Michael Moreback doesn’t know where his law degree will lead him.
As a compliance officer with Wells Fargo, he enjoys the work he does. He just knows he could do his job better — if he had a law degree.
That’s why Moreback enrolled in the new weekend program option offered by the Seton Hall University School of Law.
“I have wanted to obtain a law degree for several years, since it’s such an advantage in a business role, and particularly in a compliance role,” he said. “On my current team, I am the only one out of four compliance officers who doesn’t have a J.D.”
Moreback isn’t alone in his desire to earn a law degree to help him in the business world.
In fact, Dean Kathleen M. Boozang told ROI-NJ the weekend program is drawing a lot of business professionals.
“Interestingly, we find that a fair proportion of the students in the weekend program do not currently plan to practice law, with alternative pathways including advancement at their current company, compliance, politics, lobbying and business more generally,” she said.
“This confirms our intuition that a growing segment of law school applicants perceive that the J.D. is a degree that offers advancement in a business career, suggesting that the J.D. is an appropriate alternative, at least for some professionals, to an MBA.”
And the program is proving to be good for business for the law school.
The school said part-time applications rose 41 percent in 2017, in part due to the new program, from 222 in the 2016 year to 314 in the 2017 year. The 2018 academic cycle also has seen a near doubling in application volume, the school added.
Moreback said the new program made all the difference for him.
“If it wasn’t for the weekend program, I couldn’t attend law school,” he said.
Moreback said the weekend class schedule was more convenient than more traditional evening programs, particularly since he works in Manhattan for the financial services company.
“I explored several part-time evening programs; however, I couldn’t make them work due to the early start times of evening classes — typically 6 p.m. — and needing to be home at night for family obligations,” he said. “Before the weekend program was launched at Seton Hall, I was exploring part-time MBAs with more accommodating schedules.”
Seton Hall Law told ROI-NJ that, in addition to the increase in number of applicants, the 2017 applicants offered stronger credentials than in past years — a trend that has continued in the current cycle. Those include higher average GPAs and LSAT scores.
“The faculty report that the hybrid model ensures a high level of student preparation and engagement,” Boozang said. “The diversity of professional backgrounds contributes to a high-level classroom conversation that is grounded in reality.”
The program, which enables students to attend classes on eight alternating weekends per semester and includes an online component, lasts about four years, but can be completed in a shorter timeframe, the school said.
Moreback, for instance, said he started in the fall and hopes to graduate in spring 2021.
“I’m certain that the J.D. will strengthen my skills and knowledge to help me in my current role, as well as any future role in compliance,” he said. “Having the educational background to deeply analyze issues, research regulations and provide advice in person and in writing is immensely helpful. It’s also very important to be able to process complex rules and regulations into digestible concepts for internal clients.”
Students also are able to participate in co-curricular activities such as law journals and mock trials.
“Seton Hall Law has long been committed to access to a legal education, and this weekend offering continues that tradition,” Boozang previously said in a prepared statement. “Students in our new part-time weekend program will enjoy a fully immersive law school experience with flexibility better suited to their busy lives.”
Moreback intends to take advantage of that flexibility.
“Initially, I didn’t intend to practice law when I started classes,” he said. “As I continue through the program, I find myself entertaining the idea, likely because the J.D. is so versatile and can lead to many career options.”
About the program
According to the Seton Hall University School of Law’s website, the weekend program:
- Costs $39,154 per year in tuition, with financial aid available to qualified students;
- Requires 88 credits, which can be spread over eight semesters or less;
- Takes place on alternate weekends, both Saturday and Sunday, for an anticipated four years;
- Encompasses eight weekends each semester, with one extra weekend for finals;
- Includes self-directed activities and remote participation via Seton Hall’s online platform;
- Allows students to participate in co-curricular activities, such as the law journal;
- Increases in flexibility in the final two years, with potential for weekday, evening and all-online classes;
- Is taught by the same professors who teach in the full-time program.
For more on the Seton Hall Law weekend program, go to: law.shu.edu or call 973-761-9000 ext. 8500.