KATIE HOLMES’ next starring role may be in a courtroom– but it won’t be on “Law & Order”!

The 34-year-old divorced mom has decided to make a major career change, sources say, and may soon be headed to law school!

“Katie started acting when she was a teenager, and she’s grown tired of that world,” said a source.

“She expressed a keen in­terest in law while splitting from Tom Cruise, and now that the divorce is finalized, she has the time, the money and the opportunity to go to school.

“More importantly, she wants to be a strong female role model for her daughter Suri.”

The “Dawson’s Creek” star sparked rumors of a career change when she was spotted sit­ting in a Big Apple courtroom on Jan. 9 while watching her prosecutor pal, Leigh Bishop, deliver an opening statement.

Katie – who’s been out of work since her Broadway play “Dead Accounts” closed on Jan. 6 – has been studying the high-powered attorney for some time, sources say.

What’s more, the legal profession is in her blood. Ka­tie’s father Martin is an attorney in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio, where he special­izes in divorce law.

The “Batman Begins” beauty is also close pals with her divorce attor­ney, Jonathan Wolfe, who helped her end her five-year marriage to Cruise quickly while retaining primary cus­tody of Suri, 6.

“Katie’s father always wanted her to be a doctor, but he’s thrilled she’s decided to follow in his footsteps,” said the source. “They’re even considering going into practice together.”