Online MBA in Law Programs

“The combination of business and law leads directly to a career in business transactions that can be fulfilling and exhilarating. Any opportunity to practice your writing while an MBA student can only be helpful as a law student and legal professional.”

John Petosa, JD, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University Whitman School of Management

In the interconnected and globalized world of the 21st century, employers increasingly value professionals with various skills, experience that crosses industry thresholds, and a demonstrated commitment to continued professional development. The worlds of business and law especially appreciate individuals who possess skills from both spheres.

The fast-paced world of commerce has necessitated the development of professionals who can apply business and legal expertise in various settings, including corporate governance, entrepreneurship, international business development, environmental protection, and the financial sector.

In scenarios featuring multiple levels of governance and competing interests, professionals skilled in addressing the business and legal regimes within which these situations unfold often provide vital problem-solving skills that ultimately enhance valued metrics such as profitability, organizational sustainability, human capital growth, and innovation. MBA programs with a specialization in law, master of legal studies (MLS) programs, and JD-MBA dual degree programs are all programs that provide the skills and experience employers increasingly seek at the intersection of law and business.

JD-MBA dual degree programs have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many schools offer accelerated programs where students can graduate with a dual degree in less time than if they completed the two degrees separately. Depending on their location and reputation, many schools offer students exceptional opportunities to develop in-demand skills through internships, on-campus labs, assistantships, and other experiences that ultimately complement the learning of traditional classroom study.

Several programs also offer students significant flexibility to design a course of study customized to their career aspirations. Many such dual degree programs require three to four years to complete.

MBA, MLS, JD-MBA dual degree programs, and many other programs are often available in multiple delivery formats, including online, hybrid, and fully in-person. Many schools offer several delivery options in recognition of the varied needs of people such as working professionals, families, and individuals with disabilities.

Read on to discover a small sample of the many institutions offering an MBA in law or a JD-MBA dual degree. A brief summary of two accomplished faculty members within these disciplines appears at the end of the page. As most MBA programs featuring legal training tend to be JD-MBA dual degree programs, this listing emphasizes such programs.

Ask the Experts

John J. Petosa CPA, JD

John J. Petosa

John Petosa is a professor of practice at the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management. He is also a licensed CPA and attorney who currently serves as the CFO and general counsel of a food distributor in Syracuse. He has a private accounting and legal practice focusing on tax preparation, tax representation before the IRS and New York state, real estate law, business law, and estates and trusts. Petosa is also a member of the board of directors of Solvay Bank, a publicly traded local bank. He has served as a town justice in Camillus for 11 years.

Petosa’s emphasis is on teaching law and accounting; however, he also instructs various entrepreneurial classes that leverage his diverse and varied professional experiences. He is a member of numerous local and national professional associations and has been active on various local community boards. Petosa graduated with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and economics from Boston College and a JD from Syracuse University. What is something you wish the public understood about dual JD-MBA programs?

Petosa: Many of my classmates in law school were undergraduate English, political science, or history majors who had tremendous writing skills, but few of them had an understanding of the business world and how the law facilitated transactions. As a business student and CPA, I had a clear advantage in class because I understood how the law worked in a commercial setting and how policy played out in the marketplace. Said differently, the analytical skills of the MBA coupled with the logical and writing skills of the law degree create an unbeatable combination. What advice would you give to potential MBA candidates interested in law?

Petosa: The combination of business and law leads directly to a career in business transactions that can be fulfilling and exhilarating. Any opportunity to practice your writing while an MBA student can only be helpful as a law student and legal professional. What does the future look like for JD-MBA students and graduates, and/or for JD-MBA programs?

Petosa: In my opinion, the future of business is about technology and how to protect that technology. Having a background in the fundamentals of business and the fundamentals of the law creates a skill set that employers will likely highly value going forward.

Amy McHale, MBA

Amy McHale

Amy McHale is the assistant dean for master’s programs at Syracuse University Whitman School of Management. She has led the Whitman School’s efforts to provide academically rigorous experiential learning opportunities for MBA students, including developing internship and co-op experiences and other practical outside-the-classroom applications.

