Taking the next step in your career with an MA in American Legal Studies degree

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An advanced knowledge of the law is applicable in numerous different industries and markets, including those that are not necessarily directly connected with the legal sector. Enhanced skills and understanding of legal standards and practices are also useful for roles in finance and accounting, property management and real estate, as well as insurance.

A degree such as the online Master of Arts (MA) in American Legal Studies from Hofstra Law is a beneficial way for students to not only build on their legal skills and understanding, but take the next step in their careers as well. Whether the goal is to transition into a higher paying role or a new industry, an MA in American Legal Studies is an advantageous credential that defines your expertise.

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Let’s take a closer look at the value of legal studies, including some of the career roles that MA in American Legal Studies degree holders can pursue, the responsibilities, working environments and potential compensation.

Legal studies degree jobs: Financial examiner

As this position revolves around ensuring compliant financial processes and transactions, a comprehensive understanding of the American legal system is paramount. Financial examiners perform duties including:

  • Monitoring bank and financial institution fiscal conditions
  • Reviewing balance sheets, expense accounts, loan documentation, meeting minutes and other relevant financial information
  • Creating reports about an organization’s financial strength
  • Analyzing and understanding new financial regulations and establishing organizational policies to support compliance

Most financial examiners work in the credit intermediation sector, as well as in federal or state government agencies. There are also opportunities for work in securities, commodity contracts and other financial investment agencies, or in internal financial departments in enterprises.

Depending on where they work, professionals can expect to earn $70,800 to $122,010 annually. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong job growth in this sector ― 10%, or much faster than average, from 2016 to 2026.

Property, real estate and community association managers

A knowledge of American law is also beneficial in the property management and real estate sectors, as it is up to these individuals to oversee and maintain a property and living community according to current legal standards. This role also includes responsibilities like:

  • Meeting with potential renters to tour properties and answer questions or discuss the terms of lease agreements
  • Gathering monthly rent or other fees from renters and owners
  • Inspecting and maintaining the property and facilities, including arranging for repairs
  • Investigating and settling any lease violations or term disputes
  • Creating budgets and financial reports
  • Ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination and other standards when renting or advertising properties, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Fair Housing Amendment Act

Depending upon the particular role, property, real estate and community association managers often work out of an office, but may have to travel to show or inspect a property. Some individuals serve as on-site managers and work from the property itself.

Those looking into these roles can expect to earn $53,690 to $55,850 annually, according to the BLS. And with 10% job growth forecasted from 2016 to 2026, there is considerable opportunity for employment in this area.

Accountants and auditors

Similar to the financial examiner career path, roles for accountants and auditors revolve around financial records and reports, as well as assessment of financial operations. Other tasks involved in accountant and auditor positions include:

  • Ensuring that financial statements and other documents are in compliance with current laws and regulations
  • Supporting tax processes, including computing the amount owed, preparing returns and ensuring timely payment
  • Inspecting accounting documentation and systems for accuracy and compliance
  • Organizing and maintaining financial records
  • Establishing and helping to implement strategies for cost efficiency and improved revenues

Many accountants and auditors work in firms that specifically provide accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping or payroll services. Others operate in government, insurance or enterprise settings, and some choose to be self-employed. Depending upon these working environments, professionals can earn $68,420 to $74,690 annually on average.

The BLS also forecasts 10% growth in the job outlook for these roles, meaning opportunities will continue to emerge in government, enterprise and other sectors.

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators

Graduates with an interest in insurance claims should consider roles as claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators. These roles involve the evaluation of insurance claims, including their validity and, if required, the amount owed to the policy owner by the insurance company. Individuals holding these positions also complete tasks like:

  • Determining whether or not the loss involved in the claim is covered by the policy
  • Preventing payout on fraudulent claims
  • Contacting policy holders’ doctors or employers to obtain details related to claims
  • Discussing claims with legal counsel when necessary
  • Helping to negotiate settlements and authorizing payments

Most adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investors work in the insurance industry, including for individual agencies or brokerage firms. There are also opportunities for employment in government organizations, scientific and technical sectors, as well as internally in enterprise settings.

Professionals in these roles can expect to make $46,270 to $73,460 depending on industry and company. While the BLS has projected little to no change in the job outlook from 2016 to 2026, this does not mean that these roles are not valuable positions in the workforce.

Specializing your skills with a legal studies degree

A degree program like the online Master of Arts in American Legal Studies at Hofstra Law prepares students to work in an array of different fields while bolstering their skills and understanding of legal processes and standards. The ability to apply the law in areas like finance, real estate and insurance is incredibly valuable and will only become more important for legal compliance.

To find out more about the jobs you can get with a legal studies degree, connect with an expert enrollment advisor at Hofstra Law today.


Recommended Readings:

What does it take to get an online master’s degree in law?

How Hofstra Law programs help you stake on track during busy seasons



Program page careers

BLS – Financial Examiners

BLS – Property, Real Estate and Community Association Managers

BLS – Accountants and Auditors

BLS – Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners and Investigators