FIRST Fully Online (ABA Accredited) Law Degree

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sideman, May 5, 2022.

  1. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    As a poet of a generation or two ago once said, "The times, they are a changein". And certainly this is a change. One of the good things to come out of this pandemic, is that colleges have had to pivot or get left behind. There are other law schools that have gone online but still require some on-campus attendance (i.e. University of Dayton). According to St. Mary's University, this is fully online, ABA accredited (this part is the "big" news), and the first of it's kind. They plan to start out with a cohort of 25 students starting this fall.
    Maniac Craniac, chrisjm18 and Dustin like this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    The only question can they practice law. Earning an ABA-accredited online J.D. is not an issue, the only issue is if the graduate can sit for the state bar examination. Surprising to me that Liberty University has not joined the hybrid or fully online J.D program.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    How can this be a problem? AS LONG AS THE SCHOOL IS ABA APPROVED, the Bar exam of any State can be written. So saith "The BOOK."

    "All U.S. states accept graduation from an ABA-approved law school as meeting that state's education requirement for eligibility to sit for the bar examination. Graduates that pass their state's bar exam are then given a license to practice law in that state."

    Nowhere does it state the school has to be B and M. This just happens to be the FIRST ABA SCHOOL that ... entirely isn't.

    Hmmm - maybe this is a good LSAT question. :)
  4. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Trouble is, that isn't an exhaustive statement of all 50 state, etc. bar requirements. This 2019 Inside Higher Ed article explains how New York said no to hybrid JD graduates. The FAQ for Syracuse University's hybrid JD currently states that its graduates seeking admission in New York have to petition for a waiver. This waiver process has apparently been successful for graduates but can't be guaranteed into the future.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    ...Lawyers! :(
  6. Flelmo

    Flelmo New Member

    You know the movie quote, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."? "A lawyer always deals in maybes."
    Dustin likes this.
  7. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I've seen enough episodes of The Practice to know how to give a good cross examination.

    Maniac, Esq.: Isn't it POSSIBLE that someone drugged my client, put the gun in my client's hand, fired, fled the scene unnoticed, and left my client to wake up just in time for the police to arrive and see him standing there with the gun pointed at the victim?'

    Expert Witness: That's absur...

    Maniac, Esq.: YES OR NO?!

    Expert Witness: Possible, yes, but extrem...

    Maniac, Esq.: No further questions!
    LearningAddict and Dustin like this.
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Well, that was fast. Didn't the ABA have a 12-credit limit on online learning just awhile ago?

    I guess someone realized that law schools are dying.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  9. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Your Honor, I object. Mr. Craniac is badgering the witless!
    Trek and Maniac Craniac like this.
  11. SnafuRacer

    SnafuRacer Active Member

    That was my thought. I remember reading it’s not the schools going against virtual education but the ABA requirement of 12-15 credits only taken online.
    Good that they are adapting. Hopefully the tuition will not skyrocket.
    Next is hopefully seeing them nix the stupid LSAT requirement (along with GMAT and GRE for the B and grad schools)
  12. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Do you mean you want the ABA to drop the requirement to take the LSAT to get admitted? If so, how come?
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Indeed, the New York Bar Examiners have, for years, been quite proud of the fact that their standards include ABA requirements but that they have additional requirements as well. The ban on online learning is one. The other big one is that New York limits the time to completion for a degree. As I mentioned here before this meant that a program that Brooklyn Law offered (it doesn't appear to be a thing anymore) at the time my mother was going back for her JD was fully ABA accredited but did NOT qualify you to sit for the NY Bar. The reason is that it was a weekend program and, even if you did everything perfectly, it took "too long" for New York's taste. The result was that you could go to law school in New York at an undeniably accredited law school and earn the same JD as as others from the same school but unlike them not be eligible to be a lawyer in New York. You could take it across the river to NJ without an issue. But you couldn't get admitted to NY.

    There are quirks.

    But I think that given ALL NY law schools went online during the pandemic it likely poked massive holes in the "online learning is incompatible with the study of professional law" argument. I suspect that because of that, and probably just societal progress, there is probably just a lot less political appetite to fight this fight.

    New York avoids many lawsuits just by granting the waivers for now. And if things went the way of MA, they could easily lose a challenge to the no online learning rule. Worse for the Bar Examiners, a blow to that one rule could mean a blow to their various other rules for the sake of rules.

    And just a quick note on the LSAT...

    The LSAT is dumb. Everything I have read on the topic has shown that it is just not that reliable of an indicator of success. It's a weird test that a perfectly capable legal mind could bomb and someone who would fail horribly if ever presented the study of law could ace if they really like logic games.

