Should You Choose an Online Law Program?
If you're considering law school, the idea of doing it online may have crossed your mind. Unfortunately, there are no ABA accredited fully online only law programs that will let you get a law degree without changing out of your jammies or at least getting off the couch.
Sorry prospective law students, you will have to leave the house. And if you've started your research into law school, you already know that, and that not going to an ABA accredited school is taking a big risk with your legal education. However, the ABA has relaxed their rules that cover online legal education, allowing law students to earn up to a full third of their required course credits via remote classwork. Naturally, this has opened the door for ABA accredited schools to offer hybrid online/in-person law programs. But should you even consider it?
Notably, one ABA accredited school is taking the lead by offering a new hybrid online and in-person law program. Syracuse University College of Law allows students to complete the maximum allowable online credits via live online seminars, and has special, intensive week long in-person sessions at the start of each semester, coupled with other flexible intensive in-person sessions during the semester.
Although this might not be the same level of flexibility many other online universities offer for other non-ABA accredited law programs, when it comes to law school, the Syracuse program will likely be game changing. Only having to give up a few weeks per semester to be on campus means students who might not be able to afford full time childcare, or to completely relocate for school, will have the opportunity to attend law school ... though more schools will likely need to roll out similar programs.
Know Your Focus
If you are laser focused on one area of law and already have a career or good contacts in the legal industry, then the school you attend might matter less than simply getting licensed.
However, it will be hard, especially in the hyper-competitive job markets, to reconcile the fact that online degrees are not viewed as favorably as degrees from traditional, T1, or well known, universities. Fortunately, with the ABA relaxing their rules, and schools like SU starting innovative part-time online law programs, ABA accredited online law schools might not suffer from the same stigma.
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