What Can You Do With a Master's in Law?

Nov 26, 2019

Master's in law jobs include many more options than those in the legal system and may help advance students' careers in fields like education, healthcare, and more. Explore some of these career options and the different types of master's in law degrees.

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Master's in Law Jobs

There are several different master's degree programs available in the field of law. Many of these master's degree programs may go by names like Master of Legal Studies (MLS), Master of Science in Law (MSL), and Juris Master (JM). In general, these degree programs help prepare students for a wide range of careers in various fields that are likely to interact with the law but do not practice law as lawyers, which would require a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. Many of these degree programs are also designed for working professionals who may need additional legal knowledge in their particular field of expertise. Some Master of Legal Studies jobs include careers in fields such as:

  • Law enforcement
  • Human resources
  • Healthcare
  • Business
  • Education
  • Government
  • Information technology
  • Patent agencies

Specific job titles for graduates with a master's degree in law may include:

  • HR manager
  • Contract negotiator
  • Operations director
  • Compliance officer
  • Consultant
  • Social worker
  • Journalist
  • Entrepreneur
  • Healthcare Manager

Types of Master's Degrees in Law

While there are all kinds of education options for students in various fields of law, such as online courses in immigration law or degree programs in constitutional law, at the master's level, degree programs may provide an overview of the law and/or allow for students to specialize in different areas to match their career interests. Here we explore a few of the different master's degree options in law.

MA in Law

A Master of Arts (MA) in Law degree is usually a step above paralegal studies and provides students with knowledge of legal matters in their particular field. Concentration areas for this degree may include criminal justice, national security, immigration law, cybersecurity law, and more. Some of these degree programs are available in online formats and may take 2 years to complete. Some programs may explore an additional area of interest, such as law and diplomacy.

MSL

MSL may stand for Master of Science in Law or Master of Studies in Law. These degree programs may be able to be completed in as little as 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time and are typically designed for working professionals. Some of these programs are available in online formats and may offer concentration areas or additional certificates in various areas, like healthcare, human resources, and business law.

MLS

Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree programs may be completed in as little as 1 year and are commonly available in online formats. Designed for working professionals, these programs provide a wide range of concentration areas that may focus on legal compliance in that area, such as higher education compliance, financial regulatory compliance, or pharmaceutical and medical device regulatory compliance.

LLM

Master of Laws (LLM) degree programs are different than other master's degree programs in law, in that they are an advanced degree designed for those with a JD degree. This degree program may be completed in as little as 1 year and usually allows students to pick and choose coursework that may explore different areas of law in more detail, such as constitutional law, intellectual property, or comparative law. Some of these programs may even offer hands-on clinical opportunities in law.

Master of Laws vs. Master of Science in Law Salary

According to PayScale.com, there is quite a difference in salary for an advanced master's degree in law, such as an LLM versus an entry-level master's degree in law, like an MSL. PayScale.com reported that graduates with an LLM made a median annual salary of $133,000 as of May of 2019. Graduates with an MSL degree made a median annual salary of $63,000 as of August 2019.

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