Distance law degree: the economics of law school

Distance law degree offers substantial savings for the potential law student. California leads the way in accepting students with distance law degrees to take its bar exam. A distance law degree may be for you if obligations with your family and lack of finances rule out regular on-campus studies.

Distance law degree

The distance law degree typically costs about $10,500 a year. By contrast, a median law school if you actually sit in the classroom is $43,000/ year. The New York Times in a Jan. 8, 2011 article called traditional law schools “cash cows” and described the woes of JD grads smothered by $250,000 worth of debt.

Distance law degree edging forward

To be sure, the distance law degree not an easy in. The American Bar Assn. recognizes no online school, and most states won’t let you take the bar (California is the notable exception!). Distance law learners, as could be expected, have lower passage rates. And top law firms take a dim view of anything but the traditional top universities.

Typically, a Juris Doctor (JD) degree can be completed in three years. Classes include:

  • Torts
  • Contracts
  • Criminal law
  • Civil law
  • The legal profession
  • The U.S. Constitution
  • Property law
  • Forensics and evidence
  • Legal ethics
  • Communications and writing
  • Advanced legal skills or externships
  • Specialty electives

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