Legal education

Painting depicting a lecture in a knight academy, painted by Pieter Isaacsz or Reinhold Timm for Rosenborg Castle as part of a series of seven paintings depicting the seven independent arts. This painting illustrates rhetorics.

Legal education is the education of individuals in the principles, practices, and theory of law. It may be undertaken for several reasons, including to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for admission to legal practice in a particular jurisdiction, to provide a greater breadth of knowledge to those working in other professions such as politics or business, to provide current lawyers with advanced training or greater specialisation, or to update lawyers on recent developments in the law.

Legal education can take the form of a variety of programs, including:

  • Primary degrees in law, which may be studied at either undergraduate or graduate level depending on the country.
  • Advanced academic degrees in law, such as masters and doctoral degrees.
  • Practice or training courses, which prospective lawyers are required to pass in some countries before they may enter practice.
  • Applied or specialised law accreditation, which are less formal than degree programs but which provide specialised certification in particular areas.
  • Continuing legal education, which do not lead to a qualification but provide practicing lawyers with updates on recent legal developments.


Early Western legal education emerged in Republican Rome. Initially those desiring to be advocates would train in schools of rhetoric. Around the third century BC Tiberius Coruncanius began teaching law as a separate discipline.[1] His public legal instruction had the effect of creating a class of legally skilled non-priests (jurisprudentes), a sort of consultancy. After Coruncanius' death, instruction gradually became more formal, with the introduction of books on law beyond the then scant official Roman legal texts.[2] It is possible that Coruncanius allowed members of the public and students to attend consultations with citizens in which he provided legal advice. These consultations were probably held outside the College of Pontiffs, and thus accessible to all those interested.[3]

Canon and ecclesiastical law were studied in universities in medieval Europe. However, institutions providing education in the domestic law of each country emerged later in the eighteen century.

In England, legal education emerged in the late thirteenth century through apprenticeships. The Inns of Court controlled admission to practice and also provided some legal training. English universities had taught Roman and canon law for some time, but formal degrees focused on the native common law did not emerge until the 1800s.[4]

Other Languages
العربية: تعليم قانوني
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Fap-ho̍k
한국어: 법학 교육
Bahasa Indonesia: Pendidikan hukum
日本語: 法学教育
português: Ensino jurídico
Simple English: Legal education
українська: Юридична освіта