Online master’s of law degree represents a specialization, but some online schools are exploiting the traditional understanding of a master’s degree to offer many of their programs. They don’t give the traditional JD, which is key to aspiring bar passage.
They’re billing it a specialization become an expert in legal matter affecting:
- health car
- environmental law
- legal support
- human resources
- international affairs
- policy making
So if you have your profession and want to increase your (earnings) potential by doing a lot of the legal work yourself, the online master’s of law degree could be your best option.
To understand the quirky US system (where you get a law “doctorate” before a “master’s), you have to first understand how most European countries do it: they confer legal degrees as an undergraduate majors (four years of study). So when the U.S. (following Harvard’s model) established a 3-year legal study system after completing undergraduate studies, it was touted as heavier on academics (compared to Europe) and named a “doctorate.”
Once you got your law “doctorate” what more was there to study? You had to “master” a specific branch of law, and so you got a “master’s” (called an LLM).
So now the online master’s of law degree (or “master’s of legal studies,” as in the video) programs are turning on its head the existing structure as they seek to exploit the changing face of national education with the advent of internet. It could be argued they’re exploiting the confusion with the degree order in law studies to mislead students. Before you enroll, make sure you’re clear about your goals and intended outcomes with online law degree.
Here’s what you should know about the online master’s of law degree (or variation thereof):
- Tuition can be one-sixth the cost of normal law school
- It allows for great flexibility
- Completion can take four years
- You will have interaction with professors and students via email and chat rooms
- Most states won’t let you take the bar exam (until policies change)
- California runs counter current and does allow you to take the bar
- You can appeal with your state bar to be allowed to take the bar
- You probably won’t have to take the LSAT to get in to a master’s in law program