When it comes to professional growth, human resources professionals have all sorts of acronyms as part of their jargon. PHR, S-PHR, aPHR, GPHR, SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are just a few professional certification acronyms in addition to the various types of degrees out there. But one acronym stands out to me above all the others, and that is "MJ-LEL." What is MJ-LEL? I'm glad you asked! MJ-LEL stands for Tulane University Law School's Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law degree. Now you might ask, what distinguishes this acronym from the rest? What will this degree and acronym do for me that the others do not do?
To give you the full context, I need to start from the beginning, or rather my beginning! I thought I wanted to be a police officer or FBI agent. In high school I took an elective class called "criminal law." My experiences in that class where I was able to participate in mock court and play out a criminal case before the teacher as the judge was my first inspiration to be involved in the legal profession. Although I detoured for a while after high school and went in a totally different direction in an attempt to be a grade school teacher. Alas, my timing was not good and I ended up in retail while looking for a teaching job. Then the HR bug hit, and over the past 16 years as an HR Manager and HR Business Partner has really re-engaged me to pursue a deeper understanding and knowledge of labor and employment law and putting that expertise into action. I really enjoy working with my team and business partners as a consultative associate, while making sure we are doing everything we can to be defensible and protect the team and the organization. On several occasions in my career, I have been instrumental in working with assigned lawyers when we had lawsuits and I was responsible to help investigate, provide research and documentation and participate in depositions. Each time, I really felt that I wanted to be more deeply involved and discovered that I wanted a higher level of expertise and to become a subject matter expert in Labor and Employment Law. Deep down I also thought that perhaps I could pursue working in the legal profession after graduating.
So why the MJ-LEL? While researching various graduate programs that would result in a human resources degree, I found Tulane's MJ-LEL program. After learning a little more, and some additional research, I got hooked and was laser focused on getting admitted into Tulane Law School! There was no other program that I found, that could rival what Tulane was offering for a master's degree level program. This program was offering advanced level law school classes which included learning concepts that Juris Doctor students learn in their second and third years in law school. The professors at Tulane ensure students gain understanding of how to write appropriately and concisely in the legal landscape, along with finding and interpreting statues, regulations, court decisions and distinguishing from primary and secondary sources and using those sources to develop solid legal reasoning. But wait! There's more! (Sorry for the infomercial or "As Seen on TV" plug!) This program also aspires to develop students to become a visionary human resources professional. You will learn not just the law but also a deeper understanding of theories and themes of labor relations, intellectual property, social media, sex and gender, microagressions, implicit bias, conscious bias and unconscious bias, intersectionality, diversity, equity and inclusion, employee engagement, experience, and well being, equal pay, disability and pregnancy discrimination, personal appearance discrimination (Crown Acts/Laws), LGBTQI issues and the future of human resources in the workplace as we approach almost a quarter of a century into the 21st century.
I'm just scratching the surface and I'm a true believer in this program. My only regret is not enrolling into the MJ-LEL program sooner! If you are passionate about learning, looking for a challenge, want to have personal fulfillment, as well as professional development and a deeper specialization in the HR field then perhaps this is a path to consider. As an insider to this degree program and soon be be graduating from Tulane Law School, I am confident that this is THE acronym that you want to have to the right of your name.
MJ-LEL is Not Just Another Acronym for HR Professionals! © 2024 by Eric Kalet is licensed under CC BY 4.0