Students who are already experienced in law, (ones currently holding a position working in the field) and have a bachelors in law want to learn more about graduate law degrees because they seek advancement in the field. Some might prefer to focus their career on a specific type of law such as International Criminal Law, while others might want to focus on taxation, and getting a graduate degree will help give them the proper education for this specific field of interest. Others who seek out law graduate degrees might also want to simply get a higher degree of education to help move up in their current position.
What is a Graduate Law Degree?
A law graduate degree which is also referred to as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) is a postgraduate law degree which students pursue to get more familiar in a specialized field of law. Normally getting a graduate degree in law takes students approximately one year to complete when going full time. Part time students can vary depending on what their schedule permits, but normally no more than two years. Getting a masters in law helps students in the workplace because many firms like to see their employees have specialized skills and education to advance their knowledge in the field. These students are also more qualified in the workplace making them a higher asset than those who might not have the specialized skills and education background.
What are the most popular types of Graduate Law Degrees?
There are many law graduate degrees to consider. Students who are interested in studying law further can decide where they want to focus their studies. Some examples of popular law graduate degrees are as follows:
- M.S. in Criminal Justice/Law
- Master of Resources Law Studies
- LL.M. in International Criminal Law
- Masters of Law
- Professional Accountancy
- LL.M. in Technology & Intellectual Property Law
- Master of Science in Legal Administration
- LL.M. in Health Law
What does it take to earn a Graduate Law Degree?
Earning a graduate law degree depends mainly on the requirements of the attending school. Normally a student will need to have a prior background in law to obtain a higher degree. A bachelors degree will give students the basic skills in law, so when they go on and study for a masters they will be able to focus their studies on a particular specialization. Once a bachelors degree in law is obtained, the student will also need to pass the bar exam (a government-based examination US law students need to take before practicing law) to be able to apply for graduate school. Other schools might allow a student into their masters program if they have a bachelors degree in a field other than law, or if they have prior experience working in a law firm.
How to get a Graduate Law Degree
Getting a graduate law degree can be done in two ways: on-campus and online. Depending on the school, the program, and the student will ultimately help determine which is the correct choice.
Online Graduate Law Degree
Studying online allows the student to study at their own pace, making it a convenient option to get a degree. Many students prefer getting a law graduate degree online from the conventional on-campus program because they are able to still keep their full time job without having their education interfere. Studying online also allows students to study anywhere, whether at home, on their lunch break, or in the local bookstore. Coursework normally consists of items that can be done remotely and individually, including research, writing and case studies.
The problem that some students feel when they are getting a degree online is that they miss that one-on-one attention with the professors and the interaction with the other students. While online programs have virtual classrooms that normally consist of discussion boards and live chats, some students prefer to be face-to-face with the ones they are learning from.
On-campus Graduate Law Degree
Going to a campus to study for a law graduate degree allows the student to really be involved in the academic program, the campus, and the school\’s community. The one-on-one attention and classroom interaction is ideal for those looking for a more community based program, without excessive amounts of freedom like with an online degree. Students who study on-campus are also able to be tightly connected to seminars, lectures, and workshops that the school may have for the attending students, which can help them further their studies and their professional network.
A major downfall for a student looking to study on-campus while working full time is that the courses and classwork can get in the way of their regular scheduled day. Many students who face this dilemma either focus on scheduling their classes around their job (taking more night classes when offered) or they need to drop from full time to part time. However this is not always an option as some schools do not allow students to do this.
The outcome from earning a Graduate Law Degree
After getting a law graduate degree, students will be able to come away with more education on either the general knowledge of the legal system or have a narrow focus on a certain specialization in the field. While in most cases, law firms do not require that a lawyer need to have a graduate degree in law, (as long as he has a bachelor\’s in law and a doctorate or Juris Doctor), getting a graduate degree will help a person stand out from others. A person with this degree might also have an advantage of getting paid a higher salary due to his specialization he studied. The average lawyer in the United States makes around $75,000 to $88,000 per year, but it\’s possible for them to make much more, well into the $100,000. While getting a law graduate degree might not be required for those practicing law, it has its advantages and is definitely worth looking into.