According to the 2017 American Bar Association (ABA) data, there were 34,922 law school graduates in the United States. This number represents a reduction of 5.6% or 2,202 graduates, as compared to 2016. These numbers pale in comparison to the number of undergraduates with business degrees that totaled 364,000 in 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Comparing graduates of the above degrees is not a fair comparison. Law school is a seven-year process from first-year undergraduate to your law school diploma.
However, this is a way to study all things law-related without going to law school. There are programs at the master’s level that provide specializations in areas of law. You can pick and choose one that suits your current or future career. This degree supplies expertise in several professions. They apply to criminal justice, environmental issues, healthcare, tax accounting, energy, and more.
Master of Laws
If you have researched master’s level degrees in law, you may have encountered the LL.M. This degree, in most instances, is for applicants who have a law degree (JD) from a school accredited by the American Bar Association. The LLM acts as a supplemental degree for lawyers who have also passed the bar exam. This degree can provide additional education in a specialized topic that involves their law practice. There are also programs that adhere to general issues affecting the U.S. legal system.
There are other degrees to consider, and they are:
Master of Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is from the Latin word-juris prudentia meaning knowledge of the law. A Master of Jurisprudence (M.Jur.) degree will benefit professionals working in any legal environment. Places of work are judicial courts, juvenile and criminal justice, human resources, social work, healthcare, or the different levels of government.
Some concentrations match these various professional fields. Here are examples.
Criminal Justice: This program teaches students about criminal and constitutional law. Some courses involve prosecution law, capital punishment, criminal procedure, and mental health law.
Health Care: Examines compliance, risk management, ethics, and HIPAA Privacy laws. Individuals working in a healthcare administrative role could benefit from this specialty.
Military and National Security: Intended for the military, government, and corporate personnel who work on legal matters. You will learn about treaties, international law, and national security law.
There are campus and online programs available for the M.Jur. Degree. The online format is an advantage for working professionals, especially individuals interested in Wealth Management or Risk Management. Both offered at Texas A&M online only. The former degree weaves law and finance into the curriculum. The latter exposes you to specializations in financial institutions, anti-money laundering, and compliance.
Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
MLS is another option for individuals working in the legal profession and want to increase their knowledge. You cannot practice law without a law degree. However, this is a viable option to boost your career.
Similarly, this degree also offers specializations. Some of which are business law, criminal justice, cybersecurity, entertainment law, and sports law. The latter may interest those involved in NCAA compliance rules or representing athletes’ privacy and publicity rights. The Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Law specialization will immerse you in the relevant law and teach you the tools and skills to comply with legal requirements to protect information and data.
Master of Science
A Master of Science in Jurisprudence is for lawyers and non-lawyers. Individuals eager to advance their careers may choose from the healthcare, pharmaceutical, information technology, telecommunications, biotechnology, and financial services fields.
The above specializations allow graduates to seek positions in different types of companies in the private and public sectors. A short list of categories includes finance, consulting, healthcare, patents and trademarks, and risk management.
Master of Studies in Law (MSL)
This graduate degree has choices, depending on the college/university. For example, if the entertainment business sounds appealing, you can specialize in this area. You will graduate knowing more about publicity, copyrights, client contracts, trademarks, and more.
Professionals in healthcare may find this program beneficial for their career. You will become more knowledgeable about compliance, governmental involvement, administrative challenges, budgeting, Medicare, healthcare fraud, and hospital staff salaries.
These are just two of other concentrations available in an MSL degree.
A master’s level degree for non-lawyers is a means to boost your area of expertise. Specializations abound. One school with a significant number is the Master of Studies in Law at PittLaw. In addition to the courses in each of the nineteen specializations, students may take electives outside of their chosen specialty. These range from Biomedical & Health Services Research to Tax Law.