Published on 6/5/17 in The Faculty Lounge
The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law now offers a Master of Science in Law aimed at non-lawyers. The website states that the “degree [is] for professionals who want to know more about the intersection of law and regulation with the technical, scientific or administrative demands of their chosen fields.” The subject matter include Environmental Law, Health Care Law, and Patent Law. There are also online programs in Cybersecurity Law and Homeland Security and Crisis Management Law.
The MSL is a degree in law for professionals who do not wish to practice law, but have a job where a knowledge of the law is useful. For example, there are quasi-legal positions such as Contracting Officer for the U.S. Government where a background in the cognizant statutes and regulations would be beneficial. The same could be said for those in the securities industry. Other law schools based in cities with a specialized workforce, like those discussed above, may also wish to begin offering Masters degrees in Law. This could be a way to counter the decline in law school enrollment, which is currently flat.
A suggestion I have for UMD specifically is to consider offering an MSL in Dispute Resolution. The Law School has a renowned Center for Dispute Resolution. The field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) often has non-legal professionals practicing in a legal environment. Advanced knowledge of ADR techniques, and some of the substantive areas of law would be invaluable in some practice areas. For example, a combined MSL in Environmental Law and Dispute Resolution could provide ADR neutrals for environmental conflict resolution.