Law school offers MJ graduate degrees for professionals


As published by San Francisco Gate

RE Class_DSCF0072Understanding the law is not just for lawyers anymore. More non-attorney professionals across a variety of industries – from tech start-ups to accounting and financial planning firms – need to understand and address the base legal issues impacting their day-to-day business operations.

The John Marshall master of jurisprudence (M.J.) is a graduate degree that provides non-lawyers with an understanding of the law, with the option of focusing on several legal specialties.

An M.J. provides value not only to the student pursuing the degree, but also to the employer or organization where the student uses and shares the legal knowledge. Business professionals who regularly run into legal questions on everything from compliance to tax code will benefit from the tools of an M.J.

“People encounter issues surrounding the law in so many professions today. An M.J. will help you navigate the legal waters of your career with greater understanding and skill,” Dean John E. Corkery said. “Professionals earning an M.J. gain analytical skills that will make them sharper critical thinkers and help them become strategic leaders in their field.”

The M.J. is designed to help people navigate industries and markets that have been increasingly complex and regulated. John Marshall’s M.J. allows candidates to pursue a graduate degree that gives an advanced understanding of the general tenets of the law. Candidates may also tailor their M.J. to fit their careers. Entrepreneurs, for example, should consider an M.J. focusing on Intellectual Property to better grasp how to patent and legally protect their work. Accountants wanting to better comprehend tax code will do so with an M.J. in tax. Human resource officers will learn to address compliance questions with an Employee Benefits focus. An M.J. in estate planning will help anyone learn how to properly navigate the legal intricacies of the probate process.

M.J. candidates may choose to concentrate their degree in the following legal topics:

  • Education (in development)
  • Employee Benefits
  • Estate Planning
  • Health (in development)
  • Information, Technology & Privacy Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Real Estate
  • Tax

John Marshall is working to build relationships with businesses and organizations to develop programming catered to address the legal issues unique to those groups.

“The M.J. program helps to demystify the legal process,” said Arthur Acevedo, a John Marshall tax and contracts professor and coordinator of the M.J. program. “Students will learn how the law affects business decisions, thereby giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Acevedo, who worked as an attorney for McDonald’s Corporation on domestic and international tax transactions before teaching at John Marshall.

Depending on the subject matter, the M.J. may be pursued either full or part time, and many courses are found online. An M.J. in Estate Planning may be pursued fully online. Most specialty areas require M.J. candidates have completed at least five years of work experience. Candidates must complete 24 credit hours to earn their degree.