Is a JD-MBA Program Right for Me?

Both law and business students hope to earn a degree that will help them stand out. Learn if a JD-MBA program is right for you.

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by Emily Gillespie-Lord

Published on June 6, 2022

Reviewed by Krystal Covington

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Is a JD-MBA Program Right for Me?
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What Is a JD-MBA?

A JD-MBA program is a dual graduate degree that allows students to complete a Juris Doctor (JD) and a master's of business administration (MBA) at the same time. Students best-suited for this type of graduate program typically have strengths in both areas of study, including writing abilities and high scores on the LSAT and GMAT. Students who earn a JD-MBA often pursue careers in any combination of business and law professions.

It is not uncommon for universities to offer dual graduate degree programs such as a JD-MBA if they already offer both individual degree tracks. While program specifics, such as length and concentrations, differ across different institutions, students can expect to develop a strong understanding of law and business theories as well as strong foundations in policy.

Most JD-MBA programs require a bachelor's degree. While there is no one bachelor's degree subject required, some prove more helpful to students than others. These include a bachelor's in paralegal studies, a bachelor's in business administration, or a bachelor's in legal studies.

What Will I Study in a JD-MBA Program?

Civil Procedure

In this course, learners study the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These are the basic rules that guide civil procedure within court and other legal processes. Students focus on the foundational policies behind specific court procedures as well as how federal and state jurisdictions impact civil proceedings.

Contracts

Legal contracts constitute the basis for many civil court cases. This course focuses on interpreting and writing contracts, effects of breach of contract, and accepting and declining contractual offers.

Data Analysis and Decision-Making

This course provides learners with information on how to use statistics and situation-specific methods in management to solve problems and track improvements in business. Students focus on scientific approaches to management.

Marketing Management

A common course in MBA and JD-MBA courses, marketing management addresses how to make decisions and develop strategies and skills in marketing. Learners look at decision-making across entire organizations and businesses as well as the impact of these decisions.

What Can I Do With a JD-MBA?

A JD-MBA, sometimes listed as a MBA/JD, bridges the gap between business and law schools.

Potential career paths mirror this, including in-house legal counsels or risk-management directors. Common careers for someone with a JD-MBA are attorney, financial manager, and auditor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earn median annual salaries between $77,250 and $131,710, as of May 2021.

A JD-MBA is a specialized graduate degree that gives students applicable skills for the business and legal sectors. For example, managing a business involves knowledge of regulations and compliance, and law offices require business skills to attract clients and operate successfully.

Careers

Business Attorney

A business attorney generally works for a law office. They research and write legal documents to settle disputes for business clients. Business attorneys argue client cases in court and negotiate terms within settlements. A business attorney generally specializes in taxation, patents, property ownership, or other areas related to a specific business.

Average Annual Salary (as of May 2022): $81,730


Risk Management Director

A director of risk management uses knowledge in both law and business to analyze financial data and trends to measure risks to a company's financial health. These professionals develop plans and guide businesses step by step to enhance and further develop operations in a financially sound manner.

Average Annual Salary (as of May 2022): $124,200


Investment Manager

An investment manager handles investment accounts for individuals or businesses. When working for a business, these professionals often handle funds associated with employee retirement accounts as well. An investment manager protects a fund's initial value and forms a strategy to help these funds grow. They must be aware of market changes and laws surrounding investments.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $131,710


Continuing Education

Some may decide to seek higher degrees after obtaining a JD-MBA to begin careers in academia. Pursuing a Ph.D. in law or a doctorate in criminal justice might make a resume stand out, but they are not necessary to practice law.

Lawyers are required to participate in continuing education, and most states have a minimum continued legal education requirement that must be completed each year. Some JD-MBA graduates may already hold a paralegal graduate certificate. Other advanced degrees available include a doctorate of business administration or a master's in legal studies.

JD vs. MBA vs. JD-MBA: Which Should I Choose?

Program Juris Doctor Master's in Business Administration JD-MBA
Program Length 3 years 2-3 years 3-4 years
Key Topics
  • Civil Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Property
  • Financial Management
  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Innovation
  • Contracts
  • Leadership
  • Legal Methods
  • Managerial Economics
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth 2020-30: 9% Projected job growth 2020-30: 9% Job growth comparable to MBA and JD careers
Suitable Careers
  • Lawyer
  • Administrative or Regulatory Attorney
  • Family Lawyer
  • Financial Manager
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • In-house Legal Counsel
  • Managing Partner at a law firm
  • Management Consultant
Average Cost $205,744 (Education Data Initiative, 2021) $66,300 (Education Data Initiative, 2021) Dependent on program and school. Students are usually charged a combination of law and business school tuition.
Pros
  • Prestigious career options
  • High earning potential
  • Shorter degree completion time
  • High earning potential
  • Many career options
  • High earning potential
  • Versatile skills
Cons
  • High tuition cost
  • Additional bar examination required to practice law
  • High tuition cost
  • Competitive jobs may still prefer more experienced candidates
  • Highly competitive
  • Longer program than a JD or MBA

Frequently Asked Questions About JD-MBA Programs

true Why should I get a JD-MBA?

Students who are interested in law and business should consider pursuing this dual-degree program. When studied independently, it can take five years or longer to complete both a JD and an MBA. In most cases, you can finish a combined JD-MBA program in four years.

This degree can lead to numerous career possibilities in law and business. Graduates pursue business or law careers and can be well suited to careers that combine the two subjects, such as business law or risk management.

true Can I get a JD-MBA degree online?

Many JD-MBA degrees are offered in a hybrid model. For example students earn their JD through in-person learning while fulfilling their MBA requirements online. At the moment, Syracuse University reports it has the only all-online JD-MBA program in the United States. The JD-MBA program takes about 4.5 years to complete. But it is completely online, allowing students to earn their degree from anywhere.

true How much can I make with a JD-MBA?

The amount of money you earn each year is dependent on the career you choose to pursue. According to May 2022 data provided by Payscale, business lawyers report earning an average annual salary of $81,730, while the average annual salary for a director of risk management is $124,200.

Most jobs that can be landed with a JD-MBA are considered to be high-paying positions, especially after a few years of experience.

Is a JD-MBA program hard?

Many consider law school to be difficult. A JD-MBA combines a law school education with additional work from a business school. Program instructors want to see their students succeed, and institutions are set up to make this combined degree attainable. However, students must be dedicated to their studies to complete a JD-MBA program.

Along with the difficult workload, these programs are also hard to get into and highly competitive.

Can I get an accelerated JD-MBA online?

There are currently no accelerated online JD-MBA programs. Syracuse University reports having the only completely online JD-MBA program in the United States. Its program takes around 4.5 years to complete.

In-person JD-MBA programs take anywhere from 3-4 years to complete depending on the institution and course load. For those looking for accelerated online degrees, there are other similar options, including online master's of business administration programs.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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