Can I Study Law Online?
The legal profession and law schools have traditionally been conservative and slow to adapt to change. That is until the COVID-19 pandemic gave them no choice. Of course, some legal institutions such as the California Desert Trial Academy took a progressive approach to legal education on the day they opened their doors.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic necessitated some transition from the live classroom to distance learning, studying law online was becoming a reality at schools like the California Desert Trial Academy. In 2021, anyone with a computer can study online. While online law programs have existed for quite some time, the American Bar Association (ABA) has declined any of these programs’ full accreditation.
However, as mentioned, things are changing a little more quickly than usual. The current landscape of online law programs is now more dynamic than ever. The ABA has recently started allowing law students to earn more credits online. Law schools throughout the U.S. are trying to reshape and innovate their learning formats to create “hybrid” programs that allow students to earn their Juris Doctorate degrees primarily from home.
The quest to become a law student may even begin from home. Anyone wishing to prepare for and take the Law School Admittance Test (LSAT) simply needs a computer. Various online prep courses are available while the test is currently being administered remotely because of the pandemic.
Some other examples of ways to study the law online include:
*Online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in legal studies are also available online. These programs are typically designed to provide an overview of law for individuals working in other career fields.
*Online certificates are available to help anyone enter the legal field as a legal secretary or paralegal. The Center for Legal Studies teams with nearly 200 accredited U.S. colleges and universities to offer virtual career training for these positions. Additionally, it offers online LSAT courses.
*Law school graduates can prepare for the bar exam using online tools. Bar applicants can view live-streamed lectures and complete practice exams and essay questions online.
*Most states require attorneys to complete continuing legal education (CLE) coursework to maintain their professional licenses to practice law. They may do so through live events and conferences, self-study activities, webinars, or online classes. Students have many options to complete CLE requirements online, including state bar websites and other providers such as the California Desert Trial Academy. Yes, the CDTA offers CLE courses!
Many American law schools are actively seeking approval for variances from the ABA that allow their J.D. programs to combine live and self-paced online classes with in-person sessions on the school’s campus or at satellite locations. This trend toward hybrid programs will certainly continue beyond 2021. The availability of Master of Laws, or LL.M., degrees, also exists online.
The reason that there are no fully online programs is that the members of the ABA have maintained certain traditional beliefs centered on live instruction. Historically, the ABA has believed that the main component of earning a law degree is participating in classroom discussions and exercises based on the Socratic method. This allows professors to lead discussions that challenge students’ assumptions and understanding of legal concepts.
While these exercises have been a challenge to reproduce in an online forum in the past, they are less so because of the innovations offered by modern technology. When you add necessity to the equation because of the pandemic, many schools are creating state-of-the-art approaches to distance learning. The California Desert Trial Academy is one such example of a legal educator that truly is at the forefront of online learning in 2021.
The California Desert Trial Academy utilizes an extensive distance learning platform for students studying online. The CDTA focuses on providing a cutting-edge academic experience that takes advantage of many effective, easy-to-use online tools. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.