Masters in Law

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To practice law, you need to have a Jurist Doctor (JD) degree. Such a degree typically involves a three-year course of study, followed by certification through the appropriate Bar association. However, working as a full-time attorney is not for everyone, and is certainly not the only way to gain an in-depth understanding of legal issues. A master’s in law offers you the chance to become familiar with legal matters, without having to dedicate yourself strictly to a legal career.

Before beginning your search for graduate programs, you must first understand that there are different types of legal master’s degrees: A Master’s of Law and a Master’s of Studies in Law. A Master’s of Law degree (also known as an LLM) is an advanced program offered to those already practicing law that wish to specialise in a certain area or discipline. You typically already need to have a JD or some sort of equivalent first degree in law to qualify for such a program. Those seeking an LLM are usually attorneys looking to increase their earning potential and participate in research or academic opportunities. A Master’s of Studies in Law (often referred to as an MSL), on the other hand, is quite different. When speaking of a Master’s in Law, most are typically referring to an MSL.

What is a Master’s in Law?

An MSL is a graduate degree offered to those interested in expanding their legal knowledge relevant to a particular field or discipline. Some may complete this degree and then choose to go on to obtain a JD, but for the most part, it’s pursued by non-legal professionals. Even when working outside of the legal field, understanding the local, state, and federal statutes that apply to your career can give you untold freedom to both benefit your clients as well as your company.

Many equate an MSL program to the first year of a jurist doctor program. Indeed, the course typically only takes one calendar year to complete. In it, you acquire a foundational knowledge of legal principles and theories, followed by a specialised understanding of specific laws and legal systems.

Rather than simply being a comprehensive study of the entire legal system, an MSL program offers concentrations in certain disciplines. Depending upon your career path, you can choose to focus your studies in areas such as:

  • Business law
  • Criminal law
  • Labour law
  • Tort law
  • Sports and entertainment law
  • Constitutional law

These specialisations can help supplement your already existing knowledge to help make you a more attractive candidate to prospective employers.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Law?

Many may wonder why one would choose to pursue any sort of degree in law short of becoming a full-fledged lawyer. As was mentioned earlier, some simply want to expand their understanding of the law without starting their careers over as attorneys. Being an attorney may bring with it certain stresses that you may not find in other careers. Understanding how complex legal matters apply outside of a courtroom and in the everyday business world, however, can turn you into a valuable asset. While large companies and organisations may rely upon lawyers to provide them with certain types of assistance, that doesn’t necessarily mean that attorneys are their sole source of legal knowledge.

In many cases, those pursuing an MSL are mid-career professionals who are looking to better understand how the law affects their particular industries. They are used as consultants by both their own firms as well as outside companies to help determine the legality of new policies and practices before they are implemented. Often, academics will also seek an MSL to bolster their resumes with legal credentials. In general, any career path in which the work is overseen by some regulatory statute can benefit by one having increased legal knowledge.

Aside from gaining further knowledge and insight, an MSL can also make you a more prized asset on the job market. Companies are constantly on the lookout for prospective hires that can help them in regulatory compliance. Bringing such a skillset to the table can dramatically increase your earning potential.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect with a Master’s in Law?

As was mentioned earlier, many MSL candidates are already firmly established in a career, and are simply looking for knowledge that will help support the current work that they are doing. Yet an MSL can also be the perfect way for you to alter your career path. If you’ve grown tired of the direction that you’re currently heading in, getting an MSL can open doors to new opportunities within your chosen field. For example, if you work on the clinical side of healthcare, getting an MSL may help you transition into healthcare administration. If you are a journalist, then an MSL may allow you to expand your skills to cover civil or criminal proceedings or offer expert opinions on popular legal topics. If you are a law enforcement official, you can also greatly benefit from an MSL. Gaining a fundamental knowledge of criminal legal procedures helps support the cases you investigate and process.

There are many advanced career opportunities out there to be explored. An MSL could be the ideal tool to help you take advantage of them.

University of Southampton

Southampton, United Kingdom

  • 67SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 24,272Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

University of Southampton (Southampton) is a public institution located along the University Road in Southampton, United Kingdom. Southampton offers a wide range of master's degree programs across its five academic faculties namely: Arts and Humanities; Engineering and Physical Sciences; Environmental and Life Sciences; Medicine; and Social Sciences....

University of Birmingham

Birmingham, United Kingdom

  • 69SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 16,962Average Tuition
  • 70%Acceptance Rate

The University of Birmingham is located in the heart of England with campuses in the Edgbaston and Selly Oak areas of the city of Birmingham. Birmingham University offers over 350 different courses in its undergraduate program; 400 postgraduate taught courses; 140 research courses and 450 PhD opportunities....

University of California - Irvine

Irvine, United States

  • 76SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 28,000Average Tuition
  • 30%Acceptance Rate

The University of California - Irvine is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities with a campus in Irvine; a suburban area in California, U.S.A. Through its faculties, the university offers over master’s degree programs....

University of Buckingham

Buckingham, United Kingdom

  • 89SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 19,321Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of Buckingham (UB) is one of UK’S oldest private universities located in the city of Buckingham, England. Through its 14 academic schools, the university offers master’s programs in a wide variety of disciplines....

University of West London

London, United Kingdom

  • 93SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 12,925Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

University of West London with campuses in Ealing and Brentford in London, UK offers undergraduate and postgraduate studies through its eight schools: the London School of Film, Media & Design; Claude Littner Business School; School of Computing and Engineering; London College of Hospitality and Tourism; Ealing Law School; London College of Music; College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare; School of Psychology, Social Care and Human Sciences....

University of Gloucestershire

Cheltenham, United Kingdom

  • 105SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 17,415Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

University of Gloucestershire (Gloucestershire) has multiple campuses across Gloucestershire and Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Students at Gloucestershire are offered a wide range of master’s degree programs through its 8 academic schools, including: School of Art and Design; School of Liberal and Performing Arts; School of Natural and Social Sciences; and the School of Media....

Trinity College Dublin

Dublin 2, Ireland

  • 113SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 14,946Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is located in Dublin, Ireland. Situated in the multicultural European Capital, TCD offers undergraduate courses in a wide range of disciplines that come under the faculties of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and Health Sciences. ...

University of Chester

Chester, United Kingdom

  • 118SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 14,563Average Tuition
  • 65%Acceptance Rate

The University of Chester is one of the oldest universities in the UK. Founded in 1839, it is a public university situated in Chester, England. The University has dedicated faculties, through which it delivers master’s degree programs to local and international students. ...

Bath Spa University

Bath, United Kingdom

  • 124SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 16,869Average Tuition
  • 89%Acceptance Rate

Bath Spa University (Bath Spa) has campuses located in Newton Park and Sion Hill, Bath, United Kingdom. Bath Spa also has a campus located in the market town of Corsham. Bath Spa offers over a 100 master’s degree programs across its 4 academic schools, namely: Bath Business School; Bath School of Art and Design; College of Liberal Arts; and the Institute for Education....

St Mary's University London

London, United Kingdom

  • 125SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 16,566Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

St Mary’s University London (St Mary’s) is located in Twickenham, London. St Mary's offers over 50 master’s degree programs across its 4 academic schools, namely: Arts and Humanities; Management and Social Sciences; Education, Theology and Leadership; and Sport, Health and Applied Science....