Introductory Guide to Government Work

All government entities, from federal to state and local hire candidates with legal studies and law degrees. As the government is the originator, gatekeeper and enforcer of the legal system, there are a multitude of careers available therein, from patents, to law enforcement, to food and drug, to immigration, government careers are plentiful for Master of Legal Studies graduates.

Government Careers with a Master’s in Legal Studies (MLS) Degree:

  • US Patent and Trademark Office Agents
  • State Legislators
  • FBI Special Agents
  • Federal Prosecutors (prepare cases for trial)
  • Protective Services
  • Court Administration
  • Regulatory Agencies (EPA, FCC, FDA, FAA)
  • Law Enforcement (police, probation officers, correctional officers, agency investigators)
  • Court Administrators
  • Patent Agents
  • Politician
  • Law Enforcement Officer

Perhaps more than any other degree, an MLS prepares you to work in the government sector and to be a more effective public servant. Students learn how laws are formulated and modified over time. They learn the theories and concepts that form the basis for the law.

Government agencies operate within complex regulatory constraints. A MLS degree may equip graduates with the tools necessary to expertly operate within these organizations.

Law Enforcement and Protective Services

From social worker to FBI agent, an MLS degree may prepare you for a career at the intersection of criminal justice and social services. These are high needs areas where knowledge of the law is useful, as well as conflict resolution and negotiation skills.

There are multiple laws and regulations that serve to protect vulnerable populations and secure critical information. The proper legal foundation coupled with the soft skills of interpersonal communication are essential for success.

Court Administration

Many judges rely on court administrators to manage the court’s calendar of hearings, responding to official correspondence and, in general, serve as a liaison between the court and parties in a trial. An MLS degree may help court administrators better understand the function of the judicial system, such as the process of complaint resolution, and the powers of the court, such as how a court oversees disputes and what a court can order to resolve them.

Court administrators are needed in all levels of U.S. courts including district courts, appellate courts, courts of appeal, local and municipal courts, as well as specialized court offices such as federal Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Federal Regulatory Agencies

Federal regulatory agencies have a wide variety of areas, from the environment to communication, from the media to financial transactions. These agencies enact and enforce laws that govern activities and transactions within their area of oversight.

Federal regulatory agencies that tend to hire MLS graduates include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Federal Drug Administration
  • Federal Communications Committee
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Department of Labor

An example of a career with a federal regulatory agency would be an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Inspection Officer. Inspection officers must know all the intricacies of OSHA regulations and how they are applied in practice. They then must go onsite to inspect any reported violations and communicate with the company leaders how to correct the problems, remedy existing dangers, and explain the overall theory and purpose of the regulation to aid compliance in the future.

Criminal Justice

From corrections directors to police detectives, a master of legal studies degree may support success in a criminal justice career. Law enforcement intersects with the law on a daily basis as police departments must prepare and transfer cases to the district attorney to prosecute. Special Investigation Agents are members of the US military branches and are responsible for investigating crimes and complaints involving military property or personnel. Special agents in the FBI analyze criminal intelligence and create profiles and analyses of offenders aiding in solving open cases. A master of legal studies equips these investigation agents and criminal justice professionals with knowledge of criminal code and its application, as well as the methods and procedures required to prepare cases for prosecution.

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