Course work and readings will address specialized ethical considerations inherent in the management of litigation and electronically stored information (ESI). Students will develop the skills and knowledge necessary for effective decision-making and project management in the law firm context, including techniques for evaluating firm profitability, outsourcing opportunities, alternative fee arrangements, and the role of technology and innovation in legal operations.

Go to Legal Operations (M.S.L.)

Program Goals & Learning Outcomes

Program Goals

  • Prepare students for professional careers through a systematic program of real world courses and training
  • Encourage graduates to pursue relevant professional credentials from industry-leading organizations
  • Empower students to communicate and interact effectively with attorneys, compliance professionals, and other members of the legal community
  • Develop the core competencies in a specialized field of study which are necessary for professional success

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will:

  • Be prepared for leadership roles in a variety of law office settings.
  • Understand the business of law and ways to positively impact profitability.
  • Apply and adapt the formal processes and principles of project management to the legal environment.
  • Apply process improvement techniques and strategies for the benefit of the firm.
  • Understand the legal and ethical responsibilities of a manager with respect to electronically stored information.
  • Identify and evaluate resources necessary for effective management of litigation and e-discovery.
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to ethical issues including complicity, breach of confidentiality, improper communication, and conflicts of interest.
  • Communicate complex ideas, orally and in writing, using legal, financial and industry-specific terminology.

Course Descriptions

Law Firm Accounting and Finance

Introduction to basic financial statements including balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flows as well as assets and liabilities. Students will learn how financial statements are developed from the underlying accounting information of a company, and how basic transactions of a business affect each line item shown on the financial statements. Time and billing will also be addressed. 

Legal Technology and Innovation

A study of current and emerging technologies used in law firms including client management, case management, time and billing applications, trial presentation software and the associated ethical considerations. The relationship between innovation, strategy, planning and profit will be explored.

E-Discovery

A study of the legal, ethical, financial, logistical, and procedural considerations of surrounding the discovery of electronically stored information. 

Legal Project Management

An overview of legal project management (LPM) resources and tools used in law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and legal outsourcing companies. Topics include: engaging the client, planning, budgeting, execution, communications, evaluation, closure, and ethical considerations.           

Business of Law

This course will explore the changing nature of the legal industry and how those changes impact legal operations in a variety of settings.

Information Privacy and Cybersecurity

This course will provide an introduction to the legal, technical, risk management, and ethical issues related to information privacy and cybersecurity.

Law Firm Management

An examination of leadership and management considerations in the modern law firm. Innovative models for law firms and the role of legal outsourcing firms and alternative fee arrangements will be addressed.

Master of Studies in Law Capstone

The culminating course of the Master of Studies in Law curriculum.  Students will sharpen communication skills as they work with a mentor to produce a unique, well-researched project to present to classmates and colleagues virtually or on campus.

Career Information

This program will prepare students for career opportunities or development in the following careers: firm administrators, mass tort or complex litigation attorneys, litigation paralegals, new lawyers/recent graduates, and law firm marketing or finance professionals.

Students in this program may choose to enhance their career options by pursuing a credential or certification from a professional organization. Below are some options that may benefit students in the legal operations concentration.

Below are some links to legal operations and e-discovery job opportunities that may be available in your area:

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete and submit an online application. All materials must be submitted through the online system which includes detailed instructions. It is the applicant’s responsibility to log into his or her application to confirm that all required materials (recommendations, transcripts) have been received. Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the awarding institution to:

Cumberland School of Law, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham Alabama, 35229, ATTN: Grad Law.

Please allow ample time for transcript orders to be processed.

Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) Admission Requirements

  • Submit a transcript indicating the award of a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA from a regionally accredited institution
  • GRE or MAT scores strongly advised, but not required, for students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume

Master of Laws (LL.M.) Admission Requirements

  • Submit a transcript indicating the award of a Juris Doctor or be currently enrolled as a Juris Doctor student at Cumberland School of Law
  • One letter of recommendation from a former faculty member or professional colleague
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume

Important Dates

  • Application Open – October 15, 2019
  • Priority Application Deadline - March 1, 2020
  • Final Application Deadline – April 1, 2020 (all application materials must be received by this date)
  • Summer Term Begins – June 1, 2020

International Applicant Information

Financial Aid, Tuition and Fees

Financial Aid

For information about financial aid, please visit the Office of Financial Aid online or call their office at 205-726-2905 or 1-800-888-7245.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are posted on the Student Financial Services website. Students pay Samford University’s graduate per-credit-hour tuition rate. For academic year 2019-20, the graduate per-credit-hour rate is $862. Please see the link above for complete information, including fees. You may also view our Virtual Information Session for tuition and fee information. At this time, no scholarship opportunities are available.