Previously, McHale spent 26 years at Eastman Kodak Company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester. What is something you wish the public understood about dual JD-MBA programs?

McHale: Future leaders in any field benefit from interdisciplinary exposure and an understanding of diverse perspectives. In dual JD-MBA programs, students may obtain a JD and an MBA in less time than when both programs are pursued separately. At Syracuse University, students in our dual programs only need to complete 114 credits instead of 142.

These programs are particularly appropriate for students with career objectives in corporate law, tax law, intellectual property, or labor law. What advice would you give to potential MBA candidates interested in law?

McHale: If an MBA student is interested in law, understand how a dual program can save you time and money before starting a program. Many programs may require you to first start at the law school and then start taking business classes. If you haven’t done that, they may not allow some of your prior coursework to count toward the combined degree per ABA regulations.

Research whether the programs that you are seeking are approved by the leading accrediting bodies in their fields: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the American Bar Association (ABA).

If you are considering an online JD-MBA, understand whether they are fully online (asynchronous only with no live classes) or a hybrid format with self-paced instruction and real-time classes. In addition, some programs may have a required residential component whereby you need to meet a few times in person during your program to attend specialized classes, social events and network with your faculty and peers. What does the future look like for JD-MBA students and graduates, and/or for JD-MBA programs?

McHale: The future is very bright for both students and programs. At Syracuse University, we regularly have between two and five new residential JD-MBA students join us each fall. Program graduates have gone on to become successful in many industries, with titles such as director, risk management, corporate counsel. They practice in many areas at the intersection of business and law including tax, labor, banking, insurance, patent, and real estate.

In 2019, Syracuse University College of Law announced the offering of the nation’s first online joint JD-MBA degree program in partnership with the Whitman School of Management. Our first student in the joint program has worked in the insurance industry for many years and is completing a specialization in accounting. He has attended residencies on campus and also visited Sweden last summer for a program focused on entrepreneurship. He has already used some of the tools and frameworks at this current job and hopes to become more valuable by being knowledgeable about the intricacies of laws pertaining to tax and insurance.

Featured MBA in Law & Dual Degree Programs

Widener University provides an online dual degree program (MJ-MBA) with a master in jurisprudence in corporate and business law and an MBA. This dual degree option reduces the number of required credits from 62 to 48 and can be earned in 2.5 years.

The MJ portion requires course such as introduction to law, critical legal analysis and writing, risk management and auditing, corporate regulatory compliance (rules and standards), corporate compliance and ethics I, corporate deviance, corporate compliance and ethics II, and a capstone for corporate regulatory analysis and compliance.

The MBA coursework includes leading organizations and people, information systems and data analytics, managerial economics in an innovative environment, marketing, accounting and managerial decision making, strategic financial management, managing business processes, and the capstone managing for results.

Location: Chester, PA
Time to Completion: 2.5 years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
2Syracuse University, College of Law and Whitman School of Management

Syracuse University offers the nation’s first online joint JD-MBA degree program. Students in the program will learn to lead in a global and interconnected marketplace, and be able to navigate the legal and regulatory frameworks that impact daily business transactions.

Students must apply and enroll first in Syracuse’s ABA-accredited online JD program, JDInteractive (JDi). Before starting the online MBA portion of the joint degree, JDi students must be separately admitted to the Whitman School, have completed 34 credits of law school courses, and meet all other defined academic requirements. The program consists of 114 credits in total.

Location: Syracuse, NY
Time to Completion: Approximately four years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
3Arizona State University, Schools of Law and Business

ASU offers a concurrent online MBA and master of legal studies (MBA/MLS) dual degree through the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. This 63-credit program can be completed fully online and is thus compatible with the needs of various students, including working professionals. Students complete only business courses in their first three semesters, a combination of business and law courses in their fourth semester and only law courses in the final semester. A summer term is also incorporated into the curriculum.

