Careers for a Master's Degree in Legal Studies


Master's degree programs in legal studies are not designed for graduates to practice law, but as training in the United States judicial system and legal theory. Common areas of study within these programs include legal ethics, law and literature, human rights law and conflict resolution. Careers with a master's degree in legal studies are either directly in the legal system, such as arbitrators, or they are within other industries that desire job candidates to be knowledgeable in the field, such as labor relations.


  • Arbitrators or conciliators work in the area of alternative dispute resolution, which is an informal hearing used to settle disputes outside of court. Arbitrators are generally lawyers or business people who distinguish which issues can be resolved and the procedures necessary to do so. Voluntary arbitration is when opposing parties choose the number of arbitrators that hear their dispute and make a final decision. Compulsory arbitration is when opposing parties present their arguments to one or more unbiased individuals (arbitrators). In this case, the decision is nonbinding and either party can request a trial. Arbitrators may only need to complete basic 20 hour or advanced 40 hour training programs. Many recieve a master's degree in conflict management or dispute resolution (law related) or their law degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, arbitrators earn an average of $52,770 a year and those who work for the federal government earn an average of $118,280 annually.

Labor Relations Manager

  • Labor Relations Managers work with their staff to develop labor relations programs. These professionals must be knowledgeable about collective bargaining procedures, labor law and economic wage data. Labor relations aspects such as health care, pensions, salaries and union practices are directed by these managers. Because they must be familiar with labor laws, a master's degree in labor relations or legal studies is recommended for management positions and a bachelor's degree for specialist positions. Human relations managers, such as those in labor relations, earn an average of $96,550 a year and specialists earn an average of $56,440 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009.

Legal Investigators

  • Legal investigators work for lawyers and law firms by gathering necessary information for trials such as photographs, evidence and litigation documents. Other duties include locating witnesses, arranging criminal defenses, locating witnesses, interviewing police and witnesses and testifying in court. Employers generally require a bachelor's of a master's degree related to law, criminal justice or political science. According to the Bureau of Labor, the average salary for investigators working in legal services is $54,920 a year.

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