If you love the law but can't see yourself in law school, a business degree could be your ticket to a law-focused career. You don't need to become a lawyer or a paralegal and work in a law office to spend your days thinking about the rules and regulations of the business world. All you need to do is earn a legal studies-focused Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) degree.
The legal studies BSB brings together core business concepts and legal concepts to prepare students for careers in business. Yet despite its focus on the law, this bachelor's degree is very much a business degree. That makes it a good option for those who aspire to work as legal consultants in the corporate world or in other roles where an in-depth knowledge of business and business law are equal assets.
In this guide to a degree in Legal Studies - Bachelor of Science in Business, we'll cover:
Business and law are thoroughly intertwined in the United States; every area of business is subject to rules and regulations at the state and federal levels. Some aspiring lawyers choose this BSB concentration to prepare them to earn a Juris Doctor (JD). Others, however, are preparing for careers in business and want to have a more thorough understanding of the law and how it impacts commerce, contracts, and other areas of business.
The best Bachelor of Science in Business and Legal Studies programs expose students to current business scenarios and legal issues while also providing a thorough grounding in essential other business fundamentals.
A BSB degree prepares you for an entry-level position in business or to apply to law school. Students who take the latter path usually become attorneys (who may or may not decide to specialize in corporate law, finance law, or intellectual property law). Students on the former path can become:
All of these fields have vastly different earning potentials. You'll probably make the most money as a lawyer (according to US News & World Report, the median salary for lawyers is $119,250). Even if you don't want to become a lawyer, you can still make a good living. The average legal advisor salary, according to PayScale, is $78,800, and you can make nearly as much as a union representative or as an estate planning professional.
No, though students in these programs will study some of the same subjects and perhaps even share some courses. Both a BSB in legal studies and a BS in legal studies can prepare you to go to law school, but these two educational pathways are actually quite different.
A BS in legal studies may be the better pre-law degree for those people planning to attend law school. It may also be the better bachelor's degree program for people who want to become law enforcement officers, mediators, advocates, court reporters, or paralegals. The curriculum in these programs is much more heavily focused on the law in general and, while a student may take classes related to business law, they'll also learn about immigration law, criminal justice, political science, and environmental law. The emphasis is on legal research and process.
A Bachelor of Science in Business with a legal studies concentration program, on the other hand, is a business degree. It covers topics related to both business administration and the law as it relates to business. Graduates of these programs may go on to enroll in law school, but they're just as likely to work in human resources, risk management, or finance. The emphasis of this degree is on providing a comprehensive business education supplemented by a firm foundation in business law.
You will need to graduate from high school (or earn a GED or equivalent) to enter a Bachelor of Science in Business and Legal Studies program. Your grade point average matters more than you might think. Some universities are willing to look beyond GPA when applicants have stellar SAT or ACT scores, early work experience in business or law, or other qualifications or qualities that make them stand out. Most, however, only consider accepting students with a 2.5 GPA or higher. A GPA of 3.0 is the informal standard for serious consideration.
You can make yourself a more attractive candidate while you're still in high school by taking an internship, joining your high school's debate team and any relevant clubs, and taking advantage of opportunities to observe or volunteer at business or law conferences.
When you enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Business and Legal Studies program—whether it's on-campus or an online bachelor's degree program—you will take classes in core business concepts like:
It's worth noting that Bachelor of Science in Business degree programs are often more technical and include more STEM classes than do Bachelor of Business Administration programs. Be prepared.
Your legal studies curriculum will include courses like:
You may be able to customize your degree with related elective coursework. When you do, you might take courses in estate planning and administration, e-commerce law, legal writing, contemporary workplace issues, and healthcare law. Some BS in Business in legal studies programs allow students to choose related minors. Your minor options may include human resource management, entertainment law and business, and innovation.
There are numerous four-year BSB in legal studies and BSBA in legal studies programs, though you may be surprised at how few come up in searches. That's because different universities use different naming conventions (and structure their programs differently). That means you can potentially learn the same things in programs with very different names. For instance:
Many schools offer Bachelor of Business Administration degrees with a legal studies focus. You should look at these programs, too. There's a lot of overlap between BSB and BBA programs, and if you're not mathematically or scientifically-inclined but you want to study business and law, legal studies BBA programs are a good alternative.
But if you're absolutely sure you want to go to law school after earning a business degree, there's another option you may want to consider. The University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus's Pitt Business College of Administration offers a BSBA and law accelerated admissions program that lets students earn a business degree and a law degree in six years. In this program, your final undergraduate year overlaps with your first year of law school.
That depends on what your long-term goals are and why you're considering pursuing this degree.
Are you thinking of going to law school, and you've heard that getting a degree in legal studies is a sure-fire way to get accepted? Be aware that the American Bar Association's cautions otherwise: its official stance is that no one best educational undergrad pathway for aspiring lawyers. Students from a wide variety of backgrounds—including STEM subjects and education—are accepted into law school.
So, while a BSB in legal studies can prepare you to enter law school, it won't necessarily give you an advantage when you're applying. If you want to go into business law specifically, this degree might be the best choice. But if you're not passionately interested in business as well as law, you'll probably get more value out of a straight BS in legal studies program.
On the other hand, if you do aspire to rise in the ranks of business, a Bachelor of Science in Business degree with a legal studies concentration will give you the skills to launch a successful career in the corporate world and the knowledge necessary to navigate the many complex legal systems operating within it. A good case could be made for benefits like that.
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