All forms of cybersecurity practitioners are in high demand. The demand for skilled and eligible workers in this sector, from security analysts to pentesters, far outnumbers the current supply. This skills gap covers all individuals eligible to work in cybersecurity law.
The political demand for legislation to secure personally identifiable information (PII), confidential information, and intellectual property is growing in tandem with the frequency and magnitude of cyber breaches. The demand for cybersecurity legal expertise is growing due to the need to recognize and comply with new and evolving laws and regulations. Compliance with cybersecurity regulations is critical to a company’s performance.
Working in the field of cybersecurity law would necessitate advanced training. For those interested in working in this specific area of law, this guide will detail the different choices and specifications.
Cybersecurity Law Degree Online Option
In order to work in the legal side of cybersecurity, a person must have one of four graduate degrees. An MLS, a J.D., an LL.M., and an S.J.D. are the four degrees. All are discussed below in order from the least amount of education required to the most education required. The LL.M. degree with a cybersecurity emphasis will be the main focus of this guide. It is the most advantageous law degree for students who choose to practice cybersecurity law.
The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is a master’s degree that focuses on compliance, legal study and analysis, risk management, ethics, and professional standards while also providing a firm working knowledge of the law. An MLS does not entitle the holder to practice law. An MLS, on the other hand, is appropriate for several job openings within private companies. Graduates will usually find work as legal assistants or paralegals in risk and regulatory departments.
Students who complete a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) program gain a comprehensive knowledge of the law. After completing a state bar examination and receiving a law license, graduates with a J.D. are allowed to practice law in the United States. Law school J.D. curriculum does not normally include cybersecurity law courses as a minimum prerequisite for practicing law.
A Master of Laws (LL.M.) is a post-Juris Doctor (J.D.) legal degree that is globally recognized. Domestic students in the United States must already have a J.D., while foreign students must have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or its equivalent. LL.M. degrees concentrate on a particular area of law, providing students with the training and knowledge necessary to become experts in that field. The Cybersecurity focus gives law students a thorough understanding of the legal, policy, and technological frameworks that surround cybersecurity.
With an LL.M. in Cybersecurity Law and Data Protection, a student would be prepared to practice law in the fields of cybersecurity and information privacy, as well as any other environment that deals with high-value or sensitive data. Lawyers with LL.M. degrees work in law firms, with the government, or with companies as in-house counsel.
The Doctor of Juridical Science is the highest legal degree available (S.J.D.). It is equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy. The S.J.D. is “the most advanced law degree that will accompany the receiving of the J.D. and LL.M. degrees,” according to the National Association of Legal Professionals. Most law schools need an LL.M. before admitting students to an S.J.D. or Ph.D. program. The S.J.D. degree, like the Ph.D., typically includes a graded dissertation that is orally defended and then published as a book or series of papers.
Considerations for choosing the right Cybersecurity Law Degree Online program
Not every law student will have the time or the financial means to pursue an LL.M. in Cybersecurity. If a student’s condition dictates that they take a progressive approach to their legal studies, they may want to begin with an MLS. A graduate with an MLS would frequently have the ability to work in a legal department for and with cybersecurity lawyers. Although there are several part-time and online J.D. and LL.M. programs available, several programs require students to attend full-time in-person courses (when in-person classes are open). Starting with an MLS raises the risk that further education would be difficult if life conditions prevent the student from attending law school full-time. Returning to school is often more daunting than remaining in school.
Obtaining a J.D. and passing the state bar exam is a standard path to a career in cybersecurity law. This common strategy will allow the graduate to practice law in a broad sense while also gaining unique cybersecurity experience on the job. A licensed lawyer can petition to take a leave of absence from work to return to law school and earn an LL.M. or find an online LL.M. alternative after some time in the workplace.
After earning a J.D., the most direct path to becoming a practicing cybersecurity legal practitioner is to return to law school for an additional year to earn an LL.M. For students who have the time and financial capital, this is the chosen approach. The LL.M. degree is recommended by education advisors, particularly for students interested in specializing in global cybersecurity law or working in cybersecurity law for an international company.
The LL.M. is the degree of choice for career development and international reputation, especially in today’s dynamic and internationally-oriented legal climate. Early- to mid-career lawyers who want to advance their knowledge of a particular field of law, such as cybersecurity, often seek the LL.M.
Obtaining an S.J.D. is the final choice for cybersecurity law education. Students interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity research or academia should consider this degree.
Cybersecurity law school admission requirements
Students may apply for admission to their law school’s LL.M. program after meeting the criteria for a J.D. These are typically one-year programs with full-time attendance requirements.
The LL.M. admissions and program standards at the University of Texas at Austin Law School (Texas Law) are similar to those at many other law schools. They can be used to give students an idea of what to expect in these areas.
An LL.M. degree in Texas requires students to complete at least 24 semester hours of credit and maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 1.90. To stay in the program, students must maintain a GPA of at least 1.80. Scholastic probation is imposed on students who fail one class. A student who fails two courses in a single semester, regardless of their GPA, will be dismissed from the program.
