The Top 10 Executive JD Programs

Discover the top 10 Executive JD programs that can take your legal career to the next level.

Posted April 11, 2024

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Are you a seasoned professional looking to take your career to the next level? Have you considered pursuing an executive JD program to enhance your skills and open up new opportunities? In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the top 10 executive JD programs available. Let’s dive into the details and discover the program that’s right for you.

What is an Executive JD Program?

An executive JD program, also known as an Executive Juris Doctor program, is a law program tailored to working professionals who aim to gain knowledge and enhance their legal skills within their field of expertise. The program is designed to provide advanced knowledge of the law and management techniques to enable professionals to handle complex legal matters, as well as providing a broader perspective for making strategic business decisions.

Executive JD programs are typically offered in a part-time format, allowing students to continue working while pursuing their degree. The curriculum is often focused on practical skills and real-world applications, with courses such as negotiation, contract drafting, and regulatory compliance. Graduates of executive JD programs are equipped with the legal knowledge and skills necessary to advance their careers and take on leadership roles within their organizations.

Note that some schools offer executive education opportunities through the law school that aren’t official JD programs, but still provide a way for those in the legal field to level up in their careers. We will include both in this list. If you already have a JD, an executive program from a top law school can help you build more industry expertise, lean into a new sector, improve your leadership skills, among other benefits.

Top 10 Executive JD Programs

1. Harvard Law School – Executive Education

Harvard Law School offers many different executive education programs that equip participants with the tools and insights necessary to address the evolving challenges of the legal landscape. HLS employs a case study method that allows for a highly tailored and relevant curriculum, as well as a collaborative learning environment that fosters rich discussions and connections with a diverse cohort of peers.

HLS offers many different executive programs through the law school. Some of these include:

Leadership Programs

Master Classes

Online Programs

See all of Harvard Law School’s executive education programs here.

2. Stanford Law School – Executive Education

Leveraging the academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and multidisciplinary resources of Stanford Law School (SLS), these programs have been at the forefront for over two decades. They bring together a diverse array of stakeholders, including scholars, policymakers, corporate leaders, jurists, and legal practitioners, from across the globe. Grounded in real-world relevance, SLS executive education programs blend keynote addresses, plenary debates, panel discussions, and small-group work, fostering an interactive learning environment where participants learn by doing. Led by pre-eminent faculty from Stanford Law and other university departments, as well as esteemed members of the legal and corporate communities, these programs challenge, educate, and engage participants at all levels. Beyond acquiring knowledge, attendees forge lasting connections and relationships, enriching their professional networks and leaving a lasting impact beyond their time on campus.

Stanford Law School offers three types of programs in their Executive Education page. As of April 2024, the following programs available are intended for directors and senior executives. The SLC encourages the C-level executives to apply to these three programs:

3. Gonzaga University School of Law

Gonzaga University School of Law’s executive two-year JD program stands out as an innovative pathway to a legal education, offering a full ABA-accredited curriculum in just two years instead of the traditional three. With a distinctive emphasis on business and leadership courses woven into the program, students benefit from a comprehensive legal education that prepares them to excel in today's dynamic professional landscape. This accelerated program enables aspiring legal professionals to swiftly acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in their careers while emphasizing the importance of leadership and strategic thinking in the practice of law.

For students who are interested in applying for the executive two-year JD program, they must submit their application before March 31.

Gonzaga Law’s application and admission timeline:

  • September 1: Applications to all Gonzaga Law programs opens
  • March: Last administration of the LSAT test that will return scores in time for admission to the program.
  • March 31: Deadline for the Executive Two-Year J.D. Program applicants.
  • Mid-May: Orientation and classes for the Executive Two-Year J.D. Program students begin.

