Washington Online Law Degrees: reform coming

Washington Online Law Degrees may be nearer than ever to qualifying you to take the bar.

Like other states, Washington currently requires you to graduate from an ABA-accredited school (because of antiquated thinking at the American Bar Association, no online school is accredited).

But, unlike other states, Washington is now re-examining its law education process and will likely relax regulations. Online schools may soon get the green light (of all 50 states, pretty much only California allows online law school grads to take the bar without any hurdles).

“There’s a time for incremental change and a time for bold change. This is the time for bold change,” said Paula Littlewood, executive director of the Washington State Bar Association, as quoted in the New York Times Feb. 2013. “Our hope is to provide more access.”

Washington Online Law Degrees
Paul Littlewood

Washington is creating the limited-license legal technician, more than a paralegal but not a full-fledged lawyer, to serve the state’s huge demand for affordable and competent services for people of modest means.

An ABA task force convened in February 2013 to urge reform to legal education. They want to:

  • streamline it (suggestions: reduce it to two years from three; let college juniors start law school)
  • make it less theoretical and more practice-oriented
  • cuts costs and produce more lawyers to serve legal needs of many Americans who find lawyer’s fees out of reach

Previous stabs at reform have met resistance from tenured professors and their ABA cronies who have jealously guarded their turf: among university faculty, law professors teach the least and enjoy the highest salaries.

But this time for Washington Online Law Degrees, change is probable because:

  • Applications to brick and mortar law schools are at a 30-year low, have free-fallen 38% from 2010.
  • At the same time, traditional schools’ tuitions for two decades have raced uncontrollably ahead of inflation, leaving students with debt upwards of $100,000.
  • Meanwhile, a dour economy and outsourcing over the internet has reduced the demand for lawyers.

Until reform is formally implemented, Washington allows to take the bar:

  1. graduates of ABA approved law schools
  2. persons who have completed the rule 6 law clerk program
  3. lawyers licensed in U.S. jurisdiction (this means if you pass the bar in California, you can take it in Washington)
  4. lawyers licensed in foreign jurisdictions.

For more information, check out Washington State’s Bar Association webpage http://www.wsba.org