Law and business can be a match made in heaven. Many of the world’s leading universities are combining their business and law schools to run dual JD/MBA degrees or are bolting on legal modules to their generalist MBA courses.
The programs are not for book worms: they tend to focus on putting theory into practice through real-world projects with leading law firms and other organizations. Many incorporate a global study element too, such as an exchange to a school in another legal jurisdiction.
Having two degrees from leading schools can be valuable for students looking to advance their career: graduates can tap into both schools’ alumni networks. Professors from both departments teach on the courses, with their cutting-edge research informing the teaching.
Many dual degrees are just three years long, reducing the opportunity cost of not working.
There are good job opportunities at the intersection of law and management. There is no specific field for this type of graduate, but they tend to work in leadership positions in the legal industry, for top finance firms, in business law or financial law, or in other corporations and the public sector too.
The programs cover the nuts of bolts of business and law, but they also tend to have a specific focus, such as on technological innovation or globalization.
Here are the top 10 MBA programs for law:
Harvard Business School is, perhaps, the best brand in business education. It established what is widely considered to be the first MBA program and it combines this revered degree with a JD for students who want to work at the intersection of law and management. Students must apply and be admitted to both the MBA and JD programs separately. Having both qualifications from a respected institution may count for something when students are recruiting.View School Profile
HEC Paris has a tax and law department that teaches legally savvy mangers and lawyers. Students on HEC’s highly ranked MBA program can take courses in the department, which focuses on putting practice into theory in moot courts and consultancy projects with international law firms. Its faculty produce cutting-edge research that informs teaching on the MBA. HEC is a grande ecole, France’s most elite schools that have produced many of the country’s top leaders.View School Profile
The University of Chicago has both a leading law school and a business school that has produced noble prize winners. The two departments have teamed up to launch a dual MBA / JD degree program. It’s fast-tracked in that students have the option to complete both degrees in just three years rather than the usual four years. Access to both the law and business schools gives students extensive alumni networks, extracurricular activities and career services support.View School Profile
ESADE is not just one of Spain’s – and the world’s – top business schools, it is a leading law school too. MBA students can take modules in commercial and tax law, plus intellectual property, corporate compliance and blockchain law. ESADE has a global focus and it also strives to foster social awareness in its future legal leaders.View School Profile
NYU Stern in New York runs a dual JD/MBA program that provides a solid foundation for a career in both law and business. It lasts for four years. Students spend the first two at the school of law, the third year at the Stern business school and the fourth is spent between both departments. Being based in the Big Apple is an advantage, home to the world’s biggest law firms as well as employers in the public and private sectors. Graduates tend to work in law firms, investment and accounting companies, nonprofit agencies and government institutions.View School Profile
Close by is Columbia University, another leading light in NYC. It runs a JD/MBA dual degree, with students earning two degrees from Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School in just three years. The syllabus focuses on technology innovation and globalization, trends which are blurring the boundary between traditional fields of study. Faculty from both top schools teach on the course and bring their ground-breaking research into the curriculum. The alumni network from the dual degree is large.View School Profile
Students at one of Madrid’s leading business schools, IE, can take a dual International MBA and LL.M. in International Business Law degree. Students get a firm grasp of the demands of the corporate world, which can inform their legal counselling. IE has a hands-on learning methodology, which challenges students to put their knowledge to work in legal clinics, through case studies and international exchange programs.View School Profile
At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, students can study a joint JD/MBA that prepares them to become business leaders with legal expertise, or to become managers in the legal world. It’s also accelerated, just three years long, and students earn two degrees from both the business school and school of law. Northwestern’s was reportedly the first JD/MBA in the US and it attracts analytical, deal-making students.View School Profile
Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management jointly run a three-year program in law and business. The dual JD/MBA runs for three years but without any summer classes, so it’s a fast route to the job market. It primarily attracts students who want to work in business law, and the syllabus focuses on the analytical and quant skills that students need to solve complex business and legal challenges. But some graduates become entrepreneurs or work in the public sector.View School Profile
In CUHK’s JD/MBA program, students split their time between the CUHK Faculties of Business and Law. Students come out of the program with a robust understanding of the intersection between business and law, and how these fields intersect in both Hong Kong and around the world.View School Profile