Master of Legal Studies Degree

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Learn more about the structure of the MLS program on the FAQ page.


Cleveland-Marshall College of Law offers an exciting opportunity for working professionals with its Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program.  If you want to learn more about the law without practicing the law, the MLS program is for you.

The MLS program is designed for non-lawyers who work regularly with laws and regulations, and could benefit from a greater understanding of the law as it relates to their field in a current or future position.  Enrolled students may select from eight tracks including health care and criminal law, or work with an advisor to design an individualized concentration that fits their career needs. Part-time and full-time options are available to complete the MLS.

An MLS degree can help an employee stand out within an organization or profession as someone who can interact with counsel, protect ideas and organizational assets, assess the need for regulation and work efficiently with changing legislation, such as health care reform and compliance. MLS students take some of the same classes as the JD students studying to become lawyers, but are able to take fewer classes, and focus on the specialized areas that will specifically enhance their careers.

Who can benefit from a Master of Legal Studies?

Anyone who works regularly  with lawyers, or with laws and regulations. like corporate and non profit managers, accountants, auditors, government employees, realtors, engineers, scientists educators, health care professionals, court employees, law enforcement personnel, and human resource professionals. Or anyone who wants to bring legal knowledge to their work, such as librarians, information specialists, journalists, authors, and scholars. Anyone who wants to enhance their professional value or redirect their career, or who has always been interested in the law and wants to learn more about it could benefit from the MLS.

How To Apply

Applicants must submit:

  • A completed application
  • An official transcript showing that the applicant has earned a Bachelor's degree, and also official transcripts of all other college, graduate, and professional studies, whether a degree was obtained or not;
  • A current resume detailing work and professional experience;
  • At least two letters of recommendation;
  • A personal essay describing how you expect to use the knowledge acquired in pursuing the MLS degree.
  • A personal interview may also be required.
  • Note: The LSAT is not required for admission to the program.

For other questions, contact Steve Antol in the Admission office at or 216-687-2304.

Choose a track to help you focus on what’s important in your chosen field

MLS students may select from an array of tracks designed to make their acquired legal knowledge more relevant to their own professions and career goals.  Sample tracks include:

Students may also work with a faculty advisor to build an individualized curriculum in areas such as:

Administrative and Regulatory Law • Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution • Constitutional Law • Education Law • Employment and Labor Law • Environmental, Land Use and Real Estate Law • Family Law • Intellectual Property Law  •  Jurisprudence  • Local Government Law  • Non-Profit Management • Tax Law


Director of the MLS Program, Alan C. Weinstein, Associate Professor of Law and Urban Studies and Director, Law & Public Policy Program, answers questions about the Master of Legal Studies program in this short video:


Applicants to the MLS program should understand that the MLS is not intended to prepare students for the JD program.  Further, under rules promulgated by the American Bar Association, the acrediting body for law schools, no credit may be given towards the JD for any courses taken in the MLS program.  However, students who successfully complete courses in the MLS program will have a better understanding of law than people who have not.  If they eventually do enroll in a JD program, the MLS experience might prove beneficial.