UCLA School of Law today launched a Master of Legal Studies program, opening doors for professionals who seek to deepen their understanding of the legal issues that affect their industries but do not plan to practice law.
The school is taking applications for its inaugural M.L.S. class, which will begin studies in August 2020.
“We created the M.L.S. program to better serve professionals, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders,” said Jennifer Mnookin, dean of the law school. “As one of the top law schools in country, we are continually looking for ways to use the phenomenal strength of our school to give people the tools to succeed. While demand for traditional law degrees has been increasing, we also are seeing demand for professionals across several industries to acquire greater fluency with the law.”
UCLA Law is offering the new program as more workers engage with the legal and regulatory aspects of their industries. Spending on legal and regulatory compliance in the banking and finance sector alone is $270 billion a year, according to the Financial Times. Others who need in-house expertise in compliance and other legal matters include firms in the energy, engineering and healthcare sectors as well as non-profit organizations.
Full-time students in the UCLA Law M.L.S. program can earn their degrees in a single year; part-time students may take as many as four years while continuing to work. Students can earn certificates in eight specializations, including business law, employment and human resource law, entertainment and media law, environmental law, government and national security law, health law and policy, law and technology, and public interest law.
The program will be taught on campus and feature a curriculum designed specifically for M.L.S. students. Members of the law school’s faculty and leading practitioners will serve as instructors.
“Businesses, nonprofits and government entities routinely face thorny legal and regulatory issues that they must navigate successfully for their enterprises to thrive,” said Russell Korobkin, UCLA Law’s vice dean of professional programs and Richard C. Maxwell Professor of Law. “Our M.L.S. students will gain a strong foundation in legal thinking and the American legal system while honing the skills to strategically assess the opportunities and obstacles in their fields.”