Law School Discussion

Law Students => Online Law Schools => Topic started by: calvinexpress on January 03, 2015, 02:47:55 PM

Title: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: calvinexpress on January 03, 2015, 02:47:55 PM
So what's the latest news on online law school applying for ABA accreditation? Has any of these online law schools lately applied for ABA approval and what ones? A link would be helpful if you can provide one. Thanks.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Groundhog on January 03, 2015, 02:50:58 PM
William Mitchell College of Law created the first part online ABA-approved JD program, starting this month: http://web.wmitchell.edu/admissions/hybrid-program/
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 04, 2015, 11:05:43 AM
So what's the latest news on online law school applying for ABA accreditation? Has any of these online law schools lately applied for ABA approval and what ones? A link would be helpful if you can provide one. Thanks.

My understanding is that the current ABA rules don't allow for purely online programs to apply for accreditation. The ABA would have to change it's rules first, then an online school could apply.

Even if the rules change however, the problem online schools will face is bar passage rates. The ABA requires a school's first time pass rate to be within 15 points of the state's ABA average. In most states this means an online school would have to achieve a 60-70% first time pass rate, minimum. Right now, I don't any online schools are above 35%. That is a TALL order.

 
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 05, 2015, 05:30:07 AM
It is a Catch 22 - online schools as such cannot provide the infrastructure or staffing to meet ABA requirements; they also attract a lot of students who are either lacking skills or commitment to make distance learning work. Distance learning may work for the highly motivated student or someone already working in the courts or law but for the average student the outcome is doubtful.  However, with continuing improvement in technology; I think DL will eventually occupy the field.  But the ABA and state bars are ruled by dinosaurs - the bricks and mortar law firm will be endangered long before they ever get around to tinkering seriously with law schools.  Case in point - 50+ separate bars in the USA in an increasingly digitized and standardized world. ULP laws are so confusing many attorneys just ignore them.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on January 05, 2015, 08:58:30 AM
Interesting to see William & Mitchell taking that route.  I think online learning has some benefiets I know I did BarBri online, but I would always go to the lecture hall to watch the video. My school did a study on those that did home-study v. came to school to watch the BarBri videos and those that came to school did far better than those studying at home.

For the most I part I believe online learning does not work for law as the intensity of study to succeed is extreme. If you are not in a group environment you will likely be unable to know how much you need to know and there is something to be said for the Socratic method and working with classmates.

I think JonLevy makes a great point that most online schools attract students that are likely to struggle in the first place and put in an environment with less structure than ABA schools, which leads to bad results. Of course there are numerous examples of people succeeding from online schools, but it takes a special person to do that and most people don't have that commitment, which is why I think the brick & mortar approach should stay in place. However, a compromise of brick & mortar as well as online learning like the program offered by William & Mitchell makes sense.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 05, 2015, 09:48:49 AM
Both Jonlevy and Citylaw make very good points.

I agree with Jonlevy that it's a Catch-22. Until online schools can attract better students they will have low bar pass rates, but until they get ABA accreditation they won't be able t attract the students they really need.

I've said this before, but online schools are going to have to meet the ABA at least half way if they want to earn accreditation. It's not enough to complain that the ABA is unfair or behind the times, or whatever. The online law schools will have to show that they are committed to meeting ABA standards by getting more students to pass the bar. This probably requires amending their own standards to include the LSAT, an undergrad degree, maybe even some kind of specialized test to see if someone can handle the rigors of an online degree. Until then, I don't think anything will change.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on January 05, 2015, 05:46:26 PM
I agree many online schools just like to bash the ABA, but it is there for a reason and there is certainly merit to having a regulatory agency overseeing legal education.

Reading more about the W & M program I think it is a great compromise. I almost feel like a mandatory Brick & Mortar 1L is necessary as that is really when you learn to think like a lawyer. I am sure all of us had some joke classes during 2L & 3L that easily could have been done online, but there needs to be a brick & mortar component.



Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: RedBeardVII on May 25, 2015, 11:59:07 PM
I keep wondering if there is a, sort of, backwards way to go about this.

Why is California the only state that will allow a non-traditional student take the bar exam?  Oregon is right up the road. Nevada is next door.  Why shouldn't they (or any other state) simply reconfigure their rules, conforming them to Cali?  Seems like it would bring money and tourism and renewed interest to any state that would try it.

