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What Is a Business Law Major?

A major in business law incorporates both legal and business education at the graduate level, emphasizing areas where the two fields cross over, such as contracts, mergers and acquisitions.

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Essential Information

There are numerous joint programs available in the business law discipline that facilitate the pursuit of careers in this field; they're normally designated as Juris Doctor (JD)/Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs.

Such programs are intensive, combining two separate degrees into a 4-year period rather than the five years it would require to obtain them separately. Students take law and business courses, normally alternating between each area during the first two years of study and taking courses in both areas during the last two years. To be accepted into such programs, students will have to apply to a university's law and business schools, as well as submit LSAT and GMAT scores.

To begin work in the field, students must pass a bar exam and receive state licensure.

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JD/MBA Program

Core coursework for each program must be taken. Students choose among electives to fulfill remaining credit requirements. General law course topics may include:

  • Criminal law
  • Torts
  • Legal writing
  • Legal research
  • Constitutional law
  • Civil procedures

The following classes generally make up the core requirements for an MBA program:

  • Accounting and financial management
  • Organizational behavior
  • Operations management
  • Project management
  • Risk management
  • Investments

Popular Career Options

There are numerous options within the business and legal worlds where training in both areas is beneficial. Specific roles might include:

  • Corporate litigator
  • Mergers and acquisitions attorney
  • Corporate counsel
  • Securities regulator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The job market for lawyers, including corporate attorneys, is expected to grow by 6% during the 2014-2024 time period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Data from the BLS indicates the field will add 43,800 jobs during this decade, and although the growth rate for lawyers is nearly equal to other professions, competition among aspiring lawyers is projected to be high because there are still more job seekers than jobs available. The BLS reported a median salary of $115,820 for lawyers in 2015.

Continuing Education

States set licensure policies for lawyers independently; however, all require completion of a law degree from an American Bar Association-accredited program and passage of a state bar exam. Most require a varying number of continuing legal education hours each year. There are no continuing education requirements for those with MBA degrees; however, many join professional associations in order to stay in tune with current business trends and technology changes.

For students interested in pursuing business law, they may obtain a joint JD and MBA degree in order to be able to practice within both fields. Such programs set graduates apart in the competitive law job market.

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