Cybersecurity law degree curriculum
The program criteria for an LL.M. degree with a focus in cybersecurity law can be found at Texas Law. In the LL.M. Program, Texas Law, like many other law schools, does not allow transfer credits. Students who are already enrolled in another LL.M. program are eligible to apply to the Texas Law LL.M. Program, but they must complete the requisite 24 credits.
- In one academic year, students must complete a total of 24 credit hours.
12 credit hours for each focus.
- A three-credit writing seminar or a two-credit directed research project.
- Constitutional Law for Foreign Lawyers. (For students with a foreign law degree, this is a requirement.) Students with a common-law background can request an exception to this requirement.)
- Non-US J.D. candidates who wish to take a US state bar exam must also complete unique bar-required courses in order to be able to take the exam.
- In one academic year, students must complete a total of 24 credit hours.
The following courses are required of all Texas Law LL.M. in Cybersecurity students:
- Cybersecurity Law & Policy — This course examines the legal, policy, and structural problems surrounding cybersecurity, ranging from litigation and regulatory issues to cyber-hostilities.
- An Introduction to Cybersecurity Technology for Law and Policy Students – This course gives law and policy students a personalized introduction to key technological concepts related to cybersecurity.
- Emerging Cybersecurity Legal and Policy Issues Writing Seminar — This seminar features a number of guest speakers as well as an ever-changing collection of cutting-edge legal and policy issues related to cybersecurity.
- The Application of International Law to State-sponsored Cyber Activities — This course investigates the application of international law to state-sponsored cyber activities. This course discusses the legislative frameworks for data security in the United States and abroad.
The following is the result of the University of Southern California’s (USC) LL.M. in privacy law and cybersecurity degree curriculum:
- Evaluate, handle, and reduce the risk of data acquisition, storage/retention, usage, sharing, and disposal.
- Identify privacy and data security issues across different industries.
- Understand the legal ramifications of cyber threats in various industries, such as computer hacking offenses, identity theft, internet fraud, malware and phishing offenses, and civil torts.
- Identify cybersecurity risks and the requisite cybersecurity enforcement frameworks.
- Effectively communicate issues of privacy and data protection.
- Demonstrate solutions to relevant stakeholders such as consumers, end-users, manufacturers, distributors, regulatory authorities, and others.
Cybersecurity law school
Law school is not inexpensive: the total income potential and cultural prestige associated with becoming a lawyer command high tuition rates.
The top ten best law schools, according to US News & World Report, are listed below, along with their full-time annual tuition.
- Yale University – $66,128
- Stanford University – $64,554
- Harvard University – $67,081
- Columbia University – $72,465
- University of Chicago – $66,651
- New York University – $68,934
- University of Pennsylvania (Carey) – $67,998
- University of Virginia – $63,200
- Northwestern University (Pritzker) – $66,806
- University of California–Berkeley – $52,017
A J.D. is typically earned after three years of full-time study at an American Bar Association-approved law school. An LL.M. in Cybersecurity will take another year to complete.
Students who intend to receive a J.D. and then an LL.M. in cybersecurity in four years at one of the top ten US law schools should expect to pay cumulative tuition of more than $262,000 on average.
“Most law school scholarships come from law schools themselves to attract the best candidates,” according to Nerd Wallet. However, private awards are open, and applying for one could help you save money on your J.D.”
Cybersecurity law career outlook
Although an LL.M. in cybersecurity law is not mandatory, several experts suggest that job applicants have a basic understanding of cybersecurity concepts. For aspiring cybersecurity legal practitioners, taking undergraduate courses in IT and information security is a successful investment. A basic understanding of cybersecurity and computer networks can be demonstrated by earning an IT-related certification. Students can gain a conceptual understanding of how IT professionals handle security threats and vulnerabilities by studying for the credential.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), jobs in computer and information technology occupations are expected to rise by 12% from 2018 to 2028, far faster than the national average. The global cybersecurity market is expected to grow from $85.3 billion in 2016 to over $187 billion in 2021, according to research. There is expected to be a global demand for employment in this sector.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, by 2021, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings. Many large law firms have started to develop cybersecurity practices. Graduates of LL.M. programs will be employable as consultants, chief security officers for companies, and government officials in any field – both public and private.
According to Glassdoor, the starting salary for a chief security officer is $153,000 per year.
According to the USC Gould School of Law, an LL.M. graduate will follow one of five careers. Law Firm Partner is the most relevant of the five for a cybersecurity concentration. The median wage for law firm partners in the United States is $179,953, according to PayScale. Bonuses and profit-sharing deals will help you earn more than $400,000 a year.
The National Jurist reported in late 2017 that “the median pay for first-year associates at law firms with less than 50 lawyers was $90,000, half of what their large law firm peers in major markets make.” The median starting pay at firms with more than 700 lawyers was $155,000.”