In recent years, the American Bar Association (ABA) has started to allow law students the opportunity to take more online courses. A growing number of law schools are expanding their curriculum, blending online classes, and on-campus learning to offer a hybrid program.
While there are no fully online ABA-accredited programs yet, the educational landscape is continuously changing.
Now, is it possible to become a lawyer online? That depends on your state’s requirements.
The American Bar Association has not accredited any law schools offering a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree entirely online.
However, California law students are allowed to take the Bar Exam, a necessary step to becoming a lawyer that tests a student’s legal skills without enrolling in an ADA accredited program.
California is the first state to accredit fully online law schools. This is done independently of the American Bar Association.
This move expands access to education, reaches remote areas, is more accessible, and opens a pathway for more states to allow non-traditional students to become lawyers.
Benefits Of An Online Law Program
Remote education and remote learning are growing rapidly. People need the flexibility to take classes when they can and where they can.
It is an opportunity for those who have restrictions on their ability to attend on-campus law programs to further their education.
Risks Of An Online Program
Graduates of an ABA-accredited program are allowed to sit for the bar exam in any state. By enrolling in an online law school in California, students will not be allowed to take the bar exam in other states, limiting where a lawyer is allowed to practice.
The ABA wants to protect the integrity of legal education. They are skeptical of the ability to have dialogue and interaction that is crucial for a lawyer’s success through online learning.
If a student is looking to take a fully online law program, it is essential to research each law school, what they allow, and if it will sufficiently prepare them for a future in law.
An additional risk of online programs is how well-received it may be when job hunting. Since online programs are new to the industry, it may take time before law firms and clients feel comfortable with the level of education they provide.
Hybrid Law Programs
Hybrid programs allow students to earn their J.D. degree from home and on-campus. For years, the American Bar Association only allowed students to take 15 credits or a sixth of their coursework online.
However, in 2018, they have started to allow schools to offer a third of the credits online.
Hybrid programs give students the benefit of enrolling in an ABA-accredited program while having the flexibility to take some online courses.
Hybrid law programs are currently the best option for those who want to have a future practicing law while taking online courses.
If you are looking for a local Santa Rosa attorney, please contact MAJ Law. Our lawyers have years of experience and are ready to help.