Washburn Law School to offer new Master’s program

Washburn University School of Law will soon offer the Master of Studies in Law to professionals in Kansas. Washburn is the only school in the local vicinity offering this degree, which is expected to start this fall.

There are many who desire to study law but are not necessarily interested in practicing it. Many have entertained the possibility of going to law school, especially after watching a good legal show on television or hearing about a big case, but when it comes right down to it, the decision to study law is often deterred by the time, energy and cost associated with attending law school.

Washburn Law Professor Bill Rich explains that M.S.L. degree is geared towards those who do not attend to practice law and do not seek a license to practice law but who will benefit from having a substantial background in law and law related issues which in turn will give them great depths in the field they are working.

As most every profession encounters legal issues in some way or another, the M.S.L. degree allows students to learn about the law and apply their knowledge to their individual discipline or career without having to go the traditional route of law school.

According to Washburn Law, the goal of their M.S.L. program is to provide a legal background that will complement the professional interests of the participants, strengthen their ability to interact effectively with the legal community, and provide professional certification of those accomplishments.

“We are geared towards adults who are seeking or engaged in professions that are parallel to the legal profession,” said Rich.

Prospective students come from parallel professions such as government, healthcare, human resources, real estate development, library services, journalism and business just to name a few.

Although the program reaches out to professionals already in the workforce and sees them as the most likely to participate, Rich said they are not excluding those individuals who know where they want to go and see this as a way of adding to their credentials and helping them pursue an alternative kind of career.

Rich explains these students may find the M.S.L. degree program beneficial as it helps partly with entry into the field as it can provide them with an additional credential that might help in terms of gaining the kind of position they want.

“Beyond that though, it provides them with the background and the knowledge that will make them more effective when they get into their field,” Rich said.

M.S.L. students receive lessons taught by the same law professors as law students. In fact, Rich said M.S.L students take classes with J.D. students. This is appealing to students who want a quality law school education without practicing law.

Participants in this program do not have to spend as much time on their degree as J.D. students which is also appealing for those who are not afforded the time to take off several years to pursue a degree in the legal field. The average law student completes their J.D. in three years whereas the M.S.L. degree can be completed within a single academic year if the qualified student chooses to attend full-time.

Acceptance to the program is based upon a broad range of primary testing, or professional experience. Upon admission a personal interview is given which tailors a curriculum that will be reasonable for each individual student.

The Washburn Board of Regents and the Kansas Board of Regents has approved this program and it has received American Bar Association acquiescence as well.  A request for approval is pending before the Higher Learning Commission but expected this spring.

Those interested in participating should contact the law school to determine admission requirements and meet application deadlines.

For more information regarding this program please visit: