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Can you take law classes without attending law school?

New York, NY |

Recently someone was trying to offer me unwanted legal advice. For her credentials, she said she isn't a lawyer but she took a few law classes. Is that possible? Don't you need to attend law school to "take a few classes" in law?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

You can study law anywhere and anyhow. Courses of study toward a law agree must be accredited by a proper authority in order to have the courses count towards a law degree. So, yes, one can take courses, online or in person, or just read lawbooks. Jailhouses are full of such people, giving other inmates advice, for example. However, one cannot practice law without a license to do so in the state in which one is practicing.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


I would be skeptical of such advice. The person may have dropped out of law school / failed the bar or simply may not be admitted in NY. Regardless, don't rely on any advice from someone who is not an attorney.

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I agree that you should not take advice from someone who is not a lawyer. There is no reason the person can't have taken a few law classes and may even have some knowledge of the law. However, leaving aside the question of the unauthorized practice of law, there are reasons you should be very skeptical of the advice of a non-lawyer. The law is not a static body of knowledge like Greek philosophy, but is always changing, sometimes in very sudden, important ways. What your friend may have picked up in her law school class may no longer be the law today. New doctrines are constantly being developed and old cases are constantly being overturned. Only a lawyer who is actively practicing in a particular area can keep up with all the changes in the law. You should not only consult a lawyer, but consult a lawyer experienced in the area that concerns you.

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