Oklahoma online law degrees, inching forward

Oklahoma online law degrees are now available. The latest university to jump into the market is the University Oklahoma School of Law which is offering a master’s of legal studies focusing  indigenous people’s law. Classes start fall of 2013.

Oklahoma online law degrees

The degree will not lead you to the bar or becoming a practicing attorney but is for experts who work with indigenous people and want an out-of-the-ordinary comprehension of the complex interrelation of federal and state law with tribes. The two-year program will include 30 hours of coursework online so that you can learn in the comfort of your own home, at the hour of your convenience. Virginia St. John signed up because her company, Upper Mohawk, works with tribes, American-Indian-owned companies and the U.S. Dept. of Interior.

Oklahoma online law degrees against the Old Guard

So far, Oklahoma won’t let you take the bar if you attend a non ABA-accredited school. And since the old guard at the American Bar Assn. has resisted the wholly online option (SO FAR), you’d have to take the bar exam in California (which welcomes non-ABA-accredited schools to its bar) and practice in California or explore options of transferring to Oklahoma .

Inch by inch, Oklahoma online law degrees are moving towards greater acceptance in the law education community and one day will be an easy means to becoming a practicing courtroom attorney.

If because of flexibility and cost you decide on the Oklahoma online law degrees option to become a lawyer, then make sure you find out:

  • Total costs (should be one-third or less the cost of traditional law schools)
  • Length of program
  • Name of the degree (typically you need a JD to take the bar, but many other degrees are offered)
  • Options for taking the bar or transferring to Oklahoma with an out-of-state bar admittance
  • Credentials of the staff teaching
  • Type of classes (synchronous at an established hour, asynchronous recorded and viewed at your convenience with pausing and replaying options).
  • Interaction with professors and students via email, chat and videoconference.

The video from the 2004 CALI Conference for Law School Computing Audience talks about doing legal research on the web. Increasingly, research, learning and teaching transpires on the internet, outmoding the pure classroom model of law education.

Distance education law degree: Is it as good as traditional law schools?

Distance education law degree under a microscope has its pros and cons.

Is a distance education law degree as good as one from a traditional law school? In this video, experts weigh in on the pros and cons of distance education (not just law degree).

Law education has evolved since its beginnings in Colonial America. Is distance education just part of the growth and change naturally occurring in education. A comparison with how law education has differed abroad could be illustrative.

Distance Education Law Degree

In England and most of the rest of Europe, a career in law starts in undergraduate studies, unlike the United States which basically christened the Harvard post graduate model for national implementation. But with the crisis of a glut of grads and a diminished job market, the ABA is re-examining its accreditation process which currently excludes online law schools. Expect them to relax policies in the near future.

As you explore the distance education law degree option, make sure to research your school’s:

  • first attempt bar passage rate
  • total costs of coursing the program
  • how many years will it take?
  • how many hours of study weekly?
  • rates of employment in legal careers 9 months after graduation for previous students
  • access to professors and other students through emails and chat
  • credentials of professors

Virtually every law school utilizes the same books and curriculum, so what makes a difference is how hard a student works towards learning the law,” said Chuck Katz, an online law degree grad.

Legal studies online graduates meet success

Legal studies online graduate, Chris Kouboulakis, didn’t face skepticism about his credentials when he interviewed for his job in the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office.

I thought they would be negative,” the former environmental engineer said to the Los Angeles Times, “but they’ve been great.”

Like many of the other graduates, Kouboulakis, a stay-at-home dad, said internet was his only option for law school.

Legal studies online work for people who can’t:

  • afford a traditional law school
  • pull up stakes and move to a a traditional law school
  • quit their job to study during typical law school hours
  • abandon parental duties but want to study at night

In the video, practicing family attorney Larry David discusses how his education at Concord Law School equaled–and exceeded–traditional law schools.

To be sure, legal studies online presents extra difficulties:

  • Many states don’t allow legal studies online students to take the bar, so you either have to pass California’s bar first and then try in your local state or you take the online classes only to compliment your current career.
  • Traditional law firms look first at students who attend brick and mortar schools.

Why, if other areas of study have embraced the online option, has law education been so resistant? Part of the answer lies in simply protecting turf. The American Bar Association, which accredits schools, has a whole host of rules that favor, not the law student, but the law professor (maximum hourly teaching limits, high wages and perks for professors, etc.). In theory, these rules assure quality. In reality, they are excessive and stifle competition. They also make it impossible for law schools to charge anything but the highest tuition.

Online legal studies: a way for those who otherwise can’t

Online legal studies are the answer for your dream that, up until now, have been frustrated by lack of time, lack of finances, lack of whatever. You can now get your law degree from a number of excellent law schools that are entirely online. To be sure, this option is not without its difficulties. State high courts are currently re-visiting their policies and are expected to lift the ban on online students taking the bar. Do the research in your state by contacting the bar directly (California allows online students to take the bar.)

It was just impossible to go to school at night and take care of the kids,” said a 46-year-old mother of two, who used her online law degree in the entertainment industry.

Consider online legal studies:

  • Enrollment in online legal studies programs have exploded
  • Law schools online have steadily increased
  • Traditional law schools in 2013 are suffering declining enrollments
  • Online is quality, student-oriented education

Online Legal Studies

The American Bar Association, however, has taken a dim view of 100% online legal studies, allowing for traditional schools to give no more than 12 units online. The ABA has many similar rules for accreditation, which is needed in 49 states in order to take the bar. The ABA rules make law education excessively expensive, which is why law schools have raised their prices to beyond imagination. Nowadays, such rules make no sense. The job market is depressed, and with $100,000+ student loan debt from accredited law schools, students are understandably cutting back on applications to brick and mortar law schools.

Online Law School Class: What to expect

Online law school class offers greater flexibility and many advantages over the traditional school. This highly technical video shows the technological challenges for law schools to offer online classes. Most traditional law schools offer some online classes, but under current ABA regulations the number of hours is limited. Those regulations appear on the brink of being struck down. In California, however, you can take all your classes online and still sit at the bar. Prospective students are encouraged to review the prospectus or curriculum provided by most online law school class programs.

When you look at the options, remember to research:

  1. affordability – expect it to be one-third or less the cost of a brick and mortar law school
  2. convenience – most host asynchronous classes (that means, you can watch it whenever, pause it, rewind it, etc.)
  3. quality – ask about bar passage rate of students, as well as job placement rates in legal careers 9 months after graduation
  4. support – video conferencing, email and chat rooms are the means of interaction with students and professors

Check out these related topics:

  • Best buys in online bachelors degrees in justice, law and legal studies
  • Best buys in online masters degrees in justice, law and legal studies
  • Best jobs for paralegals in government, small law firms
  • Best entry-level law enforcement jobs for criminal justice graduates
  • Become a federal air marshal with an online law degree
  • Which are the best online law school for you?

Online Law School Class

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