What Can You Do with a Master’s in Legal Studies?

If you’re looking to expand your career prospects and boost your earning potential, pursuing a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree might be worth considering.

This degree program can equip you with the legal knowledge and expertise that are highly sought-after in a range of industries.

It can open up new opportunities for you to explore different career paths and job roles that require legal expertise.

Depending on your interests and goals, you can choose from a variety of career options after completing an MLS degree. Here are just a few examples of jobs that professionals with MLS degrees can pursue:

Common Jobs for Graduates with a Master of Legal Studies Degree

Compliance Manager

Compliance managers have the crucial responsibility of ensuring that their organization is compliant with all mandatory regulations. Their primary duties include establishing, documenting, and updating compliance processes. Additionally, they must identify compliance requirements and investigate any compliance issues that arise. When necessary, compliance managers must file the appropriate forms and communicate any emerging compliance issues with management, employees, and other stakeholders.

Contracts Manager

A contracts manager is responsible for drafting, reviewing, and executing contracts between organizations and their clients or vendors. They are also the main point of contact for clients and vendors, ensuring that all aspects of the contract are completed accurately, fully, and on time. Contracts managers work closely with finance and legal departments to ensure that all contracts are legally compliant and align with the organization’s financial goals.

Human Resources Manager

As a Human Resources Manager, your responsibilities include overseeing the development of employees in an organization and acting as a mediator between employers and leadership or union representatives. Some of the tasks that you may take on include recruiting, hiring, and training employees, managing employee benefits such as compensation, workplace savings, insurance, and employee leave, establishing employee conduct policies, and ensuring compliance with employment regulations.


A mediator is a professional who helps to resolve legal conflicts between consenting parties outside the courtroom. Some of the tasks that a mediator performs include facilitating communication between disputing parties, guiding them towards mutual agreement, establishing procedural matters such as fees and meeting times, collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and preparing settlement agreements.

Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Legal assistants and paralegals provide administrative support to law firms, including legal writing, research, document drafting, and trial preparation such as discovery.

Law Enforcement Officer

Law enforcement officers enforce local, state, and federal laws, protect public safety, and engage in community outreach to build trust and prevent crime. They patrol assigned areas, respond to emergencies, and conduct investigations.


Accountants are responsible for managing financial records, analyzing financial statements, and ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations. They provide financial insights to organizations, help with budgeting, and assist with decision-making by identifying areas for cost savings and revenue optimization. In addition, they may conduct audits to ensure accuracy and transparency in financial reporting.

Payroll Manager

Payroll managers are responsible for accurately processing employee payroll, including deductions and tax withholdings, and maintaining detailed payroll records while ensuring compliance with relevant laws and tax obligations.

Tax Manager

Tax managers play a vital role in overseeing tax reporting and compliance within large organizations. They are responsible for preparing and filing the organization’s taxes with the utmost accuracy to avoid audits. Tax managers are constantly updating themselves with the ever-changing tax regulations, maximizing tax deductions for their employers, and ensuring that the workplace practices comply with local, state, and federal tax laws.

Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications, assess risk factors, and establish policy terms and premiums. They analyze financial reports, industry trends, and data to make informed decisions on insurability, helping insurance companies manage their risks effectively.

Business Intelligence Analyst

Business intelligence analysts are professionals who collect and analyze data to extract valuable insights that can be used to make informed decisions at the strategic level. They are responsible for creating reports, dashboards, and visualizations that present complex data in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. By using data mining techniques, they can identify trends and patterns that help businesses identify opportunities for growth and make data-driven decisions.

How a Master of Legal Studies Degree Can Advance Your Career

The range of opportunities available to Master of Legal Studies (MLS) graduates will depend on their prior work experience, additional qualifications, and the industry in which they seek employment. However, due to the versatility of this degree, MLS graduates can confidently enter the job market with a wealth of foundational legal knowledge and transferable skills. The Master of Legal Studies is much more than just a credential—it’s a gateway to new horizons in your career.

Average Salary for Master of Legal Studies Graduates

Individuals who pursue a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree often do so to develop their legal skills and knowledge and advance their careers. Post-graduation, they tend to experience a rise in their salaries. Generally, a person with a master’s degree earns an average salary of $77,844, whereas someone holding a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $64,896 per year.

For MLS graduates, PayScale data indicates an average annual salary of $71,000; however, certain job designations offer higher levels of compensation. For instance, according to Lightcast, compliance directors can earn as much as $208,667 annually if their salary is in the 90th percentile.

Of course, salaries vary depending on various factors such as position, years of experience, industry, and location. Besides litigation, some of the most popular industries for law professionals include general business, real estate, intellectual property law, and regulatory compliance.

Master of Legal Studies (MLS) vs Juris Doctor (JD)

The main difference between a JD and MLS degree is the career paths they lead to. While both degrees offer knowledge in law, their purpose and application are different.

An MLS degree provides students with a working knowledge of the law that they can apply in industries that interact with the law, without requiring them to become a practicing attorney.

On the other hand, a JD degree is designed to train people to become practicing attorneys who represent clients, whether individuals, businesses or institutions.

An MLS degree is ideal for people who need to communicate with lawyers regularly but are not interested in representing clients, and for those working in highly regulated fields such as healthcare, education, nonprofits, manufacturing, and finance.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to have a clear understanding of how pursuing a post-graduate degree can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Before making a decision, it’s crucial to know what you want to gain and what steps you are willing to take to achieve your aspirations. Therefore, earning a degree in any field requires a significant amount of research and consideration.

If you frequently work with lawyers or want to gain a better understanding of compliance and regulatory issues in your industry, a Master of Legal Studies could be a great option for you. Regardless of why you choose to pursue an MLS, the knowledge and skills you acquire through this degree can be applied to a variety of careers in various fields.