Just two years after graduating from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, alumna Lesley Visutsiri ’16 has already leveraged her Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS) degree to secure the type of senior-level position that inspired her to continue her education.

Visutsiri, in fact, needed her MLS degree to obtain her job as a contracts administrator for defense contractor Northrup Grumman, which requires master’s degrees for those at her level. “My knowledge gained at Loyola helps me every day,” she says.

Expecting to draw on her degree to further grow her credentials, Visutsiri plans to earn a certification from the National Contract Management Association “where my Law of Sales class will come in handy,” she says.

Equipped with her degree, Visutsiri believes she will soon accomplish another milestone: becoming a director. “I feel confident that having this degree will get me to the next level,” she says.

Before joining Northrup Grumman, Visutsiri was a senior contracts manager for Eaton Aerospace, where she regularly navigated issues relating to intellectual property, liability and indemnity. Despite the courses and certifications she earned in the field, along with a decade of work experience, she found herself seeking mastery of the finer points of contract law.

A law degree seemed to be the only option for advancing her expertise of the subject matter, but she debated the commitment of pursuing a JD. “I didn’t want to be a lawyer,” she says, but she was often required to work independently from her legal team. Visutsiri found a solution: Loyola Law School’s MLS program, which offers working professionals like Visutsiri a chance to obtain the legal skills and training needed to excel in their position without a JD.

Students customize their curriculum or pursue one of six specializations: Business Law, Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy, Entertainment & New Media Law, Environmental & Natural Resources Law and Intellectual Property Law. Visutsiri’s specialization in Intellectual Property, with courses including Patent Law and Trademark Law, allowed her to take more initiative in her workplace, creating a more effective department overall.

As a student, Visutsiri regularly employed classroom knowledge at her workplace. In one instance while dealing with a challenging customer issue, she drew on her newly acquired expertise to suggest alternative codes and sections that her firm’s legal department had not considered.

As an evening student working full time, Visutsiri relished the support she received from her workplace and professors, who made themselves available afterhours and on weekends for review sessions and to answer questions. Their willingness to arrange meetings before class and even distribute personal cell phone numbers allowed her to embrace both her love of learning and contracts.

Above all, Visutsiri says that her MLS degree has helped her pave a path for ascent in the ranks of her industry.

“I had a goal to be a contracts manager within five years. I already did that – a year ahead of schedule. My next goal is to be a director in another five years. This program put me into that path and will hopefully help me reach that goal,” she says. “The MLS degree at Loyola is a great program for people in my field, and I recommend it to everyone.”

Learn more about how an MLS degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles can help you make a difference.