerlinBachelor of Laws (LL.B.)FreeGerman
51-100ChinaFudan University
  • Law;
  • Chinese business right
50000 RMBПриблизительноChinese
51-100JapanKyoto UniversityLaw4,120 USDJapanese
51-100RussiaLomonosov Moscow State University
  • Jurisprudence;
  • International law
6,448 USDfor Russian citizensRussian
51-100ItalyUniversity of Rome La Sapienza
  • Administrative;
  • European private law
1,087 USDItalian
51-100SpainComplutense University of Madrid
  • Law;
  • International law;
  • Financial law
11,952 USDApproximately Spanish

Foundation courses for law students

CountryDurationUniversityLanguage of InstructionCostin 2020
United Kingdom1 yearOxford Brookes University English17,122 USD
Malaysia1 yearManagement and Science UniversityEnglish4,690 USDfor local students. International students must request the information about the cost from the university
United Kingdom1 yearUniversity of Westminster English17,245 USD
Netherlands1 yearMaastricht University English15,212 USD
Ireland1 yearTrinity College DublinEnglish17,906 USD

Types of law programs

Most popular law programs

JurisprudenceGenerally, programs include constitutional and administrative law, contract law, criminal and civil law, private and public law. The study examines the jurisdiction, laws and regulations of the country in which the study is taking place.
International lawA set of rules, norms and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. Countries come together and formulate laws and regulations on a wide range of issues. However, as a rule, international law is advisory in nature, so the governments of the countries independently decide whether to implement and abide by international laws or not.
Business / commercial / entrepreneurial lawRegulates business relations between people. There are 2 different areas of business law:
  • Regulation of commercial organizations through laws on partnerships, companies, bankruptcy;
  • Regulation of commercial transactions through contract law.
Business law also prevents problems that could harm a business or cause legal disputes.

The most promising legal programs

The trend in the labor market is that due to the high competition among general lawyers, employers need more highly specialized professionals. In addition, the development of technology and modern problems of humanity are making their own adjustments to the formation of demanded specializations. For example, robotization of the sphere of law is gradually being introduced, namely, programs and systems that perform routine work: search and analysis of information, drafting contracts and claims. So in 2017, artificial intelligence replaced about 70% of all mid-level management staff working at Sberbank which also included lawyers[1].

ProgramDescriptionEstimated position / jobUniversities
Environmental LawRegulates human interaction with the environment from a legal standpoint, determines who and under what conditions can use natural resources, and develops environmental requirements for business activities.
  • Business support in the field of ecology, ethical products and green building;
  • Development of legislation, etc.
University of Eastern Finland, University of Dundee, University of Groningen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Keele University
Cyber ​​Law (Internet Law)Regulates relations related to the Internet. Any law or regulation related to the way people use computers, smartphones, the Internet and other related technologies is classified as cyber law.
  • Protection of rights in the field of IT (development, installation and maintenance of software, data exchange on servers and websites);
  • Protection of the rights of citizens in the electronic exchange of information;
  • Cyber ​​security activities, etc.
Loyola Marymount University, George Washington University,
University of Johannesburg, Universidad de Leon
Intellectual Property Law (Copyright Law)Enforces legal rights for inventions, creations and works of art.
  • Protection of clients in the sphere of intellectual property rights violations and patent disputes;
  • Registration of trademarks;
  • Drafting and registering assignment and license agreements, etc.
University of Melbourne, Hanken School of Economics, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, Jagiellonian University, BAUMAN Moscow State Technical University, University of Technology Sydney

Law degrees

Such degrees are designated differently from country to country. Bachelor’s degrees are usually called:

  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) — a degree in the field of laws in England and in most common law jurisdictions. For example, in Scotland, South Africa, Israel, Australia, New Zealand. Not used in the United States and Canada;
  • Juris Doctor, Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD, D.Jur. or DJur) is a professional degree in law and one of several doctoral degrees. Used in Australia, Canada, the United States, and some other common law countries.

Some regions offer both types of degrees (LL.B. and JD), such as Australia and Hong Kong.

Master of Laws (ML or LL.M.) — a postgraduate degree for those who already have an academic degree in law / professional degree in law / bachelor's degree in a related subject. In some jurisdictions, the Master of Laws is a required professional degree to begin legal practice.

