Careers for Non-Lawyers in and around the California State Capitol

“There are a tremendous number of opportunities available to non-lawyer graduates of the McGeorge online graduate programs,” Professor Erin O’Neal Muilenburg told us. Professor Muilenburg teaches at McGeorge School of Law and also serves as director of McGeorge’s government and capital employment program.

Professor Muilenburg is deeply familiar with the McGeorge resources that help students find and land jobs at or around the California State Capitol. We spoke with her in a webinar to learn more about opportunities for non-lawyer graduates of the McGeorge online graduate programs.  

The MSL Degree is Recognized as a Valuable Asset in Careers for Non-Lawyers

Professor Muilenburg reported that the McGeorge MSL degree is very well recognized by individuals working in and around the capitol. The degree shows, she said, a unique understanding of law and policy issues, either in government law and policy or in environmental and water law and policy. “It helps individuals stand out from their peers, either in the job application process or for promotion within a person’s existing organization.” Both of these degrees help advance careers for non-lawyers in many professional settings.

An Unparalleled Job Network 

Careers for Non-Lawyers

“McGeorge’s location in California’s capital city and its proximity to the State Capitol really helps students plug into opportunities and alumni networks,” Professor Muilenburg told us. There is tremendous variety to the positions available to students interested in government law and policy, environmental law and policy. 

At the capitol, Professor Muilenburg continued, McGeorge graduates work in the building as committee consultants and legislative staffers. They work in the governor’s office. “We have alumni working in Sacramento as contract lobbyists who have multiple clients,” she said, “or lobbyists who may focus on a specific organization or industry.” McGeorge alumni work as analysts in state agencies. They work for trade associations, or for nonprofit organizations such as the Sierra Club or other environmental and social justice organizations.

“Also,” Professor Muilenburg said, “we have an alumni network that is unrivaled.” 

“I was talking about our capital programs at an event at another California law school a couple of years ago, and one of the individuals there said, ‘We keep trying to break into that space, but every time we turn around we’re talking to someone who went to McGeorge!’ I told them that’s absolutely the case. Our graduates work at every level of government, both inside and outside the capitol. Graduates have the ability to access these networks because our alumni are enthusiastic about working with students who are equally passionate about the intersection of policy and law.”

A calendar of regular events provides students with opportunities to get to know and network with alumni, faculty, practitioners, and fellow students. McGeorge’s career development office provides job-hunting resources. “You couldn’t pick a better place to study,” said Professor Muilenburg, “especially if you’re interested in working in and around the capitol.” 

What MSL Graduates Are Doing

Professor Muilenburg told us about the work that some McGeorge MSL graduates are doing in and around the capitol:

  • Jamie Taylor, MSL ‘17, who formerly worked at the State Capitol, is director of the Senate Fellows Program at the renowned Capital Fellows Program.
  • Maral Farsi, MSL ‘17, is deputy director of legislative affairs for the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.
  • Inez Taylor, ‘18, is currently working as a committee secretary and consultant for the California Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.
  • Tara Beltran, MSL ‘18,  works as a compliance coordinator with Westervelt Ecological Services.
  • Several other graduates of the MSL program work in the capitol building. (You can read the McGeorge blog profiles of Michelle Teran-Woolfork, MSL ’17, who works as a legislative director, and Amanda Richie, MSL ‘18, who works as a policy consultant.)

The full webinar provides more information about how McGeorge prepares MSL graduates to secure careers for non-lawyers in and around the capitol. It also provides details about the fully asynchronous online program. 

McGeorge’s Online MSL & LLM Programs

McGeorge offers two fully online part-time Master of Science in Law programs:

  • The MSL in Government Law & Policy is designed for local, state, and federal agency employees, and for lobbyists, legislative staff, and others who seek to enhance their skills in lawmaking, regulation, election law, and lobbying but who do not require a traditional law degree.
  • The MSL in Water & Environmental Law provides value to land-use planners, engineers, environmental consultants, who seek expertise in this continually evolving field but who do not require a law degree.

Additionally, a fully online part-time LLM in Water & Environmental Law program is for attorneys, recent law school graduates, or foreign-educated legal professionals to develop depth of knowledge in a specialized area of environmental, water resources, regulatory compliance, and public agency law.

Students build marketable expertise with the guidance of expert faculty chosen for outstanding teaching as well as the depth of knowledge in water and environmental law. Courses emphasize real-world knowledge and development of practical skills. The programs are convenient and are specifically designed for students and professionals who need flexibility due to work, professional, or other obligations, and who want to further their education and advance their career. For more information on careers for non-lawyers, contact us at graduatelaw@pacific.edu or 916.739.7019.

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