A master's in business law online is a great option for working professionals looking to increase their legal knowledge. Whether an individual wants to work their way up in a company or start their own business, this program teaches students about business regulations, ethics, and tax codes. Due to advancements in technology, schools now offer distance education programs with 100% online courses. Additionally, many on-campus master's in business law programs offer flexible options such as part-time enrollment, evening, and hybrid courses.
As the economy grows, more jobs are being added to the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) project a 9% increase in legal occupations within the next decade. This guide features information regarding master's in business law programs, including course descriptions, career opportunities, and professional organizations.
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What to Know About Online Master's in Business Law Coursework
In a master's in business law online program, students learn skill sets and theories that prepare them to work in the legal profession, assisting clients as well as other professionals. These programs cater to students who want to expand their legal knowledge, and may or may not have plans to attend law school in the future. Through this program, students explore the U.S. judicial system, learning more about the legislative branch and its importance in business practices.
Learners take core courses that define different business entities. Some programs offer concentrations in areas like cybersecurity or health and hospital Law. Most schools offer online programs on a part-time basis that take two to four years to complete. Typically, master's in business law programs require 28-31 credits.
What Common Courses are Offered in a Master's in Business Law Program?
The curriculum for a master's in business law online program depends on the school; however, most schools emphasize the same learning objectives and outcomes. Learners take foundational courses based on a theoretical framework that applies to various business operations. The following list highlights courses commonly found in a business law curriculum.
Business Principles in Law
This course centers on the basic principles and concepts of business practice. Students explore the sales cycle, marketing, managing employees, and finances. The course also integrates politics, economics, and the constructs of society into the curriculum. By the end of the course, students understand how businesses operate and utilize legal advice.
Learners examine different types of business organizations such as limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations. In this class, students research the laws that affect business entities and their operations. These laws govern business transactions and many are rooted in specific theories or policies. Learners also study how businesses follow these laws.
Financial Institution Regulation
This course covers laws that govern financial institutions, like banks and investment firms. For these institutions, government regulation comes in the form of compliance. Laws help regulate banks and students discuss these laws and the ways financial institutions adhere to them.
The constitutional law course focuses on the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution guides many present-day legal decisions in the U.S. and is interpreted in various ways. This course covers texts and documents that explain these interpretations.
Introduction to the U.S. Legal System
Students learn about the U.S. legal system in this course. Learners delve into the structure and functions of the U.S. government. Additionally, they explore the three branches of government and their checks and balances. Students also talk about important legal concepts, such as due process.
What Specializations are Available in a Master's in Business Law Program?
Many master's in business law online programs offer specializations to help students pinpoint their areas of interest. Specializations vary by school, as do requirements. To complete a specialization, students take additional courses to fulfill a credit requirement. Listed below are sample specializations for graduate business law students.
Financial Services Compliance
This concentration is great for students interested in the financial services field. They explore legislation such as the Dodd-Frank Act and how it has impacted modern-day financial practices. They also study the power and scope of organizations, such as the Bank for International Settlements and the Financial Stability Board.
Intellectual Property Law
Inventors need to protect their brands and inventions through a unique set of laws known as intellectual property rights. Legal professionals in this field help clients file for patents, copyrights, and trademarks in healthcare, technology, entertainment, and other fields.
Health and Hospital Law
Learners in this concentration assess the ethical and legal implications of healthcare compliance laws and regulations. These laws influence healthcare providers, patients, medical equipment manufacturers, and suppliers. As legal professionals navigate this concentration, they learn about the business side of healthcare and the life sciences.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
The degree requirements for a master's in business law online often reflect a school's mission and focus. The delivery format for online schools range from cohort programs, which require students to learn together in groups, to asynchronous courses that promote individual learning. Depending on course requirements and delivery, students are tasked with completing capstone projects or writing a thesis. Programs with a capstone or thesis project integrate the requirement into the curriculum through a thesis seminar or capstone course. Some schools assign advisers to track student progress and arrange meetings for students to present their work. Other schools create labs and workshops on topics like patent presentation and prosecution to develop a student's skills.
How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Business Law Program?
When deciding on a business law program, students need to take several factors into account. The first being a school's accreditation. Students attending accredited programs receive better benefits than students attending non-accredited programs. Typically, the U.S. Department of Education only recognizes accredited colleges and universities and will not disburse loans, grants, or scholarships to students attending non-accredited schools.
Another hallmark of the school's credibility is graduation rate. Students should research job placements of former graduates and a school's student retention rate. Another concern is the quality of the institution's faculty members, such as years of experience and degree field. Students should look for professors with relevant experience that understand the current job market. Before choosing a program, research the school and speak to administrators and students.
Career Opportunities With a Master's in Business Law Degree
The BLS outlines various legal occupations, such as judicial law clerks, title examiners, court reporters, and adjudicators. All of these jobs require a basic understanding of the legal system and relevant training. Many master's in business law online graduates opt for non-legal industry jobs that still require some level of legal knowledge. Industries like accounting and tax collection are constantly changing due to government regulations and policies. Therefore, a degree in business law helps applicants stand out in other fields. Additionally, some of these occupations require certification or licensure. A degree does not guarantee a specific career or job, but it does help candidates find the right job for their skillset.
Accountants handle financial statements and records for individuals and companies. They help prepare taxes and understand laws pertaining to personal or business finances. Accountants also examine a business' financial history to make recommendations that save money or increase revenue. Most accountants hold a bachelor's or master's degree in accounting. A master's in business law online with a concentration in financial services enables accountants to better assist their clients.
