Non-Lawyer Legal Professions

If you work in a legal setting, it’s important to be able to research, document and communicate with the same accuracy and efficiency as a lawyer — but you don’t need to earn a full JD to do so. With a Master of Legal Studies (MLS), you’ll refine your skills in these areas and enhance your understanding of the U.S. legal system and its procedures so you can work more confidently and cultivate a better rapport with lawyers in your office. You can also gain specialized expertise in a particular area of law, such as health or employment law, by selecting electives in your area of interest.

Professionals in non-lawyer legal professions who would benefit from our MLS degree include:


An MLS will help you cultivate the scrupulous research and communication skills needed to advance in this role. With courses like Legal Writing, Civil Procedure and Trial Advocacy, you will hone these abilities — including the use of research databases like LexisNexis —and gain a foundation in multiple areas of law.

Legal assistants

You will develop the research and communication skills to perform your job more effectively. Specifically, you will be able to conduct research more quickly and comprehensively, and draft correspondences and legal documents that are clear, informed and thorough. These skills will also allow you to more confidently assist and collaborate with lawyers in your workplace.

Legal consultants

An MLS degree will help you build the legal foundation to better advise clients — keeping them safe from legal retribution — and provide more comprehensive support to lawyers. Specifically, you will expand your knowledge of contracts, compliance, negotiation and legal writing.

Legal journalists

A background in law will help you understand and analyze your legal sources more efficiently and, in turn, more accurately portray law-related stories to the public. It will also allow you to add depth and insight to your reporting.

Expert witnesses

Serving as an expert witness can be a lucrative job, and the legal background an MLS provides can help you understand legal proceedings more thoroughly — and thus better support lawyers, law firms and trials. An MLS can also provide the foundation you’ll need to expand this service into a larger profession or business.

Patent agents

A patent agent’s responsibilities require an understanding of intellectual property — which can include patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. By building fundamental knowledge of the laws and legal procedures shaping our patent, trademark and copyright systems — and understanding how intellectual property rights are granted, protected and enforced — you will be better equipped to recognize legal issues and address them before they are magnified.

Law librarians

An effective law librarian can evaluate new technology and publications to ensure they are the best resources available for attorneys. A law background will better inform this research and analysis, and allow you to more effectively advise lawyers, paralegals and legal students on the best resources for their cases.

Relevant Courses

  • Contracts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Intellectual Property
  • Property
  • Constitutional Law
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Legal Writing
  • Torts
  • Negotiation