Attendance schedule:

First-Year Executive Two-Year J.D. Program

  • Term 1, Year 1 Late May to Mid-August
  • Term 2, Year 1 Late August to Mid-December
  • Term 3, Year 1 Mid-January to Early May

Second-Year Executive Two-Year J.D. Program

  • Term 4, Year 2 Late May to Mid-August
  • Term 5, Year 2 Late August to Mid-December
  • Term 6, Year 2 Mid-January to Early May

See the full schedule and curriculum here.

4. Georgetown Law – Executive Education

Georgetown Law’s executive education program is tailored to meet the diverse professional development needs of legal professionals and organizations worldwide. Whether you're looking to enhance your own performance, develop your team's capabilities, or deepen your knowledge in a specific area of law or policy, Georgetown Law’s program offers flexible options for program delivery to accommodate your busy schedule. With executive training modules available online, on-campus at Georgetown Law, or at client sites globally, you can choose the format that best suits your learning preferences and goals. Through interactive and collaborative learning experiences, participants gain the practical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today's dynamic legal and business landscape, with every detail managed to ensure client satisfaction and success.

Georgetown Law offers various executive education program modules. Students may choose from the following program modules:

Law Firm Finance Modules

  • The Business of Law — Law Firm Economics
  • Legal Spend from the Client’s Perspective
  • Introduction to Accounting and Corporate Finance for Lawyers
  • Mini “MBA” for Lawyers

Leadership Modules

  • Fundamentals of Leadership Styles
  • Managing Difficult Conversations: Giving & Receiving Feedback
  • Teams and Team Building
  • Leadership and Mindfulness
  • Moving from a Producer to a Manager
  • Innovation in Management
  • Innovative Problem Solving Through Design Thinking

Substantive Law Modules

  • Anti-Corruption and Corporate Compliance
  • Navigating Washington – Effective Lobbying and Advocacy
  • Global Best Practices in Non-Profit Governance and Endowment Management
  • Conflicts of Interest for Corporate Boards of Directors
  • Advanced Topics in Corporate Governance
  • Drafting Effective Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • AI and Bias
  • Intellectual Property
  • Privacy, Cybersecurity and Breach Incident Response
  • Negotiation
  • #MeToo Training

Strategic Planning and Management Modules

  • Strategic Planning in Professional Services Firms
  • Small “n” Negotiations
  • Personal and Team Branding
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Creating and Changing Cultures

Career Development Modules

  • Career Development Planning for the Seasoned Practitioner/Leader
  • Life and Career Design

5. Purdue Global Law School

Obtaining an Executive JD (EJD) degree from Purdue Global Law School equips you with the skills and knowledge to navigate complex legal issues effectively, making it an invaluable asset in various professional settings. Whether you're a business owner, work in a highly regulated industry, or serve in a corporate legal department, your advanced legal training will enable you to identify and address key legal challenges with confidence. Additionally, the versatility of an EJD degree extends beyond traditional legal practice, offering opportunities in fields such as mediation, higher education, human resources, and nongovernmental organizations. While EJD graduates may not litigate in court, they can serve as advocates in administrative dispute resolution forums, including immigration courts, veterans benefits hearings, social security appeals, Medicare claims appeals, workers compensation boards, and federal labor dispute proceedings, providing invaluable support and representation to individuals and organizations alike.

Executive JD students in Purdue Global Law are offered the following Core Requirement programs:

  • Introduction to Legal Analysis
  • Introduction to Legal Analysis II
  • Contracts
  • Contracts II
  • Torts
  • Torts II
  • Constitutional Law
  • Legal Analysis and Writing
  • Advanced Legal Analysis and Writing - Regulatory and Transactional
  • Electronic Legal Research
  • Cross Professional Ethics

The total credits of the Core Requirements is 30. As for Open Electives, the total Open Elective Requirements is at 42 credits, which makes it 72 total credits.

Students may also choose to attend some of the Concentration courses that are completed within the open elective requirements. While students are not required to attend, Concentration courses are fully optional. Purdue Global Law offers the following Concentration courses in:

  • Business Law
  • Education Law
  • Health Law
  • Law and Technology

Visit Purdue Global Law School’s website to view all the offered courses for Executive JD.

