Distance law degrees gain impetus from an unlikely sector.
When Washington University announced in 2012 that it was opening an online master’s degree in law, it became the first top-tier traditional law school to move into the distance law degrees market and essentially threw its weight and credibility behind this growing option.
The New York Times on May 8, 2012 reported, “Legal education has been slow to move to online classes, and the new master’s program is perhaps the earliest partnership between a top-tier law school and a commercial enterprise.” Washington U. is partnering with 2tor, a private enterprise, to put the classes, intended for overseas lawyers, online.
Indeed, high state courts, which administer the bar exam, have been skeptical about the online option. So far, only California is completely open to online students taking its bar exam. If you wish to practice in another law in another state, the path is thorny. While the American Bar Association doesn’t accredit distance law degrees, the California bar has registered the following schools (it does not vouch for their quality)
Distance law degrees can be obtained from:
- Abraham Lincoln University School of Law
- American Heritage University School of Law
- California School of Law
- Concord School of Law
- Esquire College
- MD Kirk School of Law
- Newport University
- Northwestern California University
- Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy
- Southern California University for Professional Studies
- University of Honolulu
- West Coast School of Law, Inc.
- West Haven University
- William Howard Taft University
When you research the best option for you, make sure to ask
1. the bar passage rates of graduates per distance school
2. options to take the bar in your state
3. total costs (It should be one-fourth the cost of a traditional law school. The Washington U. option is the same as for live-in-classroom students).