Turning Your First Year of Law School into a Masters Degree

cmlaw_flagImagine after completing your first year of law school, you realize that you don’t wish to continue for the next two years. Law school was a mistake and now you want to pursue a different career path, one that suits your life better. For most law schools, you put in your notice of withdrawal and simply walk away. While there is nothing shameful about dropping out of law school, especially when it’s of your own volition and it’s simply the wrong choice for you in your life, it’s unfortunate that other people will look down on that “wasted year”. Law school is HARD, especially the first year, and it’s still an accomplishment to finish one-third of law school.

Starting this year, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University created a program for individuals that fall in a similar situation. If, after completing your first year of law school, you find that don’t wish to continue, your year of classes can turn into a Master of Legal Studies degree (MLS) without taking any additional courses. This masters program is designed for non-lawyers who plan to work regularly with laws and regulations. This is extremely beneficial for people who still want to use their legal knowledge from the year in law school for the career they want. However, if you plan to pursue a completely different area, the MLS still looks fantastic on a resume. Also, law affects every aspect of life so sooner or later,you’ll run into an obstacle that your MLS will help you with.  The dean of Cleveland-Marshall, Craig M. Boise stated about the program,

“Cleveland-Marshall has historically been an institution that operates with a keen understanding of current guiding social and economic forces that affect our students and their opportunities, and as such, we evolve. This new opportunity removes at least some of the financial and personal risk inherent in a large educational undertaking, and comes at a time when people appreciate more guarantees. It represents yet another positive innovation for our law school.”
Craig M. Boise, dean of Cleveland-Marshall.

Our generation has a different perspective on career choice than our parents. Our parents pursued the career that was practical and stable. Now, every graduation commencement speaker tells us to follow our passion and that the bravest thing you can do is stay true to yourself in this cold, harsh world. A huge reason I went to law school was because my dad always told me that I need to pursue a career that allowed me to live comfortably, while passion was put on the back burner. I’m lucky that one of my passions is in the legal career but, as we all know, the stability of the job market after graduation is not reliable. What would make getting a job even harder is having a gap in your resume, where you’ll have to explain that you failed to finish law school. The Masters of Legal Studies allows you to add another impressive credential to your educational history and explains that while law school might not have worked for you, you still have a basic knowledge of the law. I think this is a fantastic program and other schools should look at this as inspiration for their own curriculum.

(for more information, you can click here)


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