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Online Law School Courses Pass the Test

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 01, 2019 2:59 PM

It's safe to say online law school courses have passed the beta test.

According to legal educators, online courses can be better than live sessions. They say professors and students can have a better connection in the virtual environment than they would face-to-face.

After all, it's hard to hide in the back row of an online class.

Distance Learning

The American Bar Association says law schools may offer up to one-third of their credits online. Mitchell Hamline School of Law has had an online program since 2015.

Syracuse University College of Law, the University of Dayton School of Law, and Southwestern School of Law also opened online courses recently. Barry Currier, the ABA's managing director of accreditation and legal education, thinks many law schools are working on distance learning.

"It's about how well the course is envisioned and executed," he told the ABA Journal.

Ellen Murphy, assistant dean of instructional technologies and design at Wake Forest University School of Law, agrees. It depends on the teachers and the students.

Similar Skills

She said the skills for teaching online law school courses are similar to those skills needed to practice law. Both require concise writing, good outlines, and the ability to speak without using a script, she said.

The ABA revised its accreditation standards for distance learning last year. Until then, law schools were limited to offering 15 credits through online classes.

Under the new standards, an accredited law school could go entirely online. But that hasn't happened -- yet.

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