Sunday, November 19, 2017

Akron School of Law launches Master of Studies in Law degree program to train non-lawyers in legal skills

Akron is one of a group of law schools (my own included) that are exploring the demand for those who'd like to study law to advance in their chosen careers but aren't interested in obtaining a J.D. Thus, Akron launched this fall a Master of Studies in Law degree program with an inaugural class of six students who will take 30 credit hours at an annual cost of just over $24K. The school's law profs are teaching the curriculum which includes courses in contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure and the fundamentals of intellectual property. Among the backgrounds of those students who've enrolled this fall are a personal banker, patient liaison and a corporate quality assurance officer.  Here's an excerpt from Akron Legal News which provides more details about the school's new program:

While the program was approved in the summer of 2016, Matthew J. Wilson, former Akron Law dean and president of The University of Akron, said the plans have been in the works for a while.


 ”The law school faculty had started talking about creating a master’s in law program before my arrival in 2014,” said Wilson. “When I started at the law school, I reignited the discussion and began working with the faculty to put the program together and obtain the necessary university and state approvals.


“I think the degree is something that is beneficial and needed in the marketplace,” said Wilson. “Oftentimes people cannot afford either financially or timewise to get a three-year juris doctor degree, yet they do need a better understanding of legal issues to help them do their jobs or secure gainful employment.


“This program provides the chance for them to enhance their abilities and knowledge in as little as two semesters if they go full time, or two to three years if they study on a part-time basis. Fortunately at Akron Law, students have the flexibility of studying during the day or night and commencing their masters studies in August, January or May.”


As of the fall of 2017, full-time MSL tuition and fees for Ohio residents cost $24,214, with non-residents paying just $100 more to cover an out-of-state surcharge.


To apply a candidate must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and provide a personal statement and letters of recommendation. Non-native English speakers must submit evidence of English proficiency.


“We do not require that applicants take the GRE or the LSAT,” said Peters. “We will look at undergraduate grades, majors, life experience and ability to write. If applicants choose to submit standardized test scores, we will consider them.”

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