Students seeking entry into the dual program should be aware that the programs maintain separate deadlines and may require different items as part of a complete application. Transcripts and letters of recommendation should be sent to the ASU Office of Graduate Education. Students must be offered admission to both programs to pursue this dual degree option.

Location: Tempe, AZ
Time to Completion: Approximately two years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
4Boston University, Schools of Law and Business

The Boston University School of Law, in collaboration with the Questrom School of Business, offers an accelerated, seven-semester program culminating in a dual JD-MBA degree in law and management.

The curriculum features opportunities to participate in clinics and law journals and pursue a transactional practice concentration. In this concentration, students develop contract drafting, negotiation, and client counseling skills. Students have no coursework obligations in the summer after their second year of study and thus may have the freedom to complete a summer internship.

First-year students complete law courses and four required MBA courses. The only required summer semester features evening coursework in law and business, thus offering flexibility for students to pursue related jobs during the day. The final two years of study feature a combination of law and business courses.

Students may use up to 12 credits of graduate-level business coursework towards the requirements of the JD degree. The MBA degree requires 32 Questrom credits of coursework. Course topics include financial reporting, data analysis, marketing, economics, and operations management. Students also have a capstone course requirement. This course allows students to integrate and demonstrate their knowledge.

Location: Boston, MA
Time to Completion: Three years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
5Northwestern University, School of Law and Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern University offers an accelerated three-year JD-MBA dual degree program. Students complete law coursework in their first year, business courses in their first summer semester and second academic year, a second summer internship, and finally end with a third year focused on law study and any required business coursework.

The curriculum encourages students to learn in various ways, including experiential learning opportunities and international immersion trips. Particular opportunities available include the Northwestern University Entrepreneurship Law Center and experiential learning courses such as Venture Lab and Global Lab.

Students may choose from one of seven majors within the MBA program. These include accounting, economics, finance, marketing, operations, strategy and managing organizations. Those who do not wish to declare a major will have general management listed on their transcript. Within the Kellogg School of Management, students may select a pathway to create expertise in a particular specialization or industry that is of personal interest or in high demand.

Applicants may apply with a bachelor’s or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university. Past coursework in business or law fields is not required. Applicants submit one application through Kellogg Admissions. No LSAT score is required, but students must submit an eligible GMAT or GRE score.

Location: Evanston, IL
Time to Completion: Three years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
6Ohio State University, Fisher School of Business and Moritz School of Law

Ohio State University offers a JD-MBA dual degree program. Students customarily complete only law coursework in their first year, business coursework in their second year, a mixture of coursework in their third year, and only law coursework in their final year.

This four-year program prepares graduates to work in various careers, including government, non-profit organizations, corporations, investment banking and private consulting. Dual-degree students have access to the services provided by the career management offices of both schools.

Applicants complete separate applications to the Fisher and Moritz Schools. Students may seek admission to and then begin study in one program and later apply to the second program during their first year of study. Application requirements vary between the two programs. For example, law school admission requires a competitive LSAT score, both programs require a demonstration of English language proficiency, and only the JD program requires letters of recommendation.

Location: Columbus, OH
Time to Completion: Four years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
7Columbia University, Schools of Law and Business

Columbia University, known for its world-class educational programs, offers an accelerated three-year JD-MBA program designed to successfully give graduates the cross-disciplinary tools needed to solve complex and urgent business world challenges.

This program is designed for highly motivated students who seek an exacting education in law, business, and policy. The program’s three-year duration is designed to give graduates an additional year within the job market compared to other joint degree programs.

Students complete law school courses in their first year, business school courses in their second year, and a combination of courses from both schools and the remaining required coursework in their third year. Examples of course topics include legal methods, civil procedure, criminal law, corporate finance, financial accounting, and operations management.

Students are eligible to begin completing their 12 required credits of elective courses in their second year of study. Students do not declare a major but may specialize their knowledge according to their elective course choices and what internships and other professional development opportunities they pursue. To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 71 law credits and 45 business credits and any additional requirements of both schools.

