Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Programs in Missouri

Master of Legal Studies (MLS) or similar legal studies programs help students in Missouri to gain an advanced understanding of the laws, regulations and legal procedures.

As of May 2019, more than 20,230 people were employed in legal occupations in Missouri, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), including lawyers, paralegals and other legal experts.1

While an MLS degree will not prepare students in Missouri to practice law, it may provide them with career opportunities in a variety of settings, from local government to industry to private firms, and enable them to impact businesses and organizations with their legal knowledge.

Read on to learn more about Master of Legal Studies programs in Missouri and the career outlook in this state. 

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Washington University’s Online MLS for Non-Lawyers

The online Master of Legal Studies program from top-20 ranked Washington University School of Law is designed for non-lawyers who would benefit from legal training. The MLS can be completed in as little as one year. No GRE/LSAT required to apply.

Overview of Legal Degrees in Missouri: Types and Concentrations 

There are two Master of Legal Studies (MLS) programs offered by Missouri universities, one of which is recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) by way of “acquiescence”. The ABA does not accredit non-J.D. or post-J.D. programs. However, students in Missouri may choose out-of-state MLS degrees that can be earned from online MLS programs.

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Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

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Online MSL in Corporate Compliance

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Master of Legal Studies program

Sponsored Online MLS Program

Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

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Law School Highlights in Missouri 

According to the Law School Admission Council, there are four law schools in Missouri accredited by the American Bar Association and each school offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program: 

  • University of Missouri School of Law
  • University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law
  • Saint Louis University School of Law
  • Washington University School of Law

The University of Missouri (UM) School of Law, or Mizzou Law, offers nine J.D. dual degree programs and nine certificate programs with options to concentrate in criminal justice or tax law. The Kansas City campus of UM boasts a 90.5% bar pass rate with a logged 24,000 hours of pro bono service each year. In contrast to Mizzou Law, Saint Louis University offers four concentrations and 10 J.D. dual degree options. None of these universities, however, offer a Master of Legal Studies.

Legal Career Outlook in Missouri

As of May 2019, There are 20,230 professionals employed in legal occupations in Missouri, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.1 The hourly mean wage for these professionals is $40.19 and the annual mean wage is $83,600. Legal occupations in Missouri include:

Legal occupations in Missouri
Occupation Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Lawyers  $52.80 $109,820
Judicial Law Clerks  $23.73 $49,360
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators and Hearing Officers  $58.14 $120,930
Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliators  $33.26 $69,180
Judges, Magistrate Judges and Magistrates  $62.92 $130,880
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $23.15 $48,160
Title Examiners, Abstractors and Searchers $19.15 $39,820
Legal Support Workers, All Other $25.47 $52,970

Careers with a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Missouri 

As mentioned, a Master of Legal Studies degree is typically designed for legal professionals who want to deepen their knowledge about law but not sit for the bar exam or become a lawyer. There are many careers you can pursue with a master’s degree in legal studies. According to the BLS, some of these legal occupations include arbitrators, mediators and conciliators; court reporters; and paralegals and legal assistants. In Missouri, these legal professionals may earn:1

Careers with a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Missouri
Occupation Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliators $33.26 $69,180
Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners $25.85 $53,770
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $23.15 $48,160

Learn more on how to become a paralegal or career options with a master’s in tax law.

Legal Employers in Missouri

Below is the number of people employed by legal occupation in Missouri, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:1

Legal Employers in Missouri
Occupation Hourly Mean Wage
Lawyers 10,840
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 5,980
Title Examiners, Abstractors and Searchers 1,870
Legal Support Workers, All Other 570
Judges, Magistrate Judges and Magistrates 560
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators and Hearing Officers 180
Judicial Law Clerks 140
Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliators 90

The St. Louis area is the largest metropolitan area in Missouri. The five largest law firms in the city, according to St. Louis Business Journal, are:

The five largest law firms in the city, according to St. Louis Business Journal
Missouri Firm Local Licensed Attorneys
Thompson Coburn LLP 237
Bryan Cave LLP 220
Husch Blackwell LLP 177
Armstrong Teasdale LLP 160
Lewis Rice LLC 134 

Colleges with Online MLS Programs in Missouri

Colleges with Online MLS Programs in Missouri
School Name Degree Name City Full-Time or Part-Time Additional Information
Washington University School of Law
Sponsored Program
Master of Legal Studies  St. Louis Complete in as little as one year
Five concentration offerings: Business Law, Conflict Resolution, Employment Law, Litigation, Regulatory Compliance
Webster University Master of Legal Studies St. Louis N/A The Legal Studies paralegal programs at Webster University are approved by the American Bar Association.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Missouri: Legal Occupations,” Accessed July 2020.

Information on this page was last retrieved in August 2020.