By Angela Turnbow
The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law went for round two and graduated its second class in the Master of Legal Studies program, among them Lenny Ogomo.
The Master of Legal Studies program is a three-semester executive degree program designed to help working professionals gain a better understanding of the law and legal system without them having to practice as an attorney. Moreover, students attend classes every other Friday and Saturday throughout the year at the law school while still being able to work full-time.
The College of Law learned more about Ogomo’s law school experience in the MLS program in a recent Q&A.
Q: What made you interested in pursuing an MLS degree?
A: My journey towards the MLS program started about five years ago. As I ascended the corporate ladder working in a highly regulated industry, I noticed my focus shifted from the technical aspect to that on regulatory affairs. I knew my next benchmark was obtaining a master’s degree; therefore, I was preparing to enroll in an MBA program, even though I wasn’t convinced that an MBA would be the right fit for me. One of my co-workers looked at attending law school at S.J. Quinney and mentioned the Master of Legal Studies program. I did my research and found that it was the right path to advance my education. It contained material relevant to my career path and the schedule was structured around those working full-time. It felt like a custom fit.
Q: What do you do today? How did your time in the MLS program shape and/or help what you are currently doing?
A: I work for a food manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City. My current title is Director of Quality Assurance. It will be changing soon to the Director of Food Safety, Quality Assurance, and Regulatory Affairs. The MLS program bolstered my knowledge and understanding of laws and regulations. This has positioned me well to take over all regulatory affairs for my company. I credit this change to the MLS program.
Q: What is one memorable experience from the MLS program that will always stay with you?
A: When I look back at the MLS program, many moments were memorable. One that stands out is orientation—hearing everyone introduce themselves. I remember thinking these people here don’t need this—they have already achieved so much in their careers. They are highly motivated and high performing individuals, and I want to be just like them. It was an “aha” moment for me, and it made it clear that I chose the right program.
Q: How did you balance your personal life while pursuing an MLS degree and working full-time?
A: Balancing work, home life, and being a full-time student was a challenge. I had to understand early that I had committed to pursuing this program; therefore, I had to stick to it through the end. I achieved this balance by carving out a part of my day and dedicating it to the MLS program. Since I continued working full- time, the first 9 hours of my day were allocated to my job. When I got home in the evening, I assigned the next five hours to my family, and then I dedicated the last three hours to the MLS program. At least that was the plan, but it didn’t always work out. There were many late nights, early mornings, and lunch study time, trying to keep up. What kept me motivated was the consistent communication within our cohort. There was always someone who blazed the trail and let the rest of the group know what to expect. I also knew if I kept doing a little of the work every day over the two weeks between classes, I would keep up with the program. Quite frankly, I also had to sacrifice a few things such as my daily gym visit. Since the program is only a year, it was definitely worth the sacrifice. Now, I’m back to doing those things.
Q: What advice would you give others who are considering enrollment in the MLS program?
A: Do it! It’s worth doing. To achieve a master’s degree in one year for a working professional is unique and there are not a lot of opportunities like this.