The article concerns the following question – Is it realistic becoming a lawyer through online education? Online courses that offer law degrees are not uncommon. Numerous online institutions offer courses, via electronic media, that cover all the theory associated with a law degree. These courses are often just as good as their physically attended counterparts but a number of difficulties arise from such a venture.
Most states, of the U.S., will not allow such online graduates to practice law, in their respective jurisdictions, due to the fact that no online law schools are accredited by the American Bar Association. The lone exception to this rule is California, which has allowances made for lawyers who have completed their study online. Such lawyers can, via certain steps to be detailed below, take the California Bar, and practice in that state.
Firstly, you need to complete you legal studies, online. You must do this with an institution that has registered with the Committee, in California. Institutions must meet certain standards, and criteria, in order to do this, which helps to filter out the scams. Such registration is not equivalent to accreditation, however, and still requires research, on the part of the student, to ensure that the legal education offered there is satisfactory. The equivalent of 864 hours of study, per year, must be completed with such an online school, once a decision is made.
Next, you are required to register as a law student. This can be done online, and is necessary before you may be allowed to take any legal examinations. The first of such examinations is the First Year Law Student’s Examination, a four hour exam, which evaluates your knowledge of basic legal concepts (such as simple contracts) – encompassing the first-year law school syllabus.
Separate from your legal study, you will be subject to a moral character evaluation. This will involve background checks (for criminal records, etc.), dialogue with your previous employers, and academic institutions. Once you have received a positive evaluation, you can proceed with your, more advanced, examinations.
The penultimate examination, that you need to pass, is the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination. This examination lasts two hours, and five minutes, and is comprised of sixty multiple-choice questions.
After successful completion of all these requirements, you are eligible to take the California Bar Examination, at last – your last step to really becoming a lawyer. All your studies, up to this point, may be completed online, but you will, of course, need to take your final examination in person. This exam is spread out over three days and will require theory, and practical, exercises, in order to pass. It is offered twice a year and, once you have passed this final milestone, you are legally able to practice law in California.
As shown here, it is possible to complete your legal studies through online education. Unfortunately, you will be confined to the only state that allows this, California, for a few years until you have enough legal experience for other states to allow you to take their Bar Examinations, like all up-and-coming San Francisco lawyers. All the same, opportunities for practicing law in California are no dimmer than anywhere else making an online law degree a realistic possibility, though one that must be extensively researched, and planned carefully.