U St. Thomas to start LL.M., MSL in compliance law

The University of St. Thomas School of Law, in Minneapolis, will begin offering two graduate degrees in the field of organizational ethics and compliance this fall, its first non-J.D. programs.

It will offer an LL.M. for lawyers and a master of studies in law for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree. St. Thomas will be one of a handful of universities nationwide, and the only one in Minnesota, offering advanced degrees in this field.

“There is an immediate demand for talent that understands legal theory, laws, regulations, and rules applicable to financial services, pharmaceuticals and other industries,” said Yvette Hollingsworth, executive vice president and chief compliance officer for Wells Fargo and a member of the law school’s Organizational Ethics and Compliance Advisory Board. “The St. Thomas School of Law’s compliance programs set the foundation for a career in the fields of compliance or risk management.”

The move is in response to employers who have answered increased government regulations by rapidly adding jobs for compliance professionals. Large federal undertakings like the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act have further strengthened compliance professionals’ critical role within corporations.

 “Time and again, we’ve heard from employers that the pool of qualified compliance candidates is not deep enough to satisfy demand,” School of Law Dean Robert Vischer said. “As corporations navigate today’s regulatory and governance challenges – and position themselves to meet those that have yet to emerge – they will need to depend on professionals who know how to follow the rules, but who also can think critically, motivate others, and respond to change without losing sight of business objectives or core organizational values.”

Developed with the guidance of leading compliance professionals, the M.S.L. and LL.M. programs can be taken on a full- or part-time basis and completed in one or two years. The programs can be tailored to fit the needs of individuals interested in all sectors of compliance work.

Courses will be taught by full-time faculty from the School of Law and St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, along with leading compliance professionals.

“The compliance field has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, not just in the number of jobs, but in the complexity of the challenges that confront compliance professionals,” said Carolyn Brue, assistant general counsel and assistant vice president for ethics and compliance for Cargill and an advisory board member.