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ASL Offering A Master’s in Legal Studies

05/22/13

Goals of the Program:
This program will target several different categories of students and professionals.  First, it will target those students who want legal training and/or an advanced degree for their professional careers, but do not want to invest the time and expense required by a traditional JD program.  Second, the Master's will serve as an avenue for students who were denied admittance to ASL or another law school, but want to pursue their legal education.  This program will provide the students the opportunity to hone their study skills and academic credentials.  This program will provide ASL an opportunity to closely evaluate those students for admissions consideration and it is consistent with our Mission as a school of opportunity.   

Program Descriptions:            
Students will be enrolled in traditional law classes and programs and take classes with our current JD students.  There are several specialty classes and offerings that will require faculty approval.  Students will receive a well rounded advanced degree, with exposure to several areas of the law and practical training.  Also, students will be permitted to take Seminars both semesters to tailor their master's toward their interests.  Some examples include classes in workers' compensation and disability law for volume practice firms or natural resources classes for area energy companies or law firms. 

Admissions to the Master's in Legal Studies Program:
Applicants must submit:  Official transcripts of all college, graduate, and professional studies, whether a degree was obtained or not.  At least two letters of recommendation.  An essay on how you expect to use the knowledge acquired in pursuing the MLS degree.
Decisions about admission will be made on the basis of the above information and the applicant's entire academic and employment record. A personal interview may also be required.
Anticipated enrollment 20 students.
Please contact our Admissions team (admissions@asl.edu or 276-244-1203) for additional information and how to apply for the MLS program.

Admission to ASL JD Program:
Students who did not apply to the ASL JD program will need to follow the prescribed protocol for applications and are not required to complete the Master's in Legal Studies in order to gain acceptance into the JD program. 
However, those students who were denied admission to ASL and who want to re-apply for admission to the JD program must successfully complete the Master's in Legal Studies.  Also, a Master's student who re-applies to ASL may be required to retake the LSAT in order seek admission to the JD program upon the Admissions Committee's review and recommendation. 
Credit earned as part of the Master's in Legal Studies will not count toward their JD.

Possible Program Curriculum:         

1st Semester:                                               2nd Semester:

Introduction to Law       (1 hour)

Legal Strategies    (1 hour)                          Legal Process II (3 hours)

Legal Process I     (3 hours)                        Law Firm Technology and Advanced

Contracts    (3 hours)                                  Legal Research (3 hours)*

Torts           (3 hours)                                  Real Estate Transactions (4 hours)

ADR           (2 hours)                                  Elective                          (3 hours)

Elective       (3 hours)                                  Seminar                         (2 hours)

_________________________                           _____________________________

Total           16 hours                                  Total                    15 hours

Required first semester electives:  Accelerated Civil Procedure and Pretrial Practice*, Criminal Procedure and/or Criminal Law.      
*Classes and/or curriculum changes that will require faculty approval.
Students can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. 

Assessments:
Masters students will be placed into our regular law classes and will participate in every assessment.  However, students will be solely evaluated with other Masters students and not JD students. They will receive traditional grades, i.e. A, B, C, D and/or F. 

Why:                    
In a shifting legal education world and market, ASL will need to diversify programs and offerings to attract more students and offset declining law student enrollment.  One way to accomplish this objective is to offer a one year Masters in Legal Studies.  This program will allow us to target students or professionals who desire training in the law without the expense and time commitment of a traditional JD.  Finally, ASL is a school of opportunity and this allows us to expand our offerings and provide educational opportunities for the people of Appalachia. 

Long Range Goal and Program Direction:
The current goal is to offer the Masters in Legal Studies commencing in the fall of 2013 in order to target professionals in the area, paralegals and/or those students who were denied admission to ASL or another law school.