Online Juris Doctorate Degree options:
The official United States legal system began forming in the early 1800s as it slowly broke away from England's influence. New standards of law and the study of law began to emerge. As the legal system changed the educational structure developed in order to train future lawyers.
Brick and mortar schools offering degrees in law were sparsely scattered around the country, however, and often reserved for the few who could afford them. It also meant a student might have to move to a new location in order to pursue a law degree. Student's choices obtaining a Juris Doctor (JD) were extremely limited.
Today, however, the law student has more options than a would-be-lawyer of the past. The Internet has opened new opportunities with online law schools that were unheard of just a few decades ago. Obtaining a degree online is beginning to make it possible for many potential students to earn a law degree. There are a few things to consider when choosing a school though.
Most state bar associations, for instance, do not allow a full online education for a JD. They limit the number of units a student can take in a distance-learning or online format. The American Bar Association (ABA) does not recognize schools that offer a full online JD as ABA accredited. Currently the State Bar of California is the exception and it's bar exam is one of the most rigorous in the country. Because of California's foresight and robust online educational opportunities, it is likely other states will follow in the future.
Another thing to consider is the type of employers to seek out after graduation. It's been said that all law schools, whether ABA approved or not, use very similar curriculum. If future employers are mainly concerned with a student's thorough knowledge of the law, than there will likely be many more options choosing a proper education.
There are also online programs for the advanced law student seeking a Master of Laws (LLM). The ABA holds no regulation over an LLM. The international community also recognizes the LLM. Many students seek an LLM in order to gain expertise in particular areas of the law such as environmental, international, or tax law. The students seeking an LLM will first need to obtain a JD or Bachelor of Laws (LLB), sometimes referred to as a first law degree. Older professionals who are already established in a career often seek after the LLM. This makes an online education a convenient choice due to time and distance constraints of traditional educational options.
While there are still some hurdles pursuing a law degree online, education will continue to progress and change as the lifestyles of students demand new educational models that meet their changing needs. Any stigmas leftover from centuries of tradition will likely give way to these progressive educational models in the near future. Obtaining an online law degree is growing in demand. For many it will open the door to a career that at one time may not have been possible.
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