Does anyone know of a movement afoot in any other state to make this a reality?
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on May 26, 2015, 10:50:38 AM
I think there are a few schools in Alabama that allow you to sit. I also know a California Bar School graduate petitioned the Massachusetts Bar to take the exam and was allowed. It does seem like a violation of the privilege & immunities clause to deny a lawyer in one state the opportunity to obtain a license in another.

Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 26, 2015, 12:06:53 PM
I'm not aware of any movement per se, but as Citylaw said there are a few states that might allow a non-ABA grad to sit for the bar.

So, why don't more states allow it? I think it's due to several factors.

Protectionism
Part of a state bar's job is to make sure that the market doesn't get flooded and prices stay high. Is it fair or just? I'm not sure, I have mixed feelings. Nonetheless, it's a factor.

The ABA is a dinosaur
Even their rules for fixed facility accreditation are behind the times.

Performance of online schools
This is the big one. There is a lot of skepticism out there regarding the quality of online education in general, not just law schools. Most employers at competitive, reputable companies pretty much roll their eyes at online BAs, MBAs, etc. The same goes for JDs. Most lawyers (especially outside of CA) are VERY skeptical of online degrees.

Some of the skepticism is unfair snobbery, and some of it is legit. The fact is, online schools have high attrition and low bar pass rates. That's not a good combo. It means that either the admissions are too easy, the academic rigor is too low, or both.

I really don't think there will be any serious move towards either ABA accredited online education or towards more states' allowing online degrees until that changes. There is the example of William Mitchell School of Law, but that's fairly unique.

In CA it's a little different because we've always done things are own way. Although even in CA, I do see that most employers draw a big distinction between non-ABA (but state bar accredited) and unaccredited online schools. Most CA lawyers know enough smart, practicing non-ABA grads that the stigma is sort of dissipated.

As far as states like OR and NV, I just don't think there is any internal pressure from the state bar members to amend the rules and expand the educational requirements. I fact, most would probably be against it. Until that changes, I don't think outside lobbying will be sufficient to change the rules.

Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Redheaded Wanderer on September 07, 2015, 03:52:34 PM
As a non-traditional student (with a Ph.D) pursuing an online law degree due to the need to (1) keep working my day job - my own company; and (2) not drive 4+ hours one way to the nearest part-time law program, I'd like to chime in. It seems that if I pass the California Bar, then that ought to answer all questions about my abilities to practice law in any state, not just CA. In my home state of FL, the Bar requires practice in another state for 10 (count 'em) years before I can even petition the board to graciously allow me to sit for the exam (by which time, quite frankly, I expect I'll have forgotten much of whatever law I don't end up practicing). But perhaps that is the point.

It is VERY hard to learn the law by video lectures, online chats and the reading, briefing, etc. I am envious of those of you who have other options. I do not. And I do wish the ABA would recognize that there are many parts of the country where, if you are not 22 and unemployed, online is your only option.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 07, 2015, 05:53:07 PM
Honestly if you think driving 4 hours each way, one day a week is a big deal. You are best to avoid the whole ordeal.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on September 09, 2015, 11:34:02 AM
Driving four hours a day one way i.e. eight hours is a big deal.

Particularly when dealing with law school.

Commuting sucks  and 4 hours one way is miserable.

As to the OP's question William & Mitchell an ABA Law School has been approved for tentative online law school. http://www.startribune.com/william-mitchell-law-school-first-to-offer-aba-approved-online-degrees/236314681/

Your situation is a problem with legal education that many 22-25 year old with no family, career, etc cannot grasp. However, this is why pursuing education early in life is ideal, but not everyone does everything perfectly or knows what they want.

There are countless areas  in the U.S. that are completely unrepresented by lawyers and states like South Dakota are paying lawyers to move there. http://ujs.sd.gov/Information/rarprogram.aspx

So there are options, but states can impose rules on their licensing requirements, but attorneys that have passed the bar from a non-aba school and wanted to practice in another state have typically won approval to take the exam. This is a huge hurdle for anyone, but it has been done.

Good luck to you.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on September 09, 2015, 01:22:49 PM
Honestly if you think driving 4 hours each way, one day a week is a big deal. You are best to avoid the whole ordeal.

One day a week? Like Citylaw said, it is a big deal and would probably be four or five days a week, not just one.

As to the OP's question William & Mitchell an ABA Law School has been approved for tentative online law school. http://www.startribune.com/william-mitchell-law-school-first-to-offer-aba-approved-online-degrees/236314681/

I think the William Mitchell program is a hybrid of in-class and online instruction. The fact that they were already an established ABA school probably helped a lot, as opposed to an unaccredited online program trying to get ABA approval.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 09, 2015, 04:48:02 PM
First, it is NOT a BIGGER (compare and contrast) deal than all the rest that goes with it. Its cost benefit analysis.
And part time weekend law school is (at most) two days, often one day if you know how to schedule right after the first term. I've know people first hand who did just that.

