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MLS vs JD Degree: Understanding the Differences and Benefits

Choosing a career path in the field of law leads you to some academic decision-making. Two of the most popular degrees are the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and the Juris Doctor (JD). While both degrees impart valuable knowledge of the legal system, they cater to different career goals. To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to understand the differences, benefits, and potential career outcomes of both. Here, we highlight Seattle University’s School of Law’s Online MLS in Compliance and Risk Management program, a unique opportunity that combines the rigor of law school with the flexibility of online education.

MLS vs JD Degree

Why Choose an MLS Degree?

An MLS is a graduate degree designed for individuals who aren’t interested in practicing law, but who seek a solid understanding of legal concepts relevant to their field of work. It’s ideal for professionals across various industries from healthcare to business who interact with legal issues and regulations in their role.

The MLS curriculum focuses on providing a broad foundation in legal principles, covering areas like contract law, corporate law, and regulatory compliance. Note that it does not prepare students to practice law, but to apply legal insights in their current or future professional roles. Consequently, you may earn a promotion, expand into leadership, become more valued in your current role, or become qualified for your next position. Our online MLS program offers specific concentrations that allow you to have a deeper understanding in a specific field. 

Our Concentrations include:

Earning a JD Degree

The JD, on the other hand, is a degree aimed at individuals who wish to practice law and represent clients. JD students delve deeply into the intricacies of law, engaging in intensive study of legal theory, case law, and the art of legal argument.

A JD program is longer than an MLS, often taking three years of full-time study. It includes foundational coursework in subjects like constitutional law, contracts, and torts, followed by specialized electives. Upon graduation, JD holders are eligible to sit for the bar examination, the gateway to practicing law as a licensed attorney.

Comparing MLS and JD Degrees

The primary difference between MLS and JD programs lies in their purpose. MLS degrees are designed to enhance professionals’ understanding of the law, while JD degrees aim to produce practicing attorneys.

SU’s MLS program is accessible, flexible, and efficient. Students can complete the degree with part-time study within 2 years, while JD programs traditionally span three years of full-time study. As for career opportunities, MLS graduates can find an edge in industries requiring a blend of professional expertise and legal knowledge. JD graduates, conversely, often move into practicing law.

Benefits of an MLS Degree

The MLS degree can offer a range of benefits to professionals. With a solid grounding in legal principles, Seattle U’s online MLS graduates can navigate the legal landscape within their industry with confidence. The degree can open new doors in careers where legal knowledge is an asset, enhancing prospects and potential earning capacity. Moreover, job candidates who understand regulatory compliance and legal issues are increasingly valued by employers, making MLS graduates more competitive.

Why Choose Seattle U School of Law’s Online MLS Degree

The Online MLS in Compliance and Risk Management program at Seattle University’s School of Law combines the school’s reputation for legal education with the convenience of online learning. This program offers a flexible route to enhancing your legal expertise without the need to pause your career. With features like asynchronous courses, which can be completed at any time and anywhere, your education fits your lifestyle and needs

Being part of Seattle U School of Law means engaging with a community known for its dedication to justice, academic rigor, and supportive environment. Our program equips students with the tools to understand legal complexities and compliance issues, making it a stellar choice for working professionals. And with expert faculty on hand to help with networking, you can expect plenty of personalized career advice. 

Next Steps and Applying to the Online MLS Program

Choosing between an MLS and JD degree is a significant decision, one that has the potential to shape your career trajectory. We invite you to explore our Online MLS in Compliance and Risk Management program further and consider how this degree could help you achieve your professional goals.

As you weigh the MLS vs. JD decision, remember that the best choice is the one that aligns with your career goals and lifestyle needs. Here at Seattle U, we are committed to providing a flexible, rigorous education that fits your life and propels your career forward. Taking the next step toward your future in the intersection of law and your professional field is straightforward. Learn more about the application process, and start your journey with Seattle University’s School of Law today.

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