No matter where you are in your career, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law offers a graduate program to help you advance your career goals.
Three online programs are now accepting applications: Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) for nonlawyers and certificate programs for those interested in a shorter course of study.
The Master of Laws (LL.M.) program is open to individuals who have already earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. A joint-degree option for current Cumberland students pursuing their J.D. is also available.
This 30-credit-hour advanced degree complements the traditional three-year J.D. curriculum and will prepare students for roles in compliance, regulatory affairs and more.
Dean Henry C. Strickland explained that the “LL.M. program provides lawyers specialized expertise in fast growing areas of the law. In addition to enabling them to enter or expand their practices in these areas, receiving an LL.M. will permit lawyers to counsel clients about compliance systems or move into in-house compliance roles.”
Students who have not earned a Juris Doctor degree may choose to pursue the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) degree. This degree offers a 36-hour course of study designed for nonlawyers interested in pursuing graduate study that will position them for advancement in their current field.
“This program enriched and enhanced my employment opportunities. I received many offers from organizations who were specifically interested in the skills I obtained as a direct result of this master’s program,” shared Kristen Iqal, a 2017 graduate of the health law and policy program. “I happily accepted a new role in which I am responsible for conducting audits of legal and nonlegal vendors for compliance with all internal, regulatory and agency-specific guidelines and standards, with an increase in salary, 40 percent larger than my beginning offer at my previous role. I am grateful for this program, and I am eager to see where my career leads me.”
Cumberland’s newest offerings are online graduate certificates. The certificates are offered for students who are not ready to commit to the amount of time required to complete the degree programs, but want to learn more about one of the four areas of study available to students in the degree programs. Students who later choose to pursue the M.S.L. degree may apply course work completed as part of the certificate program to their degree program. The certificate programs are pending ABA acquiescence.
Students in Cumberland’s online graduate programs can focus on one of four concentrations including financial services regulatory compliance, health law and policy, higher education law and compliance, and legal project management. A customized M.S.L. option is also available. Both the LL.M. and the M.S.L. can be completed in just 24 months of part-time study. The certificates can be completed in about a year. All of Cumberland’s online graduate programs admit students for the fall term. Two certificates are also available to begin in the summer term
Faculty members for the online graduate programs are industry experts, practicing attorneys, Cumberland School of Law faculty and Samford faculty from other disciplines. The curriculum focuses on foundational and specialized knowledge as well as real-world, practical skills that can be immediately applied in the workplace.
“American businesses today deal with statutory and regulatory demands that are complex and subject to rapid change,” said Michael E. DeBow, the Steven Everett Wells professor of municipal law. “Cumberland’s online graduate programs provide students with an understanding of the current compliance framework, so that they become more valuable to their organizations. It also seeks to enable students to self-educate with regard to changes that come after they have graduated from the program.”