Find Top Schools for Master’s in Law Degrees in the US

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Earn Your Master’s in Law Degree in the US

For many of those who are looking to start their careers, the United States may offer a number of unique professional opportunities, particularly for those who practice law. According to Pacific Research, Americans spend an average of over $250 billion dollars on civil litigation every year. That’s  $220 billion more than the next closest country. In fact, from 1950 to 2009, tort costs per capita in the US climbed from $106 to $808. These statistics show why it is of little surprise that more than 80 percent of the world’s lawyers live in America.

However, if you have a legal degree and are looking to practice in America, you should know that competition for clients is likely to be stiff. The American Bar Association reported that enrollment in US Juris Doctorate programs hit an all-time high in 2010. Many of those enrollees are just now beginning to practice. How are you to set yourself apart as you compete for coveted positions and partnerships in legal firms? Earning a Master’s in law degree in the US may be a good place to start.

What is a Master’s in Law?

What exactly is a Master’s in Law degree? It is an advanced postgraduate legal degree that practicing lawyers and academics look to specialise in. These programs offer legal professionals the chance to engage in advanced studies and research to help establish the accepted legal practices and interpretations of the day, and to prepare themselves to better serve the clientele with whom they work.

To qualify for admission to a Master’s in Law program in the United States, you need a Juris Doctorate from an accredited US law school, or its international equivalent. This may include a first professional degree such as a Bachelor of Law offered in the United Kingdom and Europe. As admission to these programs is often highly competitive, it also helps if you have professional experience to bolster your application.

Typically, a standard Master’s in law program in the US takes only one year to complete. The curriculum you will study depends on a number of different factors. If you are an international student, you may have to first take a course familiarising you with the American legal system before moving on to study and research in your area of expertise. Your advanced studies will likely include in-depth analysis and interpretation of the principles governing your particular legal discipline, whether that be:

  • Criminal law
  • Corporate law
  • Tort law
  • Contract law
  • Family law
  • Legislation and regulation

If your hope is to go into academia rather on focusing on legal practices, your Master’s in law coursework will be more geared towards understanding legal theory.

Why Should You Seek a Master’s in Law Degree?

It typically takes a minimum of three years to complete a standard Juris Doctorate or Bachelor of Law program. Why then should you consider dedicating another year to earning a Master’s in law? There are actually a number of advantages that make the extra time that this degree requires well-worth it:

  • The chance to specialise in a certain legal discipline: Many clients may rather trust their cases to attorneys who specialise in one area rather than those who offer general services.
  • The opportunity to participate in research: You can enhance your professional reputation by being included in research projects guided by the faculty of your Master’s in law program.
  • Time to improve your English skills: If you are an international student for whom English is not your first language, taking an extra year to study will help prepare you to better communicate with your clients.

What Can a Master’s in Law Degree Do for Your Career?

As was mentioned earlier, a Master’s in law degree is a terrific tool for attorneys looking to develop a specialty. Yet that is not to say that earning such a degree does not open up other career opportunities for you. Having a Master’s in law may pave the way for you to earn a doctorate degree if you want to become a professor. It may also be a terrific way to help you transition from a legal career, to a job in policy making or public service.

If you are looking to take the next step in your legal career, your best bet to continued success could come through earning a Master’s in law in the US. Your decision to continue your legal education (and perhaps, your legal career) in America may just be the best decision that you will ever make.

University of California - Irvine

Irvine, United States

  • 83SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 28,000Average Tuition
  • 30%Acceptance Rate

The University of California - Irvine is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities with a campus in Irvine; a suburban area in California, U.S.A. Through its faculties, the university offers over master’s degree programs....

University of Illinois - Chicago

Chicago, United States

  • 170SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 42,430Average Tuition
  • 74%Acceptance Rate

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a public research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States and has 15 academic schools through which it offers interesting master’s degree programs in a wide range of subject areas....

The University of Utah

Salt Lake City, United States

  • 185SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 21,296Average Tuition
  • 81.7%Acceptance Rate

University of Utah (the U) is a research-focused university located in Utah, United States, with it’s Asia campus located in South Korea. The U offers a wide range of master’s degree programs across nearly a 100 academic departments. These departments include Architecture, Biochemistry, Computing, Environmental Engineering, and Philosophy....

Illinois State University

Normal, United States

  • 192SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 33,465Average Tuition
  • 74%Acceptance Rate

Illinois State University is the first publicly-funded higher education institution in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. It offers undergraduate majors and graduate degree programs in a wide variety of concentrations including applied science and technology, arts and sciences, business, education, fine arts, and nursing. Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission....

DePaul University

Chicago, United States

  • 201SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 52,402Average Tuition
  • 70%Acceptance Rate

DePaul University is a private Catholic University located in Chicago, Illinois, US. DePaul University offers master's degre programmes in fields including Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Social Sciences and more. DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to grant master's degree programmes. ...

Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, United States

  • 209SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 25,000Average Tuition
  • 73%Acceptance Rate

Duquesne University is one of the largest and most comprehensive private Catholic universities located in the urban area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Duquesne offers a wide variety of master's degree programs....

Northeastern University

Boston, United States

  • 210SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 62,800Average Tuition
  • 32%Acceptance Rate

Northeastern University located in Boston, Massachusetts, offers 150 undergraduate majors of study and 125 graduate areas of study through its nine colleges and schools of Arts, Media & Design; Business, Computer & Information Science; Engineering; Health Sciences; Law; Professional Studies; Science; and Social Sciences & Humanities; as well as select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto....

Suffolk University

Boston, United States

  • 216SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 52,644Average Tuition
  • 84%Acceptance Rate

Suffolk University is a non-sectarian university located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was named after its location in Suffolk County, Massachusetts....

Widener University

Chester, United States

  • 236SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 52,909Average Tuition
  • 65%Acceptance Rate

Widener University (Widener) is a private institution with campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Delaware, USA. The university offers a wide range of master's degree programs through its academic schools namely: School of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Nursing, Human Service Professions; Delaware Law School; and Widener Law Commonwealth....

Lipscomb University

Nashville, United States

  • 237SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 38,700Average Tuition
  • 61%Acceptance Rate

Lipscomb University, established in 1891, is a Christian University with students from over 50 countries, and located in the Green Hills area of Nashville in Tennessee, USA. The University offers a number of master's degree programs in the disciplines of Liberal Arts, Business, Health Sciences and Engineering....