Sharpen Law Skills With a Master of Legal Studies

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Sharpen Law Skills With a Master of Legal Studies

June 04, 2015, Delece Smith-Barrow

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When Chad Beights, a sergeant at the Southern Illinois University—Carbondale police department, wanted to raise his profile at work, as well as broaden his skills, he considered studying criminal justice or public administration. But the school's Master of Legal Studies program offered him something he couldn't refuse: flexibility.

"As an MLS student, you can take whichever classes you want within their guidelines," says Beights, who graduated from the program in May.

Beights is interested in employment law and SIU—Carbondale let him take classes in employment discrimination, labor law and negotiations, as well as courses in criminal law and evidence, which can help him in his current job, he says. He hopes the degree will make him more marketable in the future. 

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"I wanted something to fall back onto and the ability to have another career," says Beights, who hopes the degree will position him to one day work in an administrative role in law enforcement.

Master of Legal Studies programs are an option for learning about the law without getting a J.D. and can increase job opportunities for those working in law-related careers.

These programs, and Master of Studies in Law programs, often take one year to complete if students attend full-time, and let students sit side-by-side with future attorneys while learning about the law. Many schools approved by ​the American Bar Association offer them.

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