    Today we have so many law students applying for admission with graduate coursework, or even graduate degrees, that show they are capable of serious academic pursuit much more than a test. But I'm also very anti-standardized testing in general. Take the LSAT, the GMAT and the SAT and line them all up against the wall, IMHO.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Most admissions tests are. They're rooted in aptitude testing during the run-up to WW1. They're based on an outdated concept of "aptitude." (The "A" in "SAT" used to stand for aptitude. They finally dropped it when they admitted there really is no such thing. It became "Achievement" for awhile, but now it doesn't stand for anything. The SAT is just the "SAT." The letters stand for nothing.)

    Those Army tests were the direct descendants of the SAT, which went on to begat other admissions tests authored and offered by the Educational Testing Service. Those Army tests were incredibly biased racially. That bias has been difficult to remove since. (Many argue it has not. That's why we have the study of CRT.)

    The SAT has one purpose: to predict the success of an admitted student during his/her freshman year. That's it. Any other use of SAT scores is not supported scientifically. It correlates, but not strongly, to that outcome. And at adds only about .1 of correlation to the overall admissions package's predictability. You know what correlates better? High school grades.

    Now, I haven't done similar research on other admissions tests, but I suspect they have similar problems. (I would hope the LSAT would be more predictive because it applies to one academic discipline: the law. But I don't really know.)

    As they say, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But it is a better predictor than anything else.
    Neuhaus likes this.
  15. SnafuRacer

    SnafuRacer Active Member

    Dustin, others have beat me to the punch for the answer.
    Years ago, I was a paralegal in an Army Reserves unit in SoCal. My commander was an ADA. A couple of the higher ups in the brigade were judges around the state, to include one as a Federal Judge. Heck, the brigade commander was a partner at an LA firm. All advised me and were pushing for me to go to law school at USD or UCLA. But just being around those lawyers for about 18 months of my Reserves career cured me of that desire. When I finished my planned academic career in the next 6-7 years, I will sit down to think about maybe getting a JD from St Mary’s before calling it quits. Not to practice law in a courtroom, but maybe weave it in my career in something like a Cyber Law or Privacy or some such. We’ll see.
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  16. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    ABA reports law school enrollment for 2020 remains stable (

    The report shows a 29% decline after the "Great Recession" with the close of 7 ABA-accredited law schools but stable enrollments in 2020. My suspicions are that the LSAT is not recommended by the ABA anymore so struggling schools can attract more applicants because of an overall drop in enrollments.
    Last edited: May 11, 2022
  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    And usually the assumption is that those applicants will be of worse quality than those who do take the LSAT, but I don't know if there's any support to that idea. I know lots of smart people (many on this board) who will not apply to certain graduate programs because they don't want to take the GRE for example.
  18. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    I took the LSAT because it was my only choice but I have avoided the GRE/GMAT because I have other options. I received a 159 on the LSAT without studying and on very short notice to meet an application window. So far I have not applied to or attended law school and my test has expired so when it came time to take the LSAT again I couldn't make myself do it. I am not sure if I would do as well on a GRE/GMAT test.
    JoshD and Dustin like this.
  19. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    The past couple of years struggling through Covid has put a lot of standardized testing on hold. Many professional programs have waived standardized graduate exams during the pandemic. To assume the applicant that hasn’t taken an exam is of “worse quality” as a candidate for graduate school, is absurd. What will be interesting to see, is if many schools realize the standardized graduate exam is not worth the hassle after two to three years of waiving the need to take it.
  20. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    True. Most students that: (1) Can't handle the rigors of law school or (2) Don't want to deal with the constant study and absorption of law over a 3 year period (or 4 for online), will exit after the first year. The glamour and glitz of law school fades quickly (i.e. what Hollywood portrays) and the routine and grind eventually get to them. So maybe the LSAT is a good determinant as to whether the prospective student has the "right stuff" or not? But no matter. There are still a lot of dropouts of law school, during and after, the first year. And if we as a society think that there are too many lawyers in America, but still believe that a lot of areas and people are underserved, then perhaps we can have the student that wants to avoid any type of entrance test into law school, and/or needs tuition assistance, do a two year service, post graduation and passing the bar, in one of those communities that need legal assistance but don't have the financial resources. Similar to what teachers do by working in an underserved big city school. But of course, in law, most times it's not the big cities that are underserved (excepting the poor and a lack of pro bono assistance), but small communities where setting up a practice is not economically feasible and usually minorities and/or the poor, have no access to counsel. Just a thought.

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