Plus the idea of not wanting to quit your current job or move, I'm not sure if you grasp this but that 10 year clock to petition in your home state NEVER STARTS AT ALL until AFTER YOU MOVE to California and practice there (new state, new job) for that decade. Its not just a magic "you were licensed, good enough" thing.

Plus do you even know what the FYBX is, or how that works? What about the actual bar exam and going all the way out there to sit that? Have you looked into the stats on how many pass it from online law schools who are working?

Honestly, come on now. If you can't get past the idea of a mild drive one a week (and maybe staying in a hotel overnight until the other weekend classes the next day) just don't do it all. If you cant do that, you can't even fathom doing what the rest of it requires.

William Mitchell is ABA and that is great, but not your state. Hybrid sure, but still on campus state is ANOTHER STATE (far more commute when commute is required).  I'd say that is better than non aba, but factor in the downsides to that too. Its non ABA online, its ABA hybrid.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on September 09, 2015, 05:15:21 PM
The fact is you don't know how many days it will be and 4 hours one way is 8 hours total. That is ridiculous nobody can do that.

OP can try to get licensed through an online school maybe even through the hybrid program.

It is not an easy road.

OP should contact the state bar they are in and see what alternatives they offer. Maybe if you are in South Dakota a state so desperate for lawyers they are paying them to come there the South Dakota Bar might let you sit for the exam if you pass the California FYLSE . Crazier things have happened.

OP acknowledges it is a hard road, but an eight hour commute in a day is not sustainable even in a week.

It is unfortunate that certain areas of the country are not adequately represented.

Alaska does not even have a law school, South Dakota and North Dakota have one, Montana has one, Idaho has one, so on and so on. For people living in non-metropolitan areas that want to obtain a legal education are at a severe disadvantage.

I route for anyone like OP to challenge the system and find ways around it. Whether they succeed or not that is another story, but you can certainly try.

Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 09, 2015, 05:41:15 PM
The fact is you don't know how many days it will be and 4 hours one way is 8 hours total. That is ridiculous nobody can do that.

OP can try to get licensed through an online school maybe even through the hybrid program.

It is not an easy road.

OP should contact the state bar they are in and see what alternatives they offer. Maybe if you are in South Dakota a state so desperate for lawyers they are paying them to come there the South Dakota Bar might let you sit for the exam if you pass the California FYLSE . Crazier things have happened.

OP acknowledges it is a hard road, but an eight hour commute in a day is not sustainable even in a week.

It is unfortunate that certain areas of the country are not adequately represented.

Alaska does not even have a law school, South Dakota and North Dakota have one, Montana has one, Idaho has one, so on and so on. For people living in non-metropolitan areas that want to obtain a legal education are at a severe disadvantage.

I route for anyone like OP to challenge the system and find ways around it. Whether they succeed or not that is another story, but you can certainly try.
Um....Yeah I do (and so does anyone with a calculator) The weeks of the semester x 12 (3 per year, 4 years total)
And again, its cost benefit analysis. Saying that the mile is too far to walk, so you crawl 12 miles? Come on people. Cost benefit analysis.

But whatever, I don't care. I'm licensed. I'm good. OP will likely never go anywhere and we all know it. She already has a PhD, a job, and likes where she lives and doesn't want to commute.

I guess look into the EJD if you just something to hang off the wall. Concords is Regionally accredited. 100% Useless, but qualifies for student loans and all the usual stuff.  Honestly OP, I think that is what you are looking for. I know a guy who has one. I think he's a fool. But he seems happy with it.
http://www.concordlawschool.edu/Executive_Juris_Doctor.aspx
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on September 10, 2015, 12:07:15 PM
Or maybe OP will whoop both of our asses in court.

Plenty of people do well from various law schools, plenty do terribly from great law schools, so on and so on. A non-aba school is not ideal.

You also don't know what the class schedule is or what days they have to be there.

Essentially, you don't know anything about her life.

What if you got offered a job in South Dakota for $250,000? Would you take it?  I would not, but perhaps you would, maybe OP would. It is a chance that many people would jump at, others would not even consider, etc.

Basically everyone wants different things and has different priorities.

You cannot possibly know what is best for OP and she couldn't call you an idiot for not taking the $250,000 job in South Dakota. 

