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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Law

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Law

Value
The best online master’s degree in law for value is Champlain College, which offers an online Master of Science in Law. U.S. News & World Report ranked Champlain No. 13 among the top regional colleges in the northern U.S. Students can attest to the value of an online education at Champlain, as well: as noted on Champlain.edu, 96% of students strongly agree or agree that they differentiate themselves from their peers by applying what they learn in this online Master of Science in Law program effectively at work, and since beginning the MSL degree, more than 94% of the students received more than a 5% increase in their salary.

Flexibility
The online Master of Science degree in legal studies at Kaplan University wins the award for best flexibility. Student reviews on CollegeProwler.com reflect A+ scores for academic flexibility, in testimonials that prove students were extremely satisfied with the freedom and flexibility that Kaplan provided them while earning their degree. Kaplan prides itself on maintaining the utmost flexibility, and allowing students to fully customize their schedules. As noted on KaplanUniversity.edu, the school promises “a commitment to providing you with extraordinary convenience, online tools and resources, and the opportunity to achieve your professional and career goals.”

Career Support
At Kaplan University, students enjoying the flexibility of the online degree program may still need the reassurance of a structured career services team to help guide them once their course work is completed. Kaplan’s Career Resources is a “student-focused suite of services that provides comprehensive career planning to Kaplan University students at all levels of study.” Here, students can find counseling, direction, suggestions, and support for their career ambitions. Students on CollegeProwler.com seem to think Kaplan’s efforts are paying off―this university received a high score for best career services. For all this, Kaplan University wins the award for best career support for its online master’s degree in law.

Financial Support

Kaplan University wins the award for best financial support for its online master’s degree in law. The Paying for School section of KaplanUniversity.edu contains comprehensive information regarding everything students need to know about tuition and financial aid, such as available scholarships, loans, and grants, as well as a net price calculator, options for military personnel and veterans, and even “Financial Aid TV” for instructions via video format.

Technology Support
The award for best online master’s degree in law for technology support goes to Kaplan University. KaplanUniversity.edu discusses the school’s belief in using advanced technology and enhanced delivery methods for ease-of-access. Students can navigate lessons, take web-based “field trips,” and communicate with fellow students and faculty via email and message boards. Kaplan’s tech support team offers a full range of support services, including technical support available by phone, email, and live chat, and students are guided through the process of familiarizing themselves with the online classroom and the university’s own network portal.

Student Engagement
For a university with so many online offerings, Kaplan University has made great strides toward engaging its student communities in both the on-campus and virtual environments. Kaplan offers a multitude of student clubs and organizations open to all students, spanning every area of study and special academic interest. There is even a special section on the website dedicated to Kaplan’s students over 50.For its many outstanding efforts, Kaplan University wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for student engagement.

Disability Support

Kaplan University wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for disability support. Kaplan’s Center for Disability Services page features information for students looking to verify a disability, request academic accommodations for students with disabilities, or read the school’s non-discrimination and confidentiality policies. The university strives to deliver a welcoming and all-inclusive learning environment — Kaplan is “committed to providing opportunities for higher education to students with disabilities.”

Library and Research Support
The University of Illinois at Springfield wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for library and research support. The Brookens Library at UI features quick and easy database searches, personal accounts, for saving searches and notations, a handy mobile app for the library website, and a live chat option, to connect with a librarian. There is even a special subsection just for online learning that outlines the additional library resources available to those earning a degree from a distance. Students gave UI a high score for best library on CollegeProwler.com.

Learning Support
The award for best online master’s degree in law for learning support goes to Kaplan University. As outlined in the Student Services section of KaplanUniversity.edu, students are offered many academic resources to supplement their online course work. Through Student Services, students can access the Academic Advising and Academic Success Center, for help with writing, math, and science, as well as academic testing, placement, and counseling. This department also features academic support tailored to military students, and oversees Career Services and Technical Support.

Faculty Credentials
The University of Illinois at Springfield wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for faculty credentials. As stated on the Points of Pride page for the Legal Studies department at UI, all of faculty members in this department have Juris Doctorate degrees and/or PhDs, as well as a broad base of professional experience and expertise. Students on CollegeProwler.com sing the praises of the faculty at this university—the school was given a near-perfect score for “smartest professors” among top national universities.