- Median Salary: $69,350 per year
- Currently Employed: 1,397,700
- Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +10%
Tax examiners work for local and state governments to collect taxes on their behalf. They review taxpayers' information and make necessary adjustments. They review tax returns to ensure they are filled out correctly and check the appropriate credits and deductions. When taxes are completed incorrectly, they contact taxpayers to obtain the right information. Tax examiners also conduct field audits and investigations for returns flagged for inspection.
- Median Salary: $53,130 per year
- Currently Employed: 62,100
- Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: -1%
Human resources managers serve as consultants and administrators and advise management on employment issues, such as sexual harassment and equal opportunity. These managers oversee the entire hiring process from recruitment to employee training. They assist management with conducting interviews and evaluating candidates. They also handle employee disputes and disciplinary actions. When employees want to know more about their benefits or upper-level executives want to change a benefits package, they consult human resources.
- Median Salary: $110,120 per year
- Currently Employed: 136,100
- Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +9%
Actuaries act as financial scientists, analyzing the risks associated with major financial decisions and catastrophic events. Actuaries gather statistical data to calculate the cost and likeliness of a disaster, death, or other unfortunate event. Using this information they create guidelines for insurance policies, pension plans, and other policies to help businesses maximize returns. Actuaries also create visual aids, such as tables and charts, to share their ideas with company executives.
- Median Salary: $101,560 per year
- Currently Employed: 23,600
- Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +22%
Paralegals and legal assistants support lawyers and other legal professionals. They help lawyers prepare for cases by interviewing clients, assisting with paperwork, and researching articles and legal precedents. Usually, paralegals attend hearings and other judicial proceedings with attorneys. The paralegal carries important documents, such as signed affidavits. In other instances, paralegals file appeals and briefs with the courts. They also take notes during the proceedings and review transcripts.
- Median Salary: $50,410 per year
- Currently Employed: 285,600
- Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +15%
What's the Expected Job Growth for Business Law Careers?
In 2018, the BLS projects an overall decrease in unemployment rates by at least 3%. The overall decrease in unemployment means a master's in business law online broadens career prospects. Per the BLS, places like the District of Columbia and New York boast the highest concentration of legal industry jobs. With an advanced degree, business law graduates can enter specialized fields like the pipeline transportation of crude oil or scheduled air transportation, which are top-paying industries.
Professional Organizations for Careers in Business Law
Joining a professional organization connects students to working professionals that serve as mentors and help graduates navigate the job market. These organizations represent legal professionals working in support services, litigation, and the judicial system. Organization members have the opportunity to further their education through trainings and certifications while attending networking events.
Academy of Legal Studies in Business
In the 1920s, the ALSB began as an association for lawyers and law schools. Eventually it grew into a legal society representing many different factions of the law, such as marketing law, alternative dispute resolution, and technology.
American Association for Justice
This organization aims to uphold the basic tenets of the U.S. legal system that promotes justice and fairness for all. They represent trial attorneys and other legal professionals advocating for basic rights within the civil justice system.
Association of Legal Administrators
The association champions legal administrators working at law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments. They produce leadership and management products to help administrators perform their daily duties. Additionally, the association offers certifications like the certified legal manager designation.
National Association for Legal Professionals
This group dedicates itself to legal professionals; the legal assistants and paralegals that keep legal offices running. In the 1970s, the association started a board that certifies legal assistants, they continue to offer this certification. Members gain access to webinars, workshops, seminars, and conferences.
Association of Attorney-Mediators
The AAM represents attorneys and other legal professionals that work as mediators. To educate their members, the group holds training sessions and continuing education courses. The nonprofit organization accepts members that meet state and federal requirements for mediation.
How to Pay for a Master's in Business Law Degree
Paying for a master's in business law online requires research. Popular funding sources include scholarships from private organizations, scholarships from schools, loans from financial institutions, and government aid. Gift aid refers to scholarships and grants that do not have to be repaid. These two funding sources are highly coveted by students.
The U.S. Department of Education manages a program that awards grants, scholarships, loans, and tax benefits to students attending an accredited college or university. Students submit their tax and income information for the agency to determine their financial need. Once determined, the agency distributes funds directly or through the applicant's school.
The Blanch Law Firm is a team of lawyers that specialize in criminal litigation and government investigations. With branches in New York and Los Angeles, the firm helps clients battling criminal and civil court cases brought against them by private citizens or the government. The firm gives back to the community through outreach programs including the Blanch Law Firm scholarship. To qualify, students must submit a well-written article the firm can post on its website. Winners receive $5,000, publication credit, and a chance to intern at their New York office for a day.
Based in New London, Connecticut, the Polito and Associates LLC firm has won numerous awards for their personal injury litigation. Their board-certified attorneys received Civil Trial Advocacy certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The law firm's scholarship program awards scholarship money to a student attending an accredited college or university. The scholarship contest requires applicants to respond to an essay question selected by the firm.
Texas law firm, the Krist Law Firm, handles unique cases dealing with maritime and offshore accidents or injuries. The lawyers also litigate cases involving aviation injuries, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, railroad accidents, and products and premises liability. Their scholarship fund helps students pay for their studies by awarding $10,000 to contest winners. To apply, applicants need a letter of recommendation from an instructor, a 300-500 word essay, a personal statement, and a college/high school transcript.