6. Columbia Law School – Executive Education

Columbia Law School Executive Education offers comprehensive legal training designed to meet the diverse needs of both practicing attorneys seeking to enhance their skills and knowledge and non-lawyers looking to gain a deeper understanding of the legal landscape to bolster their business acumen. Columbia Law School’s custom Executive Education programs are meticulously tailored to the specific requirements of our clients, with every aspect customizable, from subject matter and duration to format. Collaborating closely with their esteemed faculty, client leaders, and facilitators, Columbia Law School ensures that each program is highly relevant to the participants' professional roles and objectives. By focusing on practical knowledge and skills that can be directly applied to their practice or work, Columbia Law School’s programs empower participants to make meaningful contributions and drive success in their respective fields.

Columbia Law School’s Executive Education offers various programs such as:

Learn more about Columbia Law School’s Executive Education here.

7. University of Pennsylvania (Penn Carey Law) – Executive Education

Penn Carey Law Executive Education offers accelerated and comprehensive programs tailored to address specific topics, empowering professionals to enhance their decision-making abilities, devise innovative solutions, and stay ahead in their respective industries. Through a unique blend of renowned scholars, industry experts, and interdisciplinary curricula, their certificate-bearing professional development programs deliver specialized expertise and foster improved strategic thinking in targeted issue areas. Participants benefit from high levels of engagement, valuable networking opportunities, and direct access to Penn Carey Law faculty and esteemed experts, ensuring a dynamic learning experience. With a focus on practical knowledge and skills that drive tangible results, their programs equip professionals with the tools and insights needed to excel in today's competitive landscape.

Students will receive more accelerated and in-depth programs from Penn Carey Law’s Executive Education. These programs include:

1. Regulatory Analysis and Decision-Making

  • Regulatory Goal-Setting
  • Rule Design and Instrument Choice
  • Compliance and Enforcement
  • Nudges and Behaviorally Informed Regulation
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis
  • Retrospective Analysis
  • Statistics for Regulation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Agile Regulation

2. Critical Issues in Compliance

3. Artificial Intelligence, Industry, and the Law

  • Overview of AI
  • US, EU, and Global AI Regulations
  • Key Legal Issues in AI
  • Ethics Surrounding AI
  • AI and Finance

4. U.S. Corporate Law and Strategy

Penn Carey Law’s Executive Education also offers a Forum on Advancing Inclusive Leadership where you can watch a series of complimentary conversations.

Learn more about Penn Carey Law’s Executive Education by visiting their page.

8. New York University School of Law – Executive Programs

New York University (NYU) School of Law's Institute for Executive Education stands as a beacon of specialized legal training at the nexus of business, policy, and strategy. Leveraging the esteemed faculty of the Law School and the unparalleled resources of New York City, one of the most dynamic and global cities in the world, the institute equips professionals with the expertise and insights needed to navigate complex legal and business landscapes with confidence. By fostering fluency across disciplines and providing a deeper context for decision-making, NYU School of Law's Executive Programs empower executives to seize opportunities, tackle challenges, and drive success in their respective fields.

NYU Law offers comprehensive executive education programs through the law school. Some of these include:

One-Year, Low-Residency Programs

See the full details of NYU Law’s Executive Education programs here.

9. UC Berkeley School of Law (Berkeley Law) – Executive Education

Berkeley Law Executive Education offers a diverse range of programs tailored to meet your professional development objectives, whether you're aiming to pivot to a new practice area, embark on a different career path, pursue a promotion, or deepen your expertise in a specific subject area. Our programs are designed to empower you to make an immediate impact on your career and organization, enhance the value you deliver to your clients, expand your professional network, and achieve your career aspirations. Since 2017, Berkeley Law Executive Education has been a trusted partner for thousands of professionals worldwide, providing them with enduring skills and invaluable opportunities for growth. Our platform serves as a hub that connects legal practitioners, investors, executives, and nonprofit leaders to a wide array of professional development training programs, ensuring that individuals from diverse backgrounds and industries can access the resources they need to succeed.