Everyone considering any law school needs to consider what is best for them, because each person's story is unique.

Is an ABA school better than a non-aba school? Yes.
Is Harvard a better ABA school than University of San Francisco? Yes.
Should someone uproot their whole life to attend an ABA school or Harvard instead of a non-aba school or less elite ABA school the right decision? It depends. (For some absolutely, others absolutely not, and others have a cost/benefit analysis.

Is making $250,000 better than making $125,000? Yes
Should someone uproot their entire life to double their salary? For some absolutely, for others absolutely not, and others a detailed cost/benefit analysis most ensue.

You don't know OP and she doesn't know you. She is aware that her current school is not ABA approved, she would obviously love it to be, but sometimes you have to compromise in fact most times you do.



Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 10, 2015, 02:08:23 PM
The fact is you don't know how many days it will be and 4 hours one way is 8 hours total. That is ridiculous nobody can do that.

OP can try to get licensed through an online school maybe even through the hybrid program.

It is not an easy road.

OP should contact the state bar they are in and see what alternatives they offer. Maybe if you are in South Dakota a state so desperate for lawyers they are paying them to come there the South Dakota Bar might let you sit for the exam if you pass the California FYLSE . Crazier things have happened.

OP acknowledges it is a hard road, but an eight hour commute in a day is not sustainable even in a week.

It is unfortunate that certain areas of the country are not adequately represented.

Alaska does not even have a law school, South Dakota and North Dakota have one, Montana has one, Idaho has one, so on and so on. For people living in non-metropolitan areas that want to obtain a legal education are at a severe disadvantage.

I route for anyone like OP to challenge the system and find ways around it. Whether they succeed or not that is another story, but you can certainly try.
No one can do that? MOST do that in the weekend programs. MOST.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Citylaw on September 10, 2015, 02:22:57 PM
Most people do not have 8 hour commutes, truck drivers do so yes you are correct I overstated and some people can, but I don't know if most do an 8 hour commute.

I have never done an eight hour commute for any legal work. Once in a blue moon I have to go from San Francisco to Federal Court in Sacramento, which is a 1.5-2 hours one way and a 4 hour round trip. Those days are miserable and I have done other work on those, days but I am operating at low levels.  I could technically get to NYC in 8 hours with the time difference from Cali if I left right now, but I would be drained and so would anyone else.

Maybe when you do an 8 hour commute you can say it isn't so bad, but I am not sure if your a law student or lawyer. However, if either your law school or office said at least 4 or 5 times a month and probably you will need to make an eight hour round-trip you might be a little upset. You might even change jobs or transfer schools.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on September 10, 2015, 02:32:05 PM
I don't think many law schools offer weekend programs, at least not where I live. My part time program was M-TH, usually 6-9, sometimes 6-10:30. That was pretty standard for all the part time programs I looked at. I don't remember seeing any weekend offerings. 
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 10, 2015, 03:11:22 PM
Well then that is a factor too. If the one she would commute to HAS a weekend one, do it. If not, don't

I think she was in Florida. Cooley has one there. And lets face it, ANY ABA is better than non ABA. And if commute if the bane of her life, the commute needed for the out of state hybrid would kill her too. I'd say do that, or do nothing.
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: Redheaded Wanderer on September 13, 2015, 10:21:18 AM
Thanks for weighing in, and providing more accurate information so that others will understand law school - even part time - isn't a 1 day a week thing. Yes, I have researched the part time schools within a 5-hour radius, and yes, they require classes 4 evenings a week. That would require that I at a minimum get a little apartment and live away from my family during tthe weeks (and give part of the weekend to commuting home). That's not feasible. I have, however, committed to this journey and will proceed. I agree, we all make the choices we need to within our own contexts. Frankly, I wouldn't have chosen to go to law school at 22 - and at the end of my Ph.D. (which I earned at 26) I was DONE with school. Three more years at that point would have been a disaster, and I didn't need or want a law degree then. Funny how life ebbs and shifts. What will law schools do with millenials who have multiple careers in a lifetime? Is law (or maybe medicine too) the last of the dinosaur professions where the majority enter as young people and stay until they retire? I doubt it, and I sincerely hope that law wakes up and recognizes that reality is changing. I wonder if there are stats...
Title: Re: Has any online laws schools lately applied for ABA accreditation?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on September 13, 2015, 03:52:27 PM
You say that you have "committed to" it and plan to "follow through" but how? Which progam EXACTLY do you plan to go to? Because I don't recall you committing to anything but a general idea of "something" yet.