Studying law in the United States is very different from studying law in many other countries. In various countries, students begin their law studies immediately following graduation from high school or secondary school; most universities in other countries require only a high school diploma or the equivalent in that country to admit students to their law faculties. In the US, however, law is a professional academic field, the equivalent of a graduate degree in other parts of the world.
Law schools in the US are part of public or private universities that grant Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees. The Juris Doctor program generally lasts three years for full-time students and four years for part-time students. The first year of law school is generally considered to be the most difficult because of the core classes, exams, and the Socrates method. The Socrates method is a method used in most law school classes in which the professor cold calls on students to state a case or respond to a case-based question. This intimidates many students, particularly international students, who might be afraid to speak up in class, but most international students do just fine.