Curriculum

 A one-year program for working professionals

The MLS is a 30-credit, 1-year master's degree. Classes meet 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, every other week.

MLS students are immersed in the challenging, collaborative law school environment, in our nationally award-winning building.

Our curriculum provides students with a deeper understanding of the legal system, with an emphasis on law’s role in the modern world.

Courses focus on areas of law most commonly encountered by executives and working professionals, including contracts, intellectual property, litigation, and regulation. Students interested in a specific area of law can replace up to four courses from the standard curriculum with other offerings within the law school.

Courses include

U.S. Legal System (2 credits)
This course introduces students to the basic structure, function, operation, and role of the U.S. legal system. It addresses the roles of different branches of the government; the relationship between federal, state, and local governments; the ways in which individuals and businesses interact with the legal system and process; and sources of U.S. law. It also introduces basic concepts of how law is made and the role of law in U.S. society, including constitutional law, the common law, the rule of law, and statutory and regulatory law and the rise of the administrative state.
Conflict and Legal Crisis Management (2 credits)
This course surveys a wide array of approaches to handling conflict, as well as conflict prevention and management strategies. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of law in resolving conflict in society, including through litigation, negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and arbitration, although the course approaches these tools as only part of broad spectrum for problem solving, conflict avoidance, and resolution. Students in the course will work through case studies of both public and private organizations that have faced legal dilemmas and crises.
Lawsuits and Litigation (3 credits)
This course introduces the role of civil lawsuits in society, with a particular emphasis on how the court system affects business, individuals, and public interest issues. Students in this course will learn about the role of the judiciary, the structure and function of trial and appellate courts (as well as specialized courts), and the basics of procedures that govern how lawsuits are resolved, including jurisdiction, pleading, motions practice, discovery, summary judgment, and trials. This course will also introduce basic elements of criminal law.
The Regulatory System (3 credits)
For nearly a century now, administrative agencies have played an ever-increasing role in lawmaking and governance in the United States. This course surveys the history of regulation in the United States, the rise of the administrative state, and the role and power of executive agencies at both the federal and state levels. It outlines the basic administrative process, including both regulatory and adjudicative actions taken by administrative agencies and the ability of outside parties to participate in and influence or challenge those decisions, addresses procedural and substantive limits on those agencies, and explores the complex relationship between regulators and regulated entities.
Procuring and Managing Legal Services (3 credits)
This course focuses on how to identify and work effectively and collaboratively with attorneys, particularly from the perspectives of managers and clients. What roles can attorneys best serve on collaborative business and problem-solving teams? What role can they play in public and private organizations, either as internal team members or as external advisers and counselors? The course also addresses questions of how to know when legal services are required, and how to manage the acquisition of legal services, including maximizing the value and cost-effectiveness of those services, ensuring efficiency, working collaboratively with lawyers, and understanding the legal lens that attorneys bring to problem solving.
Understanding Cases, Statutes, and Legislation (3 credits)
In this class, students will gain an understanding of how law is made. The role of judges in making law, resolving disputes, and interpreting statutes is a primary focus, as is the relationship between statutes, regulations, and judicial review. Students should leave the course with an understanding of how judicial opinions are structured, how to read and interpret them, and what their effect is, the difference between factual and legal issues, and the process for making laws and the tools for interpreting them. It will also explain the various levels of courts and the degree of authority reflected in opinions issued at each level.
Contracts in the Modern Economy (3 credits)
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of contract law, including contract formation, claims for breach, and affirmative defenses. It approaches contracts from a practical perspective and uses real world examples from the private sphere. Basic approaches for and pitfalls in drafting contracts are also addressed.
Government, Private Property, and Land Use (3 credits)
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of property, including different forms of property, rights in property, and how property can be leveraged for private and public good. The course puts a particular emphasis on the role of government in relation to property, including zoning, regulation, and takings.
Business, IP, Labor, and Employment in the Modern Economy (4 credits)
An introduction to the role of law in governing businesses, including substantive law that controls different forms of business formation and governance, management-labor relations, the employer-employee relationship, and the evolving role of the private firm in a globalizing and increasingly technological economy. The course provides perspectives on how lawyers can add value to business relations.
Comparative Legal Studies (4 credits)
This course aims to help students understand the role of law in society from a comparative perspective, including the role of law in international relations and trade, particularly for governments and multinational firms. The course includes a field trip to a foreign country with visits to legal and government offices in that country as well as business and educational agencies if available. The trip will emphasize the culture of the country visited and the relationship of culture to the country's legal system, through group participation in selected cultural events and visits.