Masters Degrees at Law Schools
posted by Gerard Magliocca
One trend that will probably become pronounced in legal education over the next five years is the development of masters degrees in law. These would be geared towards folks who want some legal training for one year but are not interested in becoming attorneys. Some schools already have specialized versions of this (say, for journalists), but one can imagine interest in these degrees from scientists, doctors, corporate human resource departments, or folks in business. This type of program is attractive from the law schools’ perspective because it (1) would generate revenue; (2) would lead to a more diverse student body; and (3) is unregulated by the ABA.
The question that these programs raise, though, is whether they would undercut the JD degree or a JD education. In other words, would some people inclined to get a JD substitute to the masters if they could? Will JD students be upset at the prospect that some jobs could be taken from them by masters graduates? And how about alumni–would they feel like their degrees would be diluted if their school offers a masters? Thoughts are welcome.