Each and every month, more and more distance learning programs appear, and attempt to lure in new students. Each and every month, more and more different kinds of degrees are made available. But there are certain types of school that simply cannot translate to an on-line program. Like Medical School, for example. Medical school is too hands-on, heavily requiring of labs and first-person experience, to ever be completed over a computer.
But what about a Law degree?
The answer may surprise you, in that YES you can take law classes on-line, and you can even receive a degree from a law school without ever setting foot inside a law school. If this seems a little suspicious, you’re not alone – law school is notoriously difficult, requiring high amounts of reading, studying, testing, and debating. How can a distance learning program adequately prepare a student for such a rigorous, demanding profession?
One such program, Concord Law School run by Kaplan University, offers this – “Concord Law School’s distance-learning program is flexible. With the competing demands of work and family responsibilities, many cannot attend classroom-based programs requiring a fixed schedule and location. Concord’s virtual halls never close: Video lectures are accessible 24-7, Assignments are turned in and returned with in-depth feedback to the student’s homepage within days, Student services are available at the click of a mouse.”
Concord touts the flexibility of its program, as well as being significantly more affordable than traditional law schools. Overall, it seems like a pretty decent program.
But there is another side to this coin. There are only five law schools in the country that offer law degrees on-line. Aside from Concord Law School, there are Abraham Lincoln University of Law, American Heritage University, Aristotle University Institute of Law and Jurisprudence, and California School of Law.
All five of these schools are located in the state of California, because California is the only state in the nation that will allows graduates to sit for the Bar exam. Which means that anyone who achieves their degree via distance education (and passes the exam) will only be eligible to practice law in California. No other state will honor the degree or allow the graduate to practice law.
More bad news? The California Bar exam has the lowest passage rate of any state. And it should be mentioned that distance learning students tend to fare far worse on the exam than students of traditional law school.
Many distance educated law students find they do not get the same level of respect from their peers as graduates of ABA (American Bar Association) approved schools. This can lead to potential problems with finding a post-school job, as the market has become saturated, and having a prestigious degree can make all the difference in finding gainful employment.