Location: New York, NY
Time to Completion: Three years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
8Harvard University, Harvard Schools of Law and Business

Harvard University offers a joint JD-MBA degree program. This program is made possible through a collaboration between Harvard Law School (HLS) and Harvard Business School (HBS). Graduates of this four-year program hold expertise in law and management practices and ultimately are highly sought in the job market.

Students initially complete a first-year program focusing on law and business coursework separately. Upon completing this program’s requirements, students advance into the upper-level program. In that program, a joint degree student must complete no less than 52 additional credits within HLS and 24 credits of elective curriculum coursework within HBS during the third and fourth academic years. This dual degree program also features requirements to complete a joint degree program seminar and a JD written work requirement.

Given the complexity of the dual degree program’s full requirements, prospective students should carefully review the full program description as they compare different school options.

Applicants must apply to the two schools separately and be admitted to both programs to pursue this dual degree. Review of applicant materials by each program is done independently of the other program. HLS applicants must submit a GRE or LSAT score, and HBS applicants must submit a GMAT or GRE score.

Location: Cambridge, MA
Time to Completion: Four years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association
9New York University, Stern School and School of Law

New York University offers a JD-MBA dual degree program. This program trains graduates to pursue careers in both law and business. This 122-credit program comprises 51 credits from the NYU Stern School of Business and 71 from the School of Law.

Students complete their first two years at the School of Law, complete a third year of coursework within the Stern School and then finish their degree in a fourth year featuring coursework from both schools. Graduates establish careers in several private and public sector settings, including government institutions, non-profit agencies, investment firms, law firms, and corporate counsel offices.

Applicants complete a joint application provided by the NYU Stern School of Business. Both programs independently evaluate this application. Applicants must first be offered admission to the JD program before becoming eligible for consideration by the Stern School. Each program has its own separate office dedicated to career development. Dual degree program students are eligible to use the services offered by both programs.

Location: New York, NY
Time to Completion: Four years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association

Stanford University is well known for offering one of the United States’ oldest and most successful JD-MBA dual degree programs. This 164-unit program is designed for individuals seeking to establish a career in law, public service, or management. The program curriculum is designed to prepare students for the highest levels of responsibility and leadership in the public and private sectors. Graduates go on to work as business executives, investors, transactional counsel, and litigators. The curriculum also effectively prepares graduates for advanced scholarship and careers in academia.

Stanford’s close proximity to Silicon Valley provides students with significant individualized learning opportunities in subjects such as entrepreneurship, venture capital, private equity investment, international business, and intellectual property. As successful business development, corporate governance, and entrepreneurship increasingly require professionals to possess expertise in both law and business in a globalized world, graduates of this program can expect to possess highly marketable knowledge and experience.

Location: Stanford, CA
Time to Completion: Four years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); American Bar Association

Salary and Job Outlook for MBA in Law Graduates

There is no singular job title for graduates of MBA in Law programs. As experts in the meeting point of law and business, they can work in a number of roles, and often advance into leadership positions wherever they choose to work. But, to provide a rough estimate of what future graduates of MBA in Law programs can expect to earn, one can look at data related to lawyers and financial managers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for lawyers is strong, with the field expected to grow 8 percent between 2022 and 2032, faster than the national average (BLS 2023). The average pay for lawyers was $176,470 per year (BLS May 2023).

The job outlook for financial managers is even more robust. This area is expected to grow 16 percent between 2022 and 2032, much faster than the national average (BLS 2023). The mean pay for financial managers was $174,820 per year (BLS May 2023).

Bernd Geels
Bernd Geels

Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected].

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California. Since 2018, he’s written extensively about how new and aspiring business school students can best plan their education and careers. In the Two Views series, he conducts detailed interviews with recent business school alumni, with a particular focus on the choice between in-person, online, and hybrid learning models. His Femme-BA series highlights business schools that not only excel academically but also take unique and robust steps to support a diverse and inclusive learning environment for women.

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