Doctor of Law or Doctor of Laws. The name also depends on the country:

  • Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD or SJD) — Argentina, Canada;
  • Doctor juris (Dr. iur. or Dr. jur.) — Germany;
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) — Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Great Britain;
  • Juris Doctor (JD) — USA, Australia;
  • Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) — Canada, South Africa, Malta, Great Britain, Sweden.

Juris Doctor (JD) is a professional degree in North America. JD has academic status as a Professional Doctor in the United States and a Master's degree in Australia.

Learn more about degrees

Scholarships and free law education

Free law education can be found in countries that do not charge tuition fees. For example, in Germany, Austria and Norway, but there most programs are taught in the local language instead of English.

Another opportunity to study for free is scholarships and grants from the country of study. For example, the Turkish government offers the Turkey Burslari Scholarship, which covers 100% of the tuition fees and other expenses. Also Hungary and Germany provide free education to talented students through grants from Stipendium Hungaricum and DAAD. In Sweden, all PhD programs are free, among which you can find legal programs.

There are general and separate scholarships for law students from the universities themselves. For example, Dean’s Scholarship from the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney or grant CAHR at the University of York in the UK. Additionally, various competitions are held, for example, for writing an essay. Typically, they offer a one-time amount to help cover small expenses.

You can track current opportunities here and on the websites of universities.

Internships for lawyers

  • Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) corporation offers unpaid internships for students and lawyers in the United States. The duration is from 1 month to a year. Typically, applicants are residents of nearby cities or locals. The main requirements are knowledge of English, strong academic background and international experience.
  • Private organization Connect-123 offers paid internships in major capitals of the world. For Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Shanghai and Sydney, the program fee for 2020 is 2,850 USD excluding housing expenses. For Barcelona and Dublin — 3,097 USD per year. Connect-123 has a database of internships available which can be viewed here.
  • Internships Amnesty International has offices in London, Geneva, New York and other cities. Internships are offered in partnership with universities or work within the organization itself in the field of international law. Duration of internships — 4-6 months full-time or part-time[2].
  • International Bar Association offers a Legal Internship Program that is available to law students, doctoral students and young professionals at the offices of the International Bar Association in London, Washington and The Hague[3].

Employment prospects with a law degree

The career path in law largely depends on the country of study and further residence. In some countries, for example, in Canada and the USA, one cannot become a lawyer immediately after graduation — you must first pass the exams.

Despite the fact that the profession of a lawyer is popular among applicants, and the number of graduates is increasing every year, private and state structures almost always have vacancies and are looking for competent specialists. The main employers for lawyers are: courts, private law firms, government agencies, international organizations (UN, UNICEF, Council of Europe), non-profit legal organizations (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch), etc.

Responsibility for legal practice during studies usually falls on the student. Sometimes universities and professors give tips and help students, but mostly students are looking for internships and employment on their own.

How much does a lawyer earn?

CountryMin. salary / yearin 2020Avg. salary / yearin 2020
USAaccording to 2019 data59,670 USD122,960 USD
Great Britain24,626 USD86,226 USD
Australia50,779 USD74,599 USD
Canada38,520 USD79,522 USD
Hong Kong77,694 USD114,819 USD
South Korea36,002 USD84,556 USD
Germany43,027 USD101,048 USD
France47,373 USD110,827 USD
Czech Republic36,540 USD53,085 USD
Russiain major cities5,952 USD11,904 USD

Interesting facts about legal education

  • The word “Jurisprudence” comes from the Latin words jūris — “law” and prūdentia — “foresight, knowledge”. Legal education originates from ancient Rome, while the first textbook on jurisprudence is considered to be the Institutes by Gaius.
  • Sharia law is fully or partially implemented in the legislation of many Islamic countriesa religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the hadith.. For example, in Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar, UAE, Egypt. In the universities of these countries Sharia law is taught alongside the state law.
  • Of the 44 US presidents, 26 were lawyers. Some of the universities that have graduated the heads of state are Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Duke University Law School, Columbia Law School, University of Cincinnati College of Law.
  • In the modern world, many law graduates do not work in their specialty.This also happened in the past, among law graduates there were those who had achieved great success in another field. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, Lev Tolstoy, Honore de Balzac, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Anna Akhmatova, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Gottfried Leibniz, Alexander Alekhin studied to be lawyers.

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