Cincinnati Law launches Master of Legal Studies online degree

The University of Cincinnati College of Law today announced the launch of a new online master of legal studies program, designed for working professionals who would benefit from a sophisticated understanding of the laws and regulations that intersect with their career. 

The college is accepting applications for its inaugural class now; the first term begins in January 2022. 

Cincinnati Law has selected Susan Stephan as director of the master of legal studies program. Previously, she served as associate dean of graduate and online programs at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. Stephan brings significant experience in online legal master's program administration, law, and teaching to this new role. She begins on November 1, 2021. 

“The master of legal studies and other similar programs are the next step in our evolution as a law school—offering legal education to those in legal adjacent careers,” said Verna Williams, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the College. “The master of legal studies program allows us to teach new learners, providing them with the foundational knowledge to succeed in the growing areas of compliance and risk management, among others.

“Beginning this new venture with Susan Stephan assures its success, given her extensive experience and vision for online learning. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

I am thrilled to be joining the College of Law at this exciting time.

Susan Stephan, Director, Master of Legal Studies Program

Susan Stephan, Director, Master of Legal Studies Program

Susan Stephan, Director, Master of Legal Studies Program

“I am thrilled to be joining the College of Law at this exciting time,” said Stephan. “Master of legal studies programs are increasingly relevant to employers and employees in today’s business environment. An online legal master’s program responds to a significant need for professionals whose work requires an understanding of the latest legal developments. Such positions will multiply in the future.”

In today’s complex business environment, the need for legal skills in non-lawyer jobs is growing. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics” reports the demand for professionals with a master of legal studies or similar degrees in law for non-lawyers will increase 15% through 2026. Working in fields such as compliance, risk management, or human resources does not always require a JD; however, a Master of Legal Studies signals to employers that a worker has achieved a level of expertise that will benefit corporate and other legal employers’ efforts in this regard.

"There's a demand for this program in our region,” said assistant dean for international and graduate programs Nora Burke Wagner, who played a leading role in making this program a reality. “We talked with dozens of employers in a variety of industries to inform the program design and to gauge interest. By opening the online master of legal studies degree, we are taking a monumental, strategic step towards serving new learners with an expanded and flexible array of educational opportunities for working professionals to advance their careers with a better understanding of the law.”  

The demand for this program in the Cincinnati area has created opportunities for Cincinnati Law’s master of legal studies program to partner with several regional Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. UC Online prides itself on supporting individuals as they develop the skills needed to advance in their careers and succeed in the future. This has led them to develop an exclusive scholarship opportunity for corporate partners – giving these companies the ability to provide their current employees and their families with a high-quality online education.

(W)e are taking a monumental, strategic step towards serving new learners with an expanded and flexible array of educational opportunities for working professionals to advance their careers with a better understanding of the law.

Nora Burke Wagner, Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programs

About the Master of Legal Studies Online Program

The master of legal studies program at Cincinnati Law is a 30-credit hour, fully online degree. Students will earn their degree in five terms, equal to less than two years total, with two seven-week classes per semester. Because it is online, students can work at their own pace, maintaining their full-time jobs while in school. 

Classes will cover topics including compliance, risk management, cyber security, privacy, employment law, and legal research.  A capstone project will allow students to apply their new knowledge and skills. Classes will be taught by Cincinnati Law faculty and attorneys practicing in these areas.

 “As the director of the master of legal studies program, I so look forward to working with the inaugural class of motivated learners,” added Stephan. “We’re excited not only to see our students thrive but also to see the benefit to the law school community that their knowledge and experience will bring.”

For more information about the program or to apply, visit the Master of Legal Studies online program website.