Tips for Choosing an Online JD Program | Admission procedure for law

A small but growing number Faculty of Law now offer law students the opportunity to earn a JD partially or entirely online, which has undoubtedly made a legal education more accessible to many students.

The American Bar Association, the professional organization that sets standards for legal education, allowed one-third of required law school credits to be taught online for the first time in 2018. Three years later, the organization opened the doors to fully online JD programs as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated trends toward online education.

ABA maintains a list of schools with partially or fully online JD programs. These programs vary in their rules, requirements, and student populations they serve.

Low-residency, hybrid, and online programs

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Law Programs

Many law students may balk at the thought of paying full tuition for online law school courses. Some worry that law schools see online education as a cash cow that allows them to admit more students at a lower cost. Law schools insist that online law programs are flexible options rather than a substitute for in-person programs, but that may change over time.

On the other hand, some law students are attracted to the advantage of taking classes from home. Senior law students they may especially appreciate the flexibility of online courses. Online options may also appeal students with disabilities as well as those who live far from the law school.

As the list of partially and fully online JD programs continues to grow, applicants interested in an online law program should consider the following advice.

Know that reputation still matters

Since the job market value of an online law degree is still untested, participants may want to stick with better-known and respected programs with strong alumni networks.

For example, there are benefits to attending law school in the state where you plan to practice which may not be credited to distance learners who are unable to participate in on-campus opportunities.

Note Focus areas

Make sure you choose a program that matches your career interests.

Consider Non-JD options

Applicants who already have a JD or foreign equivalent may consider instead LL.M., which is a master’s degree in law. Many schools offer a fully online one-year LL.M. programs focused on legal specialties such as tax or international law.

Another option to consider is online master’s degree in legal studies, which usually takes one year as well. This program does not meet the legal education requirements to sit Bar examalthough several states offer other paths to legal practice.

Prefer practical experience

The aspect of law education that graduates value most is perhaps the practical experience gained by working in small groups, legal clinics and volunteer activities on campus.

Without real-life interaction, it can be hard for online students to get that taste of life as a lawyer. Before applying to an online program, make sure it will offer some degree of experiential learning opportunities.

While the benefits of in-person courses cannot be fully replicated online, broadening your study options can help serve law school applicants with diverse needs and interests. However, applicants should carefully consider such programs to ensure that they are worth the investment time and money.