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Students pursuing a degree in legal studies will develop the skills necessary to work in a legal profession at the assistant or paralegal level. Students in a legal studies program will be give a broad education on the various facets and methods of law, and how they are applicable in real world settings. The degree is generally given at the associate and bachelor setting, sometimes as part of another discipline, such as business administration or criminal justice. Individuals may also choose to pursue a graduate degree in law, for which a legal studies degree is beneficial though not necessary. Graduate level degrees in legal studies are also available at the master and doctoral level.
A curriculum in legal studies may include:
- Civil Liberties
- Legal Theory
- Comparative Law
- Philosophy of Law
- Politics of Law
A legal studies degree at the associate or bachelor level allows one to pursue a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. Individuals will be tasked with research, reporting, note taking, and other functions as needed by lawyers within the office. An extensive background in law, along with experience in research methodology is necessary for individuals who choose to apply their degree toward such a career.
Some lawyers will have a background in legal studies as an undergraduate law tract prior to obtaining their juris doctor (JD). Law schools tend to pursue individuals with a variety of educational backgrounds, though those with a legal studies background will have a definitive advantage in regards to strong foundation. Some individuals will have taken legal studies as a focus in business administration, with the intent to enter the business world with a solid understanding of business law.
Job growth for law professionals in general is expected to increase over the next decade. This is primarily due to the increasing complexity of the legal system in the face of ambiguous legal territories that are being defined and redefined through the advent of new technologies, resulting in the need for professional who are able to navigate case histories and do research to find precedence.