The UCLA School of Law created a new Master of Legal Studies program for professionals who are interested in gaining a legal education but will not practice law. (Daily Bruin file photo) A new Master of Legal Studies degree will officially be offered at the UCLA School of Law in August 2020.

The MLS program allows non-lawyer professionals the opportunity to obtain an advanced degree that will complement their field of work by taking courses designed specifically for the Legal Studies degree. The program may take between one and four years to complete depending on if students are studying full or part time.

The School of Law helped construct the program in order to meet the growing demand for knowledge of the legal system among non-lawyer professionals, Dean of UCLA School of Law Jennifer Mnookin said in an emailed statement.

“We created the M.L.S. program to better serve professionals, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders,” Mnookin said. “While demand for traditional law degrees has been increasing, we are simultaneously seeing demand for professionals across several industries to acquire greater fluency with the law.”

The degree begins with five core classes designed to provide students with a foundation in legal fluency and a basic understanding of the role of law in the modern world. Upon completion of these courses, students then choose from the more than 300 courses for the Juris Doctor degree – a professional degree in law – that are offered at the School of Law and can specialize in one of eight areas of law or create their own area of specialization.

Russell Korobkin, vice dean for graduate and professional education, said in an emailed statement that he thinks the MLS program will be an attractive option for a wide range of professionals.

“A law school education has long been viewed as incredibly useful training for professionals in the business, non-profit and government sectors who do not actually practice law,” he said. “Lawyers serve in non-legal, senior executive positions across all types of organizations. In fact, 16% of Fortune 100 CEOs have law degrees.”

While he noted the value of a law degree, Korobkin also pointed […]

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