So you're looking at getting an online law degree to see if they might be for you instead of "normal" law school.
By all means do your own research on online law degrees and check them out yourself.
If it interests you, I consider the best online law schools elsewhere.
What I provide below are a mix of research of existing (trying to save you some time) but more importantly personal insights of my own and students I have tutored who were attending online law schools (specifically Concord Law School and Abraham Lincoln Law School). I've also talked at length with a friend who attended one.
There is very little candid and publicly available information on online law schools generally. For instance, no one will tell you that there is no ABA accredited online law degree that will let you take the bar exam; there are only California registered programs!
I hope to rectify the lack of good information on online legal programs with this site.
The answer to this question depends largely on why you want to go to law school.
My short conclusion, based on my own independent research and interactions with actual online law students is that short answer is that online law degrees are not for most people at the moment. I strongly suspect this could change over time, even over the next couple of years.
At the moment I think that online law schools are for a very particular kind of person, one who is:
Again, at the momentI think that online law schools are specifically not for people who:
Finally, at the momentI think that an online law degree may be suitable for people who:
Law schools online differ from their brick-and-mortar counterparts in many ways, some of which are obvious from research you can do on the internet and some of which are not at all obvious.
First, most of the law schools online are for-profit institutions not attached to traditional research universities.
Second, online law schools kick out plenty of students because they don't keep up. I have had one friend and one tutoring student get kicked out of an online law school because they fell behind too far on their weekly assignments.
These law schools do announce on their websites that you cannot continue the third or fourth year of the program if you do not pass what is known as the California baby bar, a preliminary bar examination covering first-year subjects (not the full, real, grueling three-day exam California gives).
But most schools don't tell you that you can be kicked out, with no chance to finish your online law degree or reclaim the tuition you've already sunk into the program, just for not keeping up with the weekly assignments. (Of course, most schools don't tell you that they do not offer an ABA accredited online law degree, and that no one does.
This is a huge difference from brick-and-mortar law schools, which usually base your grade solely on your final exam. No one knows if you have done the required reading or not, and you don't get quizzes or other interim tests.
Actually, although my friend and student were shell-shocked when they were kicked out of their online law degree programs, I think that this policy is not entirely a bad thing, even if it is harsh and traumatizing.
In a "normal" law school you can very often get terrible grades or clearly be someone not suited for the legal profession, yet you will not be kicked out because the law school is making so much money off of you. Yet you are better off getting kicked out, especially if you are not at a top law school, because if you are only a mediocre student, you face the very real prospect of graduating with $200,000 in debt but no means to pay it off.
Of course, the paradox is that online law schools are almost all for-profit, but they kick people out perhaps contrary to their apparent economic interests because quality control is a huge issue for schools offering an online law degree at this moment. Perhaps such strictness is in their long-term economic self interest.
Here are my personal recommendations for products and services that I have reviewed that can improve your results in law school. This list is short because I include only my top picks.
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