Law Schools and Programs in France

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Law Studies in France

Have you always dreamed of studying the law? Are you considering earning a portion of your degree as a study abroad or student exchange participant?  If so, you should definitely consider the beautiful country of France for your study abroad adventure.

France, or in official circles, the French Republic, is a sovereign nation and one of the most powerful countries in Western Europe, one that also includes several overseas regions and territories.  Mainland or metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea; and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, the others being Spain and the North African country of Morocco.
By total geographic area, France is the largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the third-largest country in Europe as a whole. Its population, totaling nearly 65 million, makes France the fourth most-populous European country.  

France is organized as a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the nation's largest city and one of the world’s most important cultural and commercial centers. The current Constitution of France, adopted by referendum on 4 October 1958, establishes the country as secular and democratic, with its sovereignty derived from the people.

France has been a major power in Europe since the Late Middle Ages. It possessed the second-largest colonial empire during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Throughout its long history, France has produced many influential artists, thinkers, and scientists, and remains a prominent global center of culture. It hosts the world's fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites, drawing around 83 million foreign tourists annually—the most of any country in the world.  Much of France’s success can be attributed to its excellent system of education, particularly its higher education system, which ranks among the best in the world.

Legal Education in France

Students looking to gain a legal education will have scores of options when they decide to study abroad in France, a country that is home to several prominent law schools located in various parts of the country.  There students will find any number of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degree opportunities, with programs that cater to international students from around the world.

Most legal education programs in France span three years in duration.  The most demanding courses tend to fall in the first year of study, a time in which most students will take the majority of their core classes as mandated by the French equivalent to the American Bar Association.  Courses such as Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Property Law, Civil Procedure and Legal Writing lay the necessary groundwork for a career in law and the remainder of a student’s law school education, but these can also be the most difficult courses students will encounter.  All of the concepts of law are spelled out in these classes; everything else flows from this knowledge base. In many ways, these first few courses are the most important courses a student will take in law school, and will be the ones referenced most as a practicing attorney.

After the first year and a half in a French law school, students are typically free to take on more specialized courses such as Tax, Intellectual Property, or Environmental Law. Most schools in France offer legal clinics such as (the French equivalent to the) Bar Review or Moot Court.  Some schools place special emphasis on different areas of the law, such as trial practice, independent study or clinical experience. Occasionally, you may find a program that offers a joint degree, such as an MBA/JD (Master of Business Administration combined with a Law degree). Once you get past the first year or so, you can start getting into the areas of law that interest you most. You typically need 90 credits to graduate, and most classes are worth 3-4 credits.
The nature of the courses you will encounter will vary from one institution to the next. Some classes will be more structured than others, some will require more research and writing, and some will have only one test at the end of the semester. All classes will test your time management skills, your capacity for organized and analytical thought and your knowledge of the material presented. They will all be demanding in some fashion.

Upon graduating from law school, you will be awarded with a Juris Doctor (JD) law degree. However, like most professional careers, you will first need to become licensed to practice by taking the appropriate licensing exam in your area.  This can be a demanding examination, but rest assured the material covered in this test will not be new to you, as the education you’ll receive while attending law school in France will more than prepare you for both the exam and the promising career that lies ahead of you.

Why Study Abroad in France

Studying abroad in France will give you access to some of the best universities and professors in the world, but it will also give you the chance to visit some of the alluring sights and attractions for which France is so famous.  Some of these amazing sightseeing opportunities include:


Mont-St-Michel is one of France's most iconic images. Its features include its slender towers and the sky-scraping turrets of its abbey, all rising majestically from the stout ramparts and battlements.  The entire ensemble of Mont-St-Michelle promises you a sightseeing adventure that you won’t soon forget.

Eiffel Tower

No one could imagine Paris today without its signature spire, the one-of-a-kind Eiffel Tower.  At 320 meters in height, this emblematic symbol of France and its capital city of Paris was once the world’s tallest freestanding structure, until it was eclipsed by Manhattan’s Chrysler Building some four decades later. Gustave Eiffel built the tower that bears his name as an exhibit for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World Fair), and today, some 125 years later, it remains one of the most recognized structures of all time.  

Château de Chambord

For full-blown splendor and opulence, it’s hard to beat the Château de Chambord.  This glorious palace is one of the crowning jewels of the French Renaissance period of architecture, and by far the largest, grandest and most visited château in France’s Loire Valley.

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