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USC Launches New Online Master Of Studies In Law (MSL) Program For Non-lawyers

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In 2001, USC Gould School of Law embarked on an initiative to develop a host of graduate program offerings to complement its premier J.D. program. The law school opened its Graduate & International Programs’ office shortly thereafter and has since launched a wide array of programs for U.S. and international law and non-law students. The most recent addition to its offerings is the online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program which is targeted at the rapidly growing market of non-lawyers who seek a legal education and want to broaden their professional skills – but who do not intend to practice law. Below is our interview with Deborah Call, Associate Dean, Graduate & International Programs at Gould School of Law:


Q: What’s the best thing about USC Gould School of Law that people might not know about?

A: The USC Trojan Family is a unique community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that spans the globe and we believe compares to no other university network in the country. Our strong tight-knight law school community is felt by every student, whether enrolled on campus or online. From the point that students request information about our programs, through their admission, enrollment, and long beyond graduation, USC Gould School of Law faculty and staff provide friendly and efficient assistance to students in all aspects of their academic, personal, and professional lives. Graduates often tell us that the level of student support they received as valued members of our Trojan Family is unmatched by any university or organization they have known. Students who enroll at USC Gould School of Law become Trojans for life, and the impact of their USC education, experience, and network is lifelong and worldwide.

Q: You’ve recently launched a new online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program for non-lawyers; tell us something more?

A: We are excited to launch our new online MSL program this fall, which really aligns with our law school’s mission to support interdisciplinary academics. Our MSL degree is intended to give non-lawyers a solid background in the U.S. legal system. We believe it will help graduates launch or further enhance their career in a variety of fields, including business/corporate settings, education, engineering, entertainment, government, health care, human resources, paralegal work, patent agencies, and more. Given the pervasiveness of law in various fields, the MSL program will meet the growing demand non-lawyers have to develop familiarity with the fundamentals of law and the legal and regulatory process in order to understand and meet compliance requirements for their companies and organizations.

After the great success we’ve seen with our online Master of Laws (LLM) program for internationally trained law graduates and lawyers, we are confident that our new online Master of Studies in Law students will find equal success and satisfaction in the program. The faculty who teach our online courses are full- and part-time professors at USC Gould School of Law with many years of experience in the legal field. Our unique online platform allows for great interactivity between faculty, students, and teaching assistants. This includes weekly, live, group web conference sessions for each class and interactive discussion boards, assignments, and curricular tools throughout each week. Our convenient, 100% online program allows students to earn the MSL degree while concurrently pursuing other professional activities. MSL students can complete their degrees in as few as three semesters, or can tailor their schedule to meet demands of their personal or professional lives.

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Q: Can you give us more insights about program and admission process?

A: The Online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program is designed for new graduates as well as seasoned professionals from varying fields of studies and careers, who seek an understanding of how the U.S. legal system functions. Candidates will hail from universities within the U.S. and abroad. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for start in the Spring (January), Summer (May), or Fall (September) semesters beginning this fall 2016.

Students will earn the USC MSL degree by completing 21 units of study among the following courses offered online:
· Business for Lawyers
· Business Organizations
· Constitutional Law
· Contract Drafting & Strategy
· Introduction to the U.S. Legal System
· Legal Profession
· Legal Research
· Mergers & Acquisitions
· Securities Regulation
· Topics in American Law

The USC MSL degree gives graduates expertise in legal issues related to their specific professional fields and academic interests. Graduates of the Online MSL program will have a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. legal system, advanced legal terminology including speaking and writing skills, the ability to perform legal research and analysis, and practical knowledge of the legal profession.

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Q: What are your plans for the next six months?

A: We will be launching our new Technology & Entrepreneurship certificate program this Fall 2016. It will be the nation’s first JD certificate in entrepreneurship and technology, and will provide students with a powerful edge as they pursue startup ventures, partnerships or transactional law. Our new two-year LLM program will also begin this Fall 2016 and will provide international students the opportunity to learn about the U.S. legal system, master legal English, earn a Certificate in U.S. Legal Studies in year one, and then enroll in our Master of Laws (LLM) program in year two.

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