Georgia law schools online are the overlooked solution to the current law education crisis. The job market has imploded while tuition has exploded, leaving students brilliant but unable to pay over $100,000 loan debt. The Georgia law schools online, however, offer as low as one-sixth the regular tuition.
The problem to this easy fix is that state’s high court, which in 1987 required ABA accreditation to be able to take the bar. This was part of a nationwide movement during law’s bubble. The American Bar Association has so many capricious requirements that it is impossible to run a law school on the low end of the market.
John Marshall Law School Atlanta[/caption]
Consider John Marshall Law School, unaccredited since 1933 and serving working class students. The Atlanta-based school had no other option but to sell to a private concern, which re-oriented the school and jacked up tuition to placate the ABA. It finally won accreditation in 2009 but not without sacrificing its mission of serving the lower income masses.
Is that good for the country? The ABA estimates that 80% of the nation’s poor are unserved by lawyers. Naturally, no one CAN serve them because lawyers need to charge $250 an hour to pay off his debt and make a decent living. Current reform being considered are not enough (downsizing student populations, cutting law school to two years). The ABA needs to get out of accreditation business entirely because it doesn’t benefit students or law clients; it benefits law professors by fattening their wallets.
America used to be free. The bar determined who could act as a lawyer. Pass the test, hang your shingle. But in Georgia like most states, you’re not even allowed to take the test if you don’t graduate from an ABA-accredited school. Have we forgotten that Abraham Lincoln studied at home by candlelight to become a lawyer? Today’s requirements would bar our most loved president.
Options for Georgia law schools online:
- Take the California bar because that forward-looking state allows all comers.
- Practice five years in California and then request “by motion” to take Georgia’s bar
- Sue for special permission to take Georgia’s bar (Ross Mitchell did this successfully in Massachusetts)
- Write your bar expressing your outrage at the monopoly they enforce for law schools
In this Jan. 25 Bloomberg Law video, a New York University law professor proposes eliminating the third year of law schools to cut down student debt. Tuition has doubled since 2000.
Where are the proposals to cut down on excessive ABA requirements which drive tuition up?
Online law program has a bright a future. Among the about 200 traditional law schools nationwide, only four this year have seen an increase in admission applications. The rest are coming up short. In 2004, there were 100,000 applications, this year only 54,000 are projected, according to the Law School Admissions Council, as cited in a New York Times article Jan. 30, 2013.
“We are going through a revolution in law with a time bomb on our admissions books,” William D. Henderson, a professor of law at Indiana University, told the Times. Legal education has been among the slowest to adapt to the technological revolution, treating its classroom cash cows as holy cows. From 2001 to the present, traditional law schools have nearly doubled their tuition.
Online law program bursting on scene
Erupting on the scene has the been the online law program. “Despite the majority of professors believing online classes have resulted in inferior education, 40 percent of full-time professors reported that online courses have the potential to match in-class instruction for learning outcomes,” says Kevin O’Keefe on his blog Real Lawyers Have Blogs.
The online law program is substantially cheaper and convenient. California accepts online law program students outright into its bar exam, and other states are currently re-examining their own policies to reflect the new realities of the legal profession. A law degree can greatly enhance your career opportunities. Research options today.
Read Kevin O’Keefe’s fascinating takes on the future of law school:
Consider these specialties in law:
- Elder law
- Environmental law
- Intellectual property law
- International law
- Marine law
- Probate law
Online law programs are poised to boom with the impending overhaul to law education that includes the creation of licensing technicians, downsizing course load to two instead of three years, and less theory and more practice.
Don’t think ABA and tenured law professors — which have taken a dim view of online programs up until now — are surrendering their stranglehold on law education easily. No, they are more resistant to the winds of change than an evolved, hardened virus is resistant to penicillin. Online law programs still have a ways to go to get fully embraced.
What is bringing this upheaval is national malaise in the traditional law school: this year there are 38% fewer applicants, the lowest in 30 years. Apparently, prospective students are wising up to the one-two knockout punch of overwhelming student debt and a dimmer-than-ever job upon graduation, according to a New York Times article on Feb. 10, 2013..
There is almost universal agreement that the current system is broken,” said Thomas W. Lyons III, a Rhode Island lawyer and a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. He was quoted in The Times.
Online law programs edging forward
The State of Washington is taking the lead, setting up programs to graduate limited-license legal technicians — more than a paralegal and not quite a full-fledged attorney. Such middle-of-the-road professionals are exactly what the online law programs can produce.
“The house is on fire,” said task force member Michael P. Downey of St. Louis, quoted in The Times. “We don’t want a report that sits on a shelf.”
If the low tuition and flexible classes offered by online law programs work for you, today is your day to research this option.
Read the New York Times article yourself here:
Questions to ask your prospective online law program:
- How much live interaction with teacher and fellow students will I have?
- What is the bar passage rate? Will my state allow me to take the bar without fighting for a special permission?
- What is the employment rate in law careers of graduates from this program 9 months after graduation?
- How much will it cost to complete and graduate from the entire program?
- How long will it take?
Law degree online stands to grow substantially this year. The New York Times reported on Jan. 30, 2013 that spiraling law school costs coupled with slumping job prospects led to a 20% fall in applications to the traditional sit-in-class institution. At $45,000/ year average, prospective students are choosing business, medicine and other careers. With good reason, when they get out of the traditional law school, they are crushed by $150,000 debt — and the six-figure law career they sought remains elusive.
You do the math. At around $10,500 a year, the law degree online is a positive alternative.
We are going through a revolution in law with a time bomb on our admissions books,” said William D. Henderson, a professor of law at Indiana University, quoted by the Times. “Thirty years ago if you were looking to get on the escalator to upward mobility, you went to business or law school. Today, the law school escalator is broken.”
Law degree online capitalizes on traditional schools’ demise
With the lowest enrollment since 1977 in traditional law school, cutbacks, layoffs, staff buyouts are planned for the fall, the Times reported. With clouds gathering over such schools, bar association leaders are looking at alternatives. To reduce student debt, New York is examining the possibility of taking the bar in two years instead of three. Expect bar association officials re-evaluate the online option.
As pundits foresee a revolution in the world of law, the online law degree stands to come out a winner. You decide whether this option is the wave of the future. Do the economics of the law degree online outweigh the naysaying of an industry steeped in tradition?
Fun facts about law degree online:
- 60 college credits and 864 hours per year of correspondence law classes qualify you to take bar exam in California
- In 2008, an average salaried lawyer in America earned $110,590 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- To become a lawyer in America, you must earn a Juris Doctor. But in many other countries you need only a Bachelor of Laws
- Before law school, common undergraduate degrees are philosophy, English and history.
- You must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA through law school.
* Read more: For an in-depth critique of the current law school panorama, read “Failing Law Schools,” by Brian Tamanaha. He catalogues in detail how law schools fudge their data and over-charge tuition in pursuit of high ranking at the expense of the population demographics they serve or could serve.