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Legal Education in Alaska

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Alaska is the only state in the U.S. without a law school — but of course, there are lawyers in Alaska, right? This article discusses legal education options for those who live in Alaska or who wish to practice there in the future.

Law School Options for Undergraduates in Alaska

Those attending undergrad in Alaska may be able to enter an accelerated J.D. program through a partnership with an out-of-state law school. For example, the University of Alaska Anchorage partners with the following law schools to connect undergrads to a law school program:

In some of these programs, students begin their first year of law school during their final year of undergraduate studies. For full-time students, this shaves off a year of study — allowing you to finish your baccalaureate and law degree in six years.

In others, such as the Willamette Direct Admission program, UAA undergraduates who meet certain credentials are guaranteed admission to Willamette's law school. They also receive a renewable yearly scholarship of $10,000.

Keep in mind that, in any of these partnership programs, you'll have to move to another state to finish your law degree. If you wish to stay in Alaska, you might consider an online J.D. program. Although fully online law degree programs are scarce and even fewer have ABA accreditation, a hybrid program where you only have to travel to your law school a few times a year may be a good option.

If you attend another west coast school, you might still find work experience opportunities in Alaska. For example, the Seattle University School of Law offers externships with the Alaska court system's Family Law Self-Help Center and Alaska Legal Aid.

The Alaska Bar Exam

For those already in law school somewhere else or who have their heart set on a certain school, don't worry. Admission to practice in Alaska is similar to many other jurisdictions. You can complete your studies wherever you are and still take the bar in Alaska.

Those who wish to take the Alaska bar exam must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school. Alaska is a Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) jurisdiction, so you can either sit for the exam in Alaska or take the bar in another UBE state and transfer your score.

Different states set their own passing scores for the UBE — in Alaska, you need at least a 280.

Looking Ahead

Choosing where you attend law school is just the beginning of your journey to becoming a professional in the legal field. As you make your way through law school, you'll learn new ways to study, build your resume through extracurriculars and work experience, and prepare for the bar exam. FindLaw for Law Students provides free tips and resources for every step of your law school journey and beyond.

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