THE MLS CURRICULUM
A one-year program for working professionals
The Master of Legal Studies program requires 30 credits to graduate and is a 1-year master's degree. Students are enrolled in courses for fall, spring, and summer semesters.
Our curriculum provides students with a deeper understanding of the legal system, with an emphasis on the law's role in the modern world.
Courses focus on areas of law most commonly encountered by executives and working professionals, including contracts, intellectual property, litigation, and regulation, and are taught by full-time and adjunct faculty.
In-person program: classes meet every other Friday and Saturday throughout the school year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For students interested in a specific area of law, the program includes the flexibility to replace courses from the standard MLS curriculum with JD course offerings.
Online program: courses are the same for the online program as the in-person program. However, online students do not have the option available to them to replace courses from the standard MLS curriculum with JD course offerings.
An introduction to the role of law in governing businesses, including substantive law that controls different forms of business formation, employee vs. contractor designations, business ethics, and the evolving role of intellectual property in a globalizing and increasingly technological economy. The course provides perspectives on how lawyers can add value to business relations.
This course aims to help students understand the role of law in society from a comparative perspective, including the role of law in international relations and trade, particularly for governments and multinational firms.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of contract law, including contract formation, claims for breach, and affirmative defenses. It approaches contracts from a practical perspective and uses real world examples from the private sphere. Basic approaches for and pitfalls in drafting contracts are also addressed.
This course surveys a wide array of approaches to handling conflict, as well as conflict prevention and management strategies. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of law in resolving conflict in society, including through litigation, negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and arbitration, although the course approaches these tools as only part of broad spectrum for problem solving, conflict avoidance, and resolution. Students in the course will work through case studies of both public and private organizations that have faced legal dilemmas and crises.
A general overview of the substantive law of crimes, including general principles and the elements of specific offenses and defenses. Students will also learn how the criminal system differs from the civil system in practice, learn how police interact with prosecutors, and receive an overview of the juvenile court system.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of property, including different forms of property, rights in property, and how property can be leveraged for private and public good. The course puts a particular emphasis on the role of government in relation to property, including zoning, regulation, and takings.
This course will cover issues such employment agreements, independent contractors, employee rights, discrimination and harassment, retaliation, FMLA and other legally required leave, the Americans with Disabilities Act, benefits, wage and hour law, and safety. Students will learn the basic terminology and concepts of employment law so that they can work as a human resource professional or work with HR professionals or legal counsel to spot issues, create compliant policies and procedures, and solve employment problems.
This course introduces the role of civil lawsuits in society, with a particular emphasis on how the court system affects business, individuals, and public interest issues. Students in this course will learn about the role of the judiciary, the structure and function of trial and appellate courts (as well as specialized courts), and the basics of procedures that govern how lawsuits are resolved, including jurisdiction, pleading, motions practice, discovery, summary judgment, and trials. This course will also introduce basic elements of criminal law.
This course examines the ethics imposed by law and conscience on members of the legal profession. With a focus on the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct and case law, this course provides students with a working knowledge of the law governing lawyers and an appreciation for the ethical challenges that may arise when non-lawyers engage with attorneys. The course also examines how the legal field is evolving to allow non-lawyers to perform legal tasks or associate with lawyers under certain conditions, including an analysis of what ethical standards apply in these circumstances and when non-lawyers are likely to run afoul of the unauthorized practice of law. Finally, the course will help students consider when to hire a lawyer and assist students in understanding how to manage lawyers and legal services.
This course will introduce non-lawyers to the basic elements of legal research and writing. Students will learn how research answers to legal issues using free and commercial databases. The basics of primary and secondary legal materials will be taught. Students will learn how to prepare and write professional, structured legal materials, including memoranda, letters, and other professional communications.
For nearly a century now, administrative agencies have played an ever-increasing role in lawmaking and governance in the United States. This course surveys the history of regulation in the United States, the rise of the administrative state, and the role and power of executive agencies at both the federal and state levels. It outlines the basic administrative process, including both regulatory and adjudicative actions taken by administrative agencies and the ability of outside parties to participate in and influence or challenge those decisions, addresses procedural and substantive limits on those agencies, and explores the complex relationship between regulators and regulated entities.
In this class, students will gain an understanding of how law is made. The role of judges in making law, resolving disputes, and interpreting statutes is a primary focus, as is the relationship between statutes, regulations, and judicial review. Students should leave the course with an understanding of how judicial opinions are structured, how to read and interpret them, and what their effect is, the difference between factual and legal issues, and the process for making laws and the tools for interpreting them. It will also explain the various levels of courts and the degree of authority reflected in opinions issued at each level.