New law degrees give students a competitive edge

  • New law degrees give students a competitive edge

    Aspiring lawyers are facing an increasingly competitive job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in law are expected to increase 10 percent through 2022, which is about as fast as the average across all industries. However, because of the downsizing of many clients’ legal budgets, the competition will grow even fiercer, making it more important than ever for applicants to stand out from their peers.

    “The demand for human rights and environmental law is expected to grow.”

    Human rights and environmental law
    In response to the added competition, some law schools have developed new degrees that are specific to certain fields. The University of Connecticut School of Law recently created two new masters degrees in law, including one that focuses on human rights and social justice and another that specializes in energy and environmental law. Both concentrations are expected to grow in demand, and having the specific degree on a graduate’s résumé can help make him or her more marketable to employers. Having training in energy and environmental law is especially advantageous for job seekers.

    “Addressing [the challenges of environmental law] requires not just scientific expertise, but legal vision to facilitate technological advances and guide policy transformation,” Joe MacDougald, professor-in-residence and director of the program, said in a press release.

    Compliance programs
    Seton Hall University (SHU) also recently developed a new law degree to give aspiring lawyers specific education to add to their résumé. Law students at the university are now able to earn a Juris Doctor concentration in Compliance, which is an integral part of law that’s growing in need.

    “Corporations call on compliance attorneys to develop and implement policies, systems, and processes to ensure the organization adheres to legal rules and industry standards while pursuing its strategic objectives,” Stephen J. Lubben, a professor at SHU, said in a press release. “As new regulations and laws such as the UK Bribery Act 2010 and Dodd-Frank emerge, compliance expertise and skills are in great demand.”

    Becoming a lawyer
    There are many steps to becoming a lawyer that go far beyond the traditional four years of undergraduate study and three years of law school. The BLS explains that in addition to extensive education, lawyers need to meet unique state and jurisdiction requirements and pass the bar exam. Additional experience working in a specialized field, as well as specific educational concentrations, can help set applicants apart.

    However, a lawyer’s education is unending. Many states require lawyers to continue their education and stay up to date on changing legal requirements throughout their career. The more knowledge lawyers have on a certain subject, the better equipped they’ll be in their profession.

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