Berkeley Law Executive Education offers in-person and online programs. Some of these are:

See Berkeley Law’s full executive education program here.

10. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law – Executive Education

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law's Executive Education program offers a dynamic platform for law students seeking to deepen their understanding of law and its intersection with various industries and disciplines. With a focus on practical, real-world applications, their programs draw on the expertise of UCLA's renowned faculty and industry leaders to deliver cutting-edge insights and strategies. Whether you're looking to enhance your legal acumen, explore new career opportunities, or drive innovation within your organization, UCLA Law Executive Education provides a transformative learning experience tailored to meet the evolving needs of today's professionals. Through interactive sessions, case studies, and collaborative projects, participants gain invaluable skills, expand their networks, and position themselves for success in a rapidly changing legal landscape.

Executive JD and executive education programs are designed for professionals who want to earn a law degree while continuing to work. These programs typically offer flexible schedules and specialized courses that cater to the needs of working professionals. In addition to the reputation of the law school, factors such as program structure, faculty, and alumni network can also play a role in choosing the right executive JD program. It is important to research and compare different programs before making a decision.

The UCLA School of Law’s Executive Education offers programs that change from time to time. You may visit their website for updated programs and registration details.

5 Benefits of Pursuing an Executive JD Program

Pursuing an Executive JD program is a great way to gain a competitive edge in your career. It opens up diverse career opportunities, from leadership roles in legal departments to administrative positions in large companies.

  1. An Executive JD program equips you with the skills and expertise necessary to excel in the increasingly competitive legal industry.
  2. An Executive JD program provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the legal system and its impact on businesses. This knowledge is essential for executives who need to make informed decisions that comply with legal regulations and avoid potential legal issues.
  3. An Executive JD program offers networking opportunities with legal professionals, which can help you build valuable connections and expand your career prospects.
  4. Many Executive JD programs offer opportunities for specialization in areas such as business law, healthcare law, education law, intellectual property, or international law. Specialization can provide focused expertise in niche areas of interest and enhance career prospects in specialized fields.
  5. Executive JD programs often offer flexible scheduling options, such as evening or weekend classes, to accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals. This flexibility allows students to balance their professional responsibilities with their academic pursuits.

What Makes a Good Executive JD Program?

A good Executive JD program should offer students an opportunity to earn a Juris Doctorate degree while maintaining their careers. The course should provide advanced knowledge of the law through core modules and elective courses tailored to the individual needs of the students. Good Executive JD programs will place a high percentage of graduates in highly respected positions, offering stable and competitive salaries. They should also have a strong reputation and offer excellent networking opportunities.

In addition, a good Executive JD program should have experienced faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. These faculty members should be able to provide students with practical insights and real-world examples that will help them apply their legal knowledge in their careers. The program should also offer opportunities for students to participate in internships or externships, allowing them to gain hands-on experience in the legal field. Finally, a good Executive JD program should have a flexible schedule that accommodates the busy schedules of working professionals, with classes offered in the evenings or on weekends.

How to Choose the Right Executive JD Program for You

Choosing the right Executive JD program for you is essential for your career development. It would be best to consider the reputation of the school and the program, the quality of education, the cost, and the flexibility of the program. You should also consider the curriculum and whether it aligns with your career goals. It’s vital to review the admission requirements and see if you can meet them.

Another important factor to consider when choosing an Executive JD program is the networking opportunities it provides. Look for programs that offer opportunities to connect with alumni, industry professionals, and other students. These connections can be invaluable in building your professional network and advancing your career.