Faculty Accessibility
The University of Illinois at Springfield wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for faculty accessibility. On the Learn From the Pros section of UIS.edu, students can read in-depth interviews with faculty at each of the schools at UI, as well as view videos of their individual teaching styles. The school boasts that the availability of this kind of personal insight into the character of the faculty, and easy access to their direct contact information for students, is only one of the many benefits of keeping class sizes small; the student to faculty ratio currently averages 15 to 1.

Alumni Engagement
Kaplan University wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for alumni engagement. KaplanUniversity.edu’s official alumni site, Kaplan Connections, offers many resources for alums, including career services and extended invitations for alumni to “get informed” and “get involved.” Students showed their appreciation for the efforts of Kaplan Connections by giving this university high marks for “strongest alumni network” on CollegeProwler.com.

Prior Learning Options
Kaplan University wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for prior learning options. On the Credit for Prior Learning page, students can find everything they need to know about maximizing their prior learning credits at Kaplan, including details about which of the many accepted types of credits are applicable to individual degree programs and areas of study. Students seem to appreciate the ease and efficiency of this information—on CollegeProwler.com Kaplan received a near-perfect score for “easiest transfer process.”

New Online Student Orientation
The University of Illinois at Springfield wins the award for best online master’s degree in law for its new online student orientation resources. Through the New Student Orientation and Parent Relations page of UIS.edu, students can find information about orientation activities, instructions for how to establish an account on the university’s intranet, and what to expect once they’ve completed their registration online. Students polled on CollegeProwler.com gave UI a high score for “best registration process.”

Explore a Master’s Degree in Law

Lawyers who acquire a Master’s in Laws, or a LLM, will see their careers advance and their knowledge of a specific discipline in U.S. law expand. To enroll in a LLM program, students must already possess a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, according to LSAC.org. Normally, students can complete this degree in one year if they attend full time or two years if they attend part time. However, each student’s situation is different, and each school’s curriculum requirements varies; also, students who begin a master’s in law program with relevant completed master’s work may find they have fewer courses to take.

Class Curriculum

Students working towards this degree will take courses that center around the area of law, or particular specialized subfield they are pursuing. Each school varies in terms of the specializations it offers students. Some schools’ programs provide a broader curriculum; for instance, concentration in U.S. law or international law. Other programs’ curriculum is more specialized; for instance, a concentration in tort law or contract law. As such, courses will differ between universities. Some courses a LLM student may take are:

  • Tax Research. For those seeking a LLM degree with a concentration in taxation, this is an introductory course. In it, students learn how to effectively conduct taxation related research, interpret it, and utilize it to set forth a winning argument.
  • Survey of Estates & Trusts. This is an introductory course for those concentrating in estate planning. It provides students with the basics of estate and trust law, such as how to launch a trust and how to differentiate asset types when examining an estate.
  • Global Privacy Laws. Students whose concentration is information technology and privacy law might take this course. International laws that govern privacy, how they affect commerce, and where jurisdiction between countries has been established will be learned and compared.

Usually, the course work necessary to complete a LLM degree is a combination of research and assignments; however, this depends on the program and the college. Some programs also require a thesis course; in it, students will conduct research, develop an interesting research question, and attempt to answer that question over the course of two semesters, finishing the course by reporting their findings in a research paper. As they experienced in law school, students should expect course work, projects, and tests that involve exhaustive reading, studying, and researching.

Building a Career

The skills developed in a LLM degree relate to one’s ability to research and argue effectively through a deepened knowledge of a particular law specialty. With these skills, lawyers can grow in their careers by offering clients legal advice with a vast knowledge to back it up. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conveyed in 2011 that the average U.S. lawyer makes $113,310 annually. However, experience, location, education, specialization, and other elements can affect one’s salary, making the reported salary an estimate, not a promise.

The outlook for lawyers in coming years is good in terms of hiring, as demand is predicted by the BLS to increase by 10% into 2020. However, it is also true that more law students graduate annually than there are jobs available, making the job market very competitive. So ultimately, those who earn a LLM will more marketable in the job market than those with only a J.D. degree. Additionally, according to the same BLS report, some industries have begun using legal professionals, such as paralegals, instead of lawyers to complete business related legal services.

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