Are Online Law Degrees useful in real life?

The article concerns the following question – Are Online Law Degrees useful in real life? Unlike other online degrees, a law degree poses one very distinct problem in the US. Only one state out of the total fifty allows students of an online law degree program to sit for the bar exam, and only when certain criteria are met. The other forty-nine states require that the degree be earned from an ABA accredited institute. ABA is the American Bar Association and because each individual state does not accredit their own schools, they rely on the ABA.

Are Online Law Degrees useful in real life

The ABA has stated categorically in many interviews that it will not in the foreseeable future accredit institutes offering distance learning JD (Juris Doctor) degrees. Their own website addresses the issue by saying, “the ABA’s general policy under Standard 304(f) states that {a law school shall not grant credit for study by correspondence}”.

Whatever you call online degrees, in the eyes of the ABA, distance learning is the same as learning by correspondence courses. Further, even universities that are full-fledged accredited law schools cannot offer their complete course requirements electronically or otherwise if their students plan to write the Bar Exam.

For this reason alone, you can see why an online law degree would be useless. But like most things in life, there are valid exceptions to the rule. First, if you like California and are willing to relocate, or you already live there, you can apply to write their Bar Exam, as they are the only state that permits the practice.

Second, there have been several landmark cases where students of Concord Law School, the first and foremost online school offering law degrees, challenged the rules in their states. Their won their cases, were permitted to write the bar, and were subsequently accepted. But you must remember, that most people do not have the time and determination to go to court in order to exert their rights.

Third, and this is probably the most important reason for online law degree courses, is the fact that many people do not want to sit for the bar. Not everyone who studies law wants to be a lawyer. In fact, the profile of students that complete degrees at Concord Law School, a division of Kaplan, owned by the Washington Post Company, are older, business type students. People who are already established in a career and feel that a law degree will enhance their overall business knowledge. Ideally, they do not need to write the Bar Exam.

Moreover, students may be using the law degrees as stepping stones to something else. Again, the fact that they cannot sit for the bar is irrelevant in their circumstances. And because they want the degree only, online law degrees are appealing because they are a fraction of the cost of physical law schools, they are flexible, and in the case of Concord, the courses are accredited in other ways by other educational bodies. In this scenario, an online law degree is truly useful in real life.

In conclusion, whether an online law degree is useful depends on the purpose of the degree. For young students right out of college who aspire to be lawyers, the degree will have little value, but for an older established person with job responsibilities and children, who wants an understanding of the law to help with clients, online law degrees are the perfect avenue of education.

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