FIRST Fully Online (ABA Accredited) Law Degree

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

  1. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Times are a'changin' because technology has improved so much. I'm conducting bench trials and other hearings on Google Meets and also continuing my twice-weekly piano lessions on FaceTime. These platforms work much better than I would have thought possible pre-Covid.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The schools are the consumers of the test results, yet it is the applicant who pays. Right that wrong; require the consumer to pay for what is consumed, and the exams would disappear overnight.
  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Total tuition for three years at St. Mary's Law is $123,000. This for an unranked (formerly fourth tier) institution. Folks, I'd look long and very very hard before paying full price at this institution.
    Dustin likes this.
  4. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Yikes. And they spent so much time talking about helping underrepresented groups that traditionally struggle with much higher debt loads. This program sounds like it fits right in, in all the wrong ways.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I think it is cheaper to get an LLB from the University of London, then an LLM from the University of Southern California. At least cheaper and might have the same change to admit to the state bar.
  6. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well...allow me to share yet again my warning regarding American students trying to do a London LL.B. Unless you have access to one of the major law libraries in the country, by which I mean daily access, you will swiftly discover that you aren't able to do the readings beyond the provided text and that's not enough.

    English law isn't American law. English sources aren't American sources. Caselaw and statutes are available on line but much background reading absolutely is not.

    American law students are better served seeking an American degree.
  7. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    I am not a lawyer, but I know that English and American law are different enough that it's almost akin to a surgeon thinking they can do dentistry simply because teeth are like bones. They're quite different.
    sideman likes this.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There was a thread on this program several months ago. I'm from San Antonio, and locals are astutely aware that this is one of the worst law schools in the country. They're not unranked, though. They're just ranked very low. About a decade or so ago, they were in the news for their low bar passage rates putting their ABA accreditation at risk.

    As for getting an LLB from the UK, many states require you to get an LLM from an ABA-accredited school if you have a foreign law degree. So, you'll still have to get the LLM. I believe some states won't accept foreign law degrees from countries that don't have a common law system, or they'll have additional requirements for these applicants. At least the UK has a common law system, so there's that.
  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    However poorly ranked this school might be, I should be fair and point out that there are few if any law schools whose J.D. is worth that much tuition. Worse, a large number of ordinary schools charge that much and more. St. Mary's is much more the norm than an outlier.
    sideman likes this.
  10. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    According to the ABA website, here is a list of approved distance learning J.D. programs.

    • University of Dayton School of Law
    • Loyola Law School (Los Angeles)
    • Mitchell Hamline College of Law
    • University of New Hampshire School of Law
    • St. Mary’s University School of Law
    • Seattle University School of Law
    • South Texas College of Law-Houston
    • Suffolk University Law School
    • Syracuse University College of Law
    • Vermont Law School

    I think eventually the state bar admission is getting easier for online/distance learning J.D.
    nosborne48 likes this.
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    St. Mary's is the only online program I've seen; the rest are hybrid programs with most having been around for a couple of years or more.

    I'm not sure that there are too many states that take issue with online programs. ABA accreditation is the most important factor. Texas has a restriction on online degrees, though, but I'm sure they've made an exception for St. Mary's.
    nosborne48 likes this.
  12. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I think so as well. I know a local young attorney who completed her J.D. at Mitchell-Hamline. I don't know what it cost her. I think she got some sort of tuition reduction from the school. Knowing her professionally, I'd guess she did pretty well on the LSAT. Anyway, she passed the New Mexico Bar Exam on her first attempt and seems to me to be well trained and quite competent. She could probably have saved some money by attending the University of New Mexico Law School but they offer only a three year full time program in Albuquerque. As it was she could work for those years so there's that. Resident tuition at UNM is $45,000 for all three full-time years. Mitchell-Hamline gets $144,000 for all eight semesters of their part-time program. I don't think my acquaintance paid that much but she did have the travel expenses for the on-campus periods.
  13. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Still, though...$100,000 is a LOT of money. I don't know; I guess the student just has to sit down and make a spreadsheet.
  14. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Incidently...when I attended UNM Law 1983-1986, total tuition for all three years was about $3,200. You read that right. Just two zeros to the left of the decimal point. Since I was a veteran and had done well in UG and the LSAT, they gave me a $1,000 tuition reduction.

    Of course, that WAS in the Old West. You could pay in pinches of gold dust or Spanish reales. Your choice. :D
    Tireman 44444 and JBjunior like this.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I think a big problem with law school is the lack of a quid pro quo. Students are paying for something the school doesn't grant--a career. While this is true with all college degree programs, the bar exam makes it even more so for law schools. And the cost makes the whole matter even more dire.

    I think a worthy comparison is medical school. Same dynamic, different outcome. Why? I think it is because the routes to becoming a medical doctor are so much more limited. In fact, so much so that alternative pathways (like Caribbean med schools) and careers (like nurse practitioners and physician assistants) have emerged to meet the demand not being met by medical schools cranking out more physicians.

    The pathways to practicing law are myriad...until one seeks a job. Then the plethora of applicants meets the scarcity of work, driving down earnings.

    So? It's an individual's choice, right? Well, yes. And no. Because we grant so much prerogative to individuals when it comes to higher education, we've turned applicants into consