Offering Now: Masters in Job Application (MJA)
With the increasing trend towards hybrid degrees that combine the Juris Doctor (JD) with a master’s degree, the bare JD students may be finding it hard to compete in today’s tightening job market. After all, government agencies prefer a lawyer with a Master’s in Public Administration and a corporate law firm has every reason to want to hire a JD/MBA graduate.
In order to mitigate the competition, law schools across Canada are considering implementing an option for bare JD students to tack on a master’s degree without having to do any more work than they would otherwise be required to do: a Master’s in “Job Application” (MJA).
Until now, law students have had to master the skills of writing cover letters, shaking hands, and rebuilding their shattered confidences, all without any formal recognition. Schools are beginning to acknowledge that a significant part of legal education is learning how to get a job. Getting a JD is three years of exposure to professors, visiting speakers, and other job-getters, whose job is essentially to explain how they got it. This mentorship produces top-notch job appliers, as one student remarks:
“By the time any law student graduates, they should be considered “Masters” in the craft of appealing to employers… And I think that having that on my resume will really appeal to employers.”
Unlike the other degrees you can combine with the JD, the skills signified by the MJA will continue be useful in one’s career. It will let any employer know that the student really knows how to apply for the job. Even if they do not like the application’s content, seeing the MJA next to a name will cue the employer to take more time to appreciate its elegance.
One difficulty about administering the program is defining what the “thesis” will be. Of course, any student who gets a job will automatically be granted the MJA. Beyond that there are three other options for candidates. The MJA may be granted through an endorsement from an employer who, although may have rejected the applicant, was impressed with the attempt. Further, applicants may submit an oral rumination over the concept of job application to a career counselor. One student a year will be able to submit their resumé format as a masterpiece equal to a dissertation.
Legal education experts believe that the JD/MJA will be the biggest revolution in securing jobs for Canadian lawyers since the degree name changed from LLB to JD. As one recalls, the predicted “degree inflation” from the LLB-JD name change was offset by the fact that the new “JD” designation put employers in an overall hiring mood. However, as that mood wears off, the current generation of young lawyers needs the JD/MJA more than ever.
Shanil Patel (1L) is a staff writer at Juris Diction.