An masters of legal studies degree involves two years of study at an accredited institution. The A masters in legal studies degree is generally for professionals who wish to study law without becoming attorneys or lawyers. This program is specifically designed to introduce students to legal theory and the USA justice system. As such, it meets the needs of people who do not necessarily practice law but need a good understanding of it.
Legal Studies Education and Training
What is legal studies? Students in the program learn about how the law has changed and adapted with regards to social upheavals and movements. Subjects covered include ethics, trademark law, professional responsibility, and private sector compliance. Some programs enable students to choose specific fields. Examples of these are legal management, regulation and governance, crime, or conflict resolution. Students have to pass a final examination and, in certain programs, a thesis must also be completed.
To gain admission to a Masters of Legal Studies program, it is necessary to first earn a Bachelors degree. Furthermore, applicants must submit GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. In lieu of these, certain schools will accept successful completion of the Law School Admissions Test. A statement of purpose and letters of recommendation may also be called for.
During the first year of study, various courses are taken. These include Law and Literature, Cyberlaw, conflict resolution, human rights law, theory and practice of negotiation, and research methods. If the program permits students to choose their specific fields, the final year will vary according to these choices.
Careers in Legal Studies
Certain industries are experiencing rapid growth and employees with a good knowledge of the law are required to fill numerous positions. For example, the environmental, technical, and health care industries are currently booming and therefore have a high demand for law-oriented professionals.
A person who holds a Masters of Legal Studies degree can look forward to a buoyant market of job opportunities. People usually enroll for this program for one of two reasons. Either they wish to enhance existing professions with knowledge about the law, or to embark on careers that require a background and/or knowledge of the law. Examples of such careers are newspaper reporter, legal advocate, paralegal manager, investigator, conflict resolution specialist, and human resources director.
Graduates who have good communication skills can become effective conflict resolution specialists. This occupation involves acting as an arbitrator or mediator to resolve conflicts in a variety of settings. Essentially, the mediator acts as both a lawyer and a counselor.
People skilled in conflict resolution can work in politics, private companies, or in family courts to resolve divorce or custody disputes. The objective is to settle disagreements out of court. In addition to a Masters degree, a mediator should also have other skills and training. This includes public policies, philosophy, occupational therapy, human resources management, and peace studies.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Growth
Taking a paralegal manager as an example, the average annual salary is US$43,040. However, the earning potential for someone with a Masters in Legal Studies can increase up to US$70,000 in a large firm. A legal advocate can expect to earn an average annual salary of US$41,760 but this figure will rise in accordance with the nature of the work and experience. The average hourly rate for an investigator is US$44.00. Experienced and highly skilled arbitrators with at least a masters of legal studies are earning an average of US$66,800 a year.
Legal Studies Programs
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
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