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Author Topic: ABA online law schools  (Read 1144 times)

Gunner.

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ABA online law schools
« on: May 19, 2014, 05:51:54 PM »
Not sure if you have this link already

http://web.wmitchell.edu/admissions/hybrid-program/

William Mitchell is proud to be the first ABA-accredited law school in the country to offer a part-time, on-campus/online J.D. program—known as the hybrid program.

The first-of-its-kind program starts in January 2015 and features two interrelated elements: intensive in-person experiential learning and online coursework that allows students to study the law from anywhere in the world

DeltaBravoKS

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 10:43:39 PM »
Wow, is this some type of A.B.A. authorized experiment?  The first few schools to get in on this type of program stand to make a lot of money with an influx of students who have been waiting for something like this.  If it truly is the beginning trial of something to come, there will be some money to be made for the next several years.

Gunner.

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 10:51:46 PM »
Wow, is this some type of A.B.A. authorized experiment?  The first few schools to get in on this type of program stand to make a lot of money with an influx of students who have been waiting for something like this.  If it truly is the beginning trial of something to come, there will be some money to be made for the next several years.

It will be interesting to see how it goes. I am shocked that Cooley wasn't the first one to do it to be honest.

DeltaBravoKS

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 07:21:07 AM »
It makes me wonder how this came about.  Did WM beg, plead, and bribe the ABA to allow this or has the ABA been considering a trial and picked WM as the best candidate to control...er, I mean experiment with?

Gunner.

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 12:43:38 PM »
It makes me wonder how this came about.  Did WM beg, plead, and bribe the ABA to allow this or has the ABA been considering a trial and picked WM as the best candidate to control...er, I mean experiment with?

The lean has been going that way for awhile. Awhile back the ABA approved a full semester worth of "distance education" courses towards your degree. Most of those are on campus with a class watching a speaker through a two way TV screen, but not much different than at home in a chatroom.

Also, there has been TWEN, CaliLessons, school blackboards, portals, emailing in assignments
plus (for even longer) there has been "independent study" courses where a prof has only lose control over your studies, classes with take home finals, etc.

Plus undergrads have lots of online options that students are used to, Barprep and LLMS are online now (more common online than on campus in many cases), other professions have online options for even PharmD(as scary as that may be) CA has been doing it for years, historically "reading for the law" is pretty common, plus this isn't "really" an "online" course since it still requires at least some on campus time. It just takes the percentages and leans a bit more towards online vs on campus than the "traditional" courses which are largely online nowdays anyways with the lean just not as severe.

It will be interesting to see how their bar pass rates compare to on campus at the same university in a few years. Online grads tend to do worse than non online, as do part time students vs full time students, but I suspect both of those is largely due to them being nontrade students. If they had a pure online part time program but only offered it to people with a 170 LSAT and 3.5 undergrad GPA, I suspect the percentages would lean in the other direction.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 06:36:15 PM »
What has me confused is that, as far as I know, the ABA still only allows 1/3 of the units to be counted towards the JD as DL. The rest must be in a traditional classroom.

I doubt if an established school like WM would launch a program that isn't ABA approved, but at the same time I'm not aware of any significant changes to the ABA's policy.

This could be the test case for online ABA education. If the bar pass rates are comparable to traditional programs, then who knows? The ABA currently requires that a law school's first time bar pass rate be within 15% of the statewide average. I was told that this may soon change to 10%. That means that the online program at WM will have to show pretty high bar pass rates in order to avoid bringing down the school's overall average.

I wonder if WM is being especially selective in who they admit in order to maximize pass rates and avoid attrition. Interesting. 

Maintain FL 350

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 08:22:35 PM »
OK, here's the answer.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/william_mitchell_online-hybrid_law_school_program/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_email

WM was approved for a variance from ABA standards. The thing I still find confusing is that the ABA article says the variance allows for 50/50 classroom and distance learning. Looking at the WM schedule, however, it looks like only one week per semester is in class. Maybe that week accounts for a higher number of credit hours?

Whether this means anything for schools like Concord remains to be seen. It looks like the ABA was willing to take the proposal from WM seriously because they were already an established school with a good track record.

It looks like this program would still be more or less limited to people in the immediate geographic region, unless they're willing to fly to MSP at the beginning and end of each semester.

I wonder how exams work? How do you know who's actually taking the exam?

Gunner.

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 10:01:22 PM »
Concord (to my knowledge) is the ONLY Regionally accredited one (and thus can get federal student aid/loans)
If they could get ABA approval, they'd hop on it. (if)

But my guess if that if it ever goes full online it will be only for places already established as ABA on campus who then also offer online

Maintain FL 350

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 01:41:18 AM »
I agree.

Concord has greater resources than any other online law school, regional accreditation, and has been lobbying for a shot at accreditation. They are the only ones who have any realistic chance at pulling it off.

The problem they face is bar pass rates. They need to get within 15% of the CA statewide ABA average. With a current pass rate of only 19%, they've got their work cut out. They need to get up to about 60% before they can apply for provisional accreditation (substantial compliance), and present a plan to bring the school into full compliance within 3-5 years.

This requires either attracting better applicants or being more selective in admissions (or both!). Better applicants, however, will almost always choose an ABA school. And if they get too selective, they don't make money.

It's a Catch-22.

Established schools that already have successful track records might start offering these hybrid programs, but I still we're a long way from a purely online school getting ABA approval. I just don't see the ABA approving a school with a 19% pass rate.



 

Gunner.

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Re: ABA online law schools
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 02:48:08 PM »
I agree. I just mean to say 'if' one is that it would be them

It most likely will remain only as an option for established ABA schools to use as an extra option