Law School Discussion

Online JD for legal writing?

Online JD for legal writing?
« on: July 12, 2009, 09:01:47 PM »
I'm considering applying to an online JD programme... My main goal isn't- at this stage, at least- to practice law but rather to expand my skill set to include legal writing. My question is this: Would doing a non-ABA approved, online degree hinder me in the legal writing field?  I realise that there's a great degree of stigma attached to doing an online law degree and was wondering if that would extend to using it as a professional degree?  I am studying for the LSAT and do have the UGPA to get into a lower tier ABA school, but would ideally like to avoid putting myself further in debt with student loans (I have a grad. degree that I have yet to pay for...).

Any thoughts, suggestions?


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Re: Online JD for legal writing?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 11:20:15 PM »
How do you plan to work in the "legal writing field" without practicing law?  The only legal writing jobs (that I can think of) that don't require practicing are professor and law clerk, both of which would require an ABA-approved law school.  Unless you would like to work as a paralegal... but then I'd suggest getting a paralegal certificate rather than a non-ABA-approved law degree.  Firms do not often hire lawyers to work as paralegals.

Re: Online JD for legal writing?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 09:40:19 AM »
Vap is right. "Legal writing" is tied to the practice of law. There is no separate legal writing field.

Re: paralegal

If you want to be a paralegal, you might not need the paralegal certificate though. But if you are several years out of college (you said you had a grad degree) the paralegal certificate might be a good idea.


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Re: Online JD for legal writing?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 12:50:21 PM »
Legal reporters. Had a classmate who was a journalist and got his JD at night, now he covers all the legal news for the local newspaper. Never took the bar. I think Nina Tottenburg NPRís legal reporter has a JD too. I also know people who just draft briefs on contract for other lawyers (mostly transactional lawyers that donít usually have cases go to brief stage so they hire an expert to write it for them). Writing grants, I know a JD who does this for a living too. Writing laws for a legislator, helps to have a JD but is not required. But OP go to a an ABA school so you can pratice if that becomes a desire later on.
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Re: Online JD for legal writing?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 08:37:44 AM »
Matthies gives some good examples there. I wasn't even thinking about those.

I agree that you should definitely go to an ABA school if you are going to law school, even if you hope to go into something like what Matthies has described. The reason is, like it or not, you will be competing against graduates of ABA schools for any job that "prefers a JD".

In admissions, the LSAT is usually given significantly more weight than UGPA. Depending on how high you can score on the LSAT, you might even be able to get a full-ride or hefty scholarship from a tier 2/3/4 school. Be careful though, as these scholarships are usually tied to 1L performance, and the grading curves at these schools are designed so that many students lose their scholarships.