Georgetown University Law Center is expanding its online presence by adding two new masters-level programs to its roster of classes starting in fall 2015.
GULC is debuting an Executive Masters of Law in securities and financial regulation, which is the first degree in that field of law to be offered online. Additionally, the center is adding a Masters of Studies in Law for non-attorney tax professionals.
The LL.M. program in securities and financial regulation will address banking law, corporate governance, financial derivatives, securities litigation and other topics in that field. The MSL in taxation will give accountants, economists, actuaries and other non-legal financial professionals exposure to tax law.
The securities regulation program was modelled after the LL.M. in taxation online program, which was the first executive master’s degree offered online by the Law Center and which was launched in fall 2014. The creation of the taxation program was initially requested by the Internal Revenue Service, according to Associate Dean of Graduate Programs Nan Hunter.
“We were asked to develop an executive LL.M. in tax by the Internal Revenue Service,” Hunter said. “They wanted to be able to offer their staff attorneys around the country … an LL.M. without having to travel.”
The LL.M. allows IRS employees with law degrees to focus on expanding their tax law experience.
After the launch of the taxation program, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission followed in the IRS’s footsteps and asked the Law Center to develop an LL.M. in securities regulation.
As a trial for the new online LL.M., Hunter explained that GULC first only offered classes to staff attorneys in government agencies. After a successful test, they decided to expand the course to include other legal professionals.
“We offered the online participation only to government staff attorneys in part because we wanted to make sure that we were doing it at the highest quality level,” Hunter said. “We rectified [all] of the initial problems we had, and so we then offered … the LL.M. in securities regulation we’ll be starting next fall.”
Ellis Duncan, director of the GULC graduate tax program, noted that the online programs were designed with students who were not from the surrounding District of Columbia area in mind.
He stressed that the program will provide the same quality education as those within a physical classroom at the Law Center.
“There are many tax attorneys across the country whose careers could benefit from earning an LL.M. from Georgetown, but who cannot relocate to Washington, D.C.,” he said. “These students can [now] take advantage of our vast curriculum in taxation.”
Duncan added that he hopes the online LL.M. and MSL programs will help to expand the Law Center’s brand nationwide and internationally by attracting more high-quality students and said being able to enroll more students from new geographic locales can cultivate a more diverse image.
“[GULC] benefits by attracting a more diverse class of high-quality students,” Duncan said. “[It] enhances our national and global reputation as more students and attorneys around the globe hear about what we have to offer.”
Both online degrees will require 24 credit hours of coursework, with the LL.M. requiring 16 specialization credits in the securities and financial regulation area and the MSC needing 20 specialization credits in the taxation area.
GULC Dean William Treanor said he was proud of GULC’s new approach to teaching law in these fields and explained the center’s priority of offering diversity in its academic options.
“Georgetown Law’s LL.M. program has long been a leader in the field, offering a variety of degree options to both U.S.-educated and foreign-trained lawyers,” Treanor said in a press release. “These innovative online programs are an outstanding addition to a program that is already regarded as one of the finest of its kind.”