Juris Doctor (J.D.) candidates embarking on their law school journey sometimes do so with a specific career path in mind: to practice law in a business or corporate setting or to serve the public good through advocacy work. For a broader yet more specialized range of skills, such candidates may benefit from a dual law degree program, such as a J.D./Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a J.D./Master of Public Administration (MPA).
These joint law degree programs in business or public policy concentrate a candidate’s interests while develoingp an advanced understanding of both fields. In the process, individuals take advantage of double the networking opportunities, helping them make career-launching connections in legal, business, and government sectors, and find job opportunities open up as they edge closer to graduation. As another plus, the format, facilitated by the College of Law’s partnership with the College of Business and Public Management, presents a streamlined path: the typical dual law degree student completes a J.D./MBA or J.D./MPA in four years’ time, as opposed to the five years required for back-to-back programs.
Careers with a J.D./MBA Degree
The question here isn’t what can you do, but rather where do you want to work? This dual degree prepares candidates for positions in finance, corporate legal departments, business law, and as entrepreneurs.
Flexibility is a significant asset for J.D./MBA candidates: individuals can start in law and make use of their dedicated legal knowledge to improve decision making, provide legal counsel in a business or corporate setting, or, as a practicing lawyer, work directly with and offer guidance to business clients through a firm or as an independent practitioner. Many candidates find themselves assisting with antitrust cases, mergers, and acquisitions on both sides.
In-House Legal Counsel
A lawyer works directly in a corporation’s legal department, advising management and senior members and helping shape company-wide legal policies. In this capacity, a candidate’s MBA knowledge provides a holistic perspective of organizational goals, objectives, and operations. Although all types of industries have in-house legal departments, banks, insurance companies, and financial firms frequently employ nearly as many lawyers as an independent law firm.
Large corporations often seek out expansion or partnership opportunities, and in these merger and acquisition scenarios, the both-sides knowledge of a J.D./MBA degree is particularly pertinent. Beyond the legalities, a corporate lawyer with a solid business background will understand why a merger will be advantageous, the role of debt, and how company structures will change.
A Business Career Involving Legal Knowledge
A surprising number of business decisions involve evaluating and anticipating potential legal ramifications. Issues arise from contracts, licenses, regulation, mergers, and associations between businesses. Management professionals with a firm, multifaceted legal foundation not only understand the jargon but have the skills to work with in-house or outside legal counsel to avoid and respond to potential litigation.
In a Law Firm
Just as in business, an MBA gives a lawyer an edge. In this case, that’s to be a managing partner, a senior member who oversees the firm’s business transactions, marketing efforts, and day-to-day operations across employee retention, payroll, and policies.
Other J.D./MBA professionals branch off into business law or management consulting. In these positions, the lawyer is contracted to assist with mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, real estate transactions, intellectual property, and risk management; however, their counsel may be needed to improve business strategy, operational processes, and corporate structure.
Careers with a J.D./MPA
Individuals thinking about a career in public service, be it government, a nonprofit organization, or advocacy work, often debate about whether to earn a J.D. to represent clients in these areas or an MPA for a behind-the-scenes role. With the J.D./MPA track, this dual degree not only expands your perspective but presents several career paths.
A J.D. degree by itself provides a procedural study of the law. Although this information is valuable on its own, it’s not fully specific to public service. Preparing students for careers in government and public policy, an MPA program builds upon these areas, offering a more pointed understanding of:
- management and business structure;
- the formation and analysis of public policy;
- government structure;
- project and program management; and
- policy issues concerning the environment, discrimination, civil rights, women’s rights, and immigration.
Ultimately, the J.D./MPA presents a stronger, more targeted path into the public service field and allows you to do more than dispense legal advice and ensure compliance with existing laws. Individuals who have earned this joint law and policy credential may decide to:
- become a private practice lawyer specifically dealing with public sector and government cases, a judge, or an advocate or policy professional who addresses the legal issues involved in healthcare delivery;
- pursue a career in government or policy administration, using your knowledge to write and propose measures that are not only legally sound but benefit the public;
- provide legal counsel and regulatory advising to government, nonprofits, and policy organizations, ensuring that all proposed measures are constitutionally appropriate;
- represent clients in disability or public health law; or
- work as an insurance fraud attorney, representing victims of scams and enforcing consumer protection laws.
Learn More About La Verne’s J.D./MBA and J.D./MPA Dual Degree Programs
Are you contemplating pursuing a J.D./MBA or J.D./MPA degree and want to learn more? Whether you’re applying to the College of Law or are a first-year student thinking about adding a graduate degree, contact the College of Law’s Office of Admissions by email or by phone at (877) 858-4529 today.