(BPT) - A broad range of working professionals today are enrolling in online law schools while simultaneously holding their current positions. They’re pursuing law degrees — in addition to other degrees they’ve already earned — to widen their skills and better understand legal issues impacting their companies.
This recent trend mostly includes professionals who do not want to practice law but want to gain insight into the legal complexities involved in business transactions, regulated industries such as health care or education or in the public sector. They want to broaden perspectives in their own professional lives and benefit the companies where they work.
The American Bar Association reported that in 2018 more than 14 percent of all law students in the U.S. were pursuing master’s degrees or certificate programs in law, rather than the J.D., which means they want to gain legal expertise without practicing law.
For instance, Alex Bauer, an experienced CPA and CFO at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, California, found that the high volume of regulatory and contract issues he faced every day often required legal input that was not readily available. Because legal decisions are essential to his work, waiting for advice from outside counsel slowed down his progress and hampered his efficiency. Bauer considered the option of traditional brick-and-mortar law schools near where he worked but realized he would have to attend classes on a full-time basis. Ultimately, he decided to obtain an online Executive Juris Doctor (EJD) from Concord Law School, part of Purdue University Global, because it offered him the flexibility and accessibility to continue his full-time work along with the legal expertise he was seeking.*
While Bauer doesn’t want to practice law, he did see the value in earning an EJD from Concord to build a solid legal foundation. "Now I know how attorneys think," said Bauer. By understanding the fundamentals of law, Bauer could speak the same language as attorneys when negotiating with vendors or dealing with regulatory problems and save the company time, he said. “If I encounter some bizarre clause in our negotiations, now I know what that clause means.”
Chris Wojtowicz is another professional who recognized the value of an online EJD. Wojtowicz, who manages international trade compliance at Rice Lake Weighing Systems in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, said that the degree he earned from Concord allows him "to anticipate legal problems before they become problems."
"I speak attorney," said Wojtowicz, a licensed customs broker who deals with complex trade and regulatory issues and meets regularly with attorneys representing clients, business partners and government agencies.
These two executives said they could not have attended law school while working full time without the convenience and flexibility of an online option. In fact, they were able to take live courses online, speak with law professors and complete exams online — often at home — while they continued their demanding professions. If they missed a live class, they were able to access a recording. Both professionals feel their legal training clearly enhanced their own efficiency and value to their companies.
For Kevin Marshall, manager of Logistics and Wojtowicz’s supervisor at Rice Lake, Wojtowicz’s legal training has augmented his value as a key professional at the company. “In large part due to his legal training, Chris has been able to expand on his original role to become a very helpful resource for several groups within the company,” Marshall said. “With increasing frequency, we are running into complicated regulations and laws within our global trade and marketing efforts and have found Chris to be an excellent colleague to help us understand and interpret legal language.”
Marshall noted that, over the last year or two, Wojtowicz has helped Rice Lake’s marketing department understand the legal language contained in new data privacy laws such as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and the European General Data Protection Regulation. The company is looking forward to using Wojtowicz’s legal skills in additional areas as opportunities arise, Marshall said.
Concord Law School at Purdue University Global
For those considering pursuit of an executive juris doctor degree, go to www.concordlawschool.edu for more information on their online law degree programs.
For comprehensive consumer information, visit www.ConcordLawSchool.edu/About-Concord-Law-School/Accreditation. Concord Law School cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. These testimonials were obtained by Concord Law School. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual; student experiences may vary.
* Note that EJD graduates do not qualify to take the bar exam or to be admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction without additional experience, education or petition.