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JD vs. MJ

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Maintain FL 350:

--- Quote from: Steeler-Fan on January 02, 2013, 11:19:59 AM ---I was looking for alternatived to naot have to dish out 100k+ for a JD degree. I'm aware that a MJ degree won't allow me to practice and/or be licensed, but I was more less wondering what I can do with it in the legal industry.

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Right, I understand. I don't think you can do very much at all in the legal field with just an MJ.

The "legal field" is essentially comprised of attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries, arbitrators, law professors, and few others. Without a JD you're (obviously) limited to the non-attorney positions like paralegal. The problem is, I don't think an MJ would help there either. Paralegals and legal secretaries don't typically have a master's. Experience is what's required for those jobs. Arbitrators and mediators are usually (though not always) lawyers or retired judges. Again though, you have to have significant experience to get those jobs, an MJ alone won't cut it. 

One possibility might be expert witness. With your engineering background you might be able to provide expert testimony in engineering related cases. An MJ is not required to be an expert witness, but if you could tailor an MJ to compliment your engineering knowledge it might help.

--- Quote from: livinglegend on January 02, 2013, 03:56:36 PM ---I am a practing lawyer and I honestly don't know what an M.J is I just googled it and it appears to be a degree dealing with health regulations. Perhaps this could help you land some administrator job at a hospital, but it will not allow you to represent clients in court.

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My understanding is that an MJ is sort of like an LL.M, but it's designed for non-attorneys. They're typically marketed as degrees that will enhance the individuals understanding of the law. They might have some use for people who work in heavily regulated areas (like healthcare). I believe there are different MJ programs focusing on different types of law.

I really question the degree's utility on a cost/benefit basis. I suppose if you work and field where you regularly interact with attorneys the MJ might help you understand the law and processes better. Is that worth the cost of tuition? Maybe, maybe not. It reminds me of the "Executive JD" that a few schools offer.

MJ sounds like a MSLS  or MALS, essentially a Masters in Legal Studies.  I used to instruct in a MSLS program, the degree is useful to paralegals and government employees looking to promote due to the erosion of the job market which requires everyone to have some sort of MA to get to the next level..  However, unless you already have a job in the legal or public administration field, I doubt it will enhance any career propsects.  It definitely is not a JD degree and at best you would end up taking orders from some second year associate attorney. The curriculum is pretty basic and not near as intense as law school. Programs that dwell heavy on theory instead of hard skills like research and writing are questionnable.

Kim Sherman:
The law education system in the US is somewhat backward (reversed) from other educational fields. In other fields, folks typically earn their Bachelors, then a Masters, then a Doctorate (PhD or EDd). In Law, after the Bachelors, you earn your JD (Juris Doctorate). To specialize in one area after a JD, lawyers may apply to a Masters in Law in that area.

So the path is: Bachelors, > Doctorate > Masters for lawyers.

Get the JD. Then decide if you want more focused training in a specialty area, and apply to the Masters.



--- Quote from: Steeler-Fan on January 02, 2013, 11:19:59 AM --- I'm aware that a MJ degree won't allow me to practice and/or be licensed, but I was more less wondering what I can do with it in the legal industry.

--- End quote ---

I'd suggest you look at books designed for people with law degrees who don't want to practice law, such as:

* The Lawyer's Career Change Handbook: More Than 300 Things You Can Do With a Law Degree (ISBN-13: 978-0380795727)
* The New What Can You Do With a Law Degree: A Lawyer's Guide to Career Satisfaction Inside, Outside & Around the Law (ISBN-13: 978-0940675711) (You can probably get these books through your local library.)


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