What to Expect from an Executive JD Program Curriculum

The Executive JD curriculum is designed to provide advanced knowledge of the law and management techniques. The program structure includes core and elective courses tailored to the students’ needs. Courses cover finance, accounting, and management courses, and students have the opportunity to choose several areas of specialization; thus, the curriculum is perfect for professionals who want to advance in their career.

How Long Does an Executive JD Program Take?

The Executive JD program usually takes around two to three years to complete. The duration varies depending on the school and whether you are studying full-time or part-time. Part-time students usually take longer to graduate as they balance their studies with their work commitments.

How to Prepare for a Strong Executive JD Program Application

Admissions committees look for applicants who demonstrate a passion for legal studies, as well as work experience and educational achievements. Research the schools you are interested in and their requirements. Start your application early, write your statement of purpose sincerely, and prepare your academic documents and letters of recommendation well ahead of deadlines.

  1. Take undergraduate courses: Enroll in challenging, rigorous courses that align with the legal field or your area of professional expertise. Consider classes in political science, philosophy, economics, or business law to develop critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills essential for success in law school and an Executive JD program.
  2. Aim for a high GPA: Maintain a strong academic record throughout your undergraduate studies. Admissions committees often consider GPA as an indicator of academic aptitude and commitment to excellence. Strive to achieve the highest GPA possible to demonstrate your readiness for the rigors of law school coursework.
  3. Study for the GRE or LSAT: Prepare thoroughly for standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which are commonly required for admission to Executive JD programs. Dedicate ample time to studying, take practice tests, and consider enrolling in a test prep course to maximize your score potential.
  4. Submit a strong resume: Craft a professional resume that highlights your academic achievements, work experience, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and relevant skills. Tailor your resume to emphasize experiences that demonstrate your commitment to the legal field or showcase your leadership abilities and analytical prowess.
  5. Prepare solid letters of recommendation: Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your academic abilities, work ethic, character, and potential for success in law school and a legal career. Provide recommenders with specific examples of your accomplishments and qualities to help them write compelling and personalized letters of recommendation.
  6. Make sure to apply early: Submit your application materials well before the deadline to ensure that your application receives full consideration. Late applications may be at a disadvantage, as admissions decisions are often made on a rolling basis, and seats in Executive JD programs may fill up quickly. Plan ahead and allow ample time to gather required documents, complete essays, and request transcripts and recommendations.
  7. Prepare for the interview: Familiarize yourself with common interview questions and practice articulating your motivations for pursuing an Executive JD program, your career goals, and your strengths and experiences. Research the program thoroughly to demonstrate your genuine interest and readiness to contribute to the academic community. Practice conveying your responses confidently and concisely, and be prepared to discuss how your background and experiences align with the program's values and objectives.
  8. Prepare a compelling personal statement: Craft a compelling statement of purpose or personal statement that articulates why you are drawn to the specific Executive JD program and how it aligns with your academic and professional goals. Tailor your statement to highlight aspects of the program, such as faculty expertise, specialized curriculum offerings, or unique opportunities for experiential learning, that resonate with your interests and aspirations. Be sincere and specific in expressing your enthusiasm for the program and your reasons for choosing it over other options.
  9. Be smart about your extracurricular and work experiences: Choose extracurricular activities and work experiences that demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills, as well as your commitment to service and community engagement. Highlight experiences that are relevant to the legal field or showcase your ability to excel in a challenging academic or professional environment. Be prepared to discuss your experiences in depth during interviews or in your application materials, emphasizing how they have shaped your personal and professional development and prepared you for success in an Executive JD program.
  10. Choose a rigorous college major: Select a college major that is academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating, while also aligning with your interests and career goals. Law schools value applicants with diverse academic backgrounds and experiences, so choose a major that challenges you intellectually and allows you to develop strong analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills. Avoid selecting a major solely based on perceived ease or difficulty, and instead focus on choosing a field of study that you are passionate about and that will prepare you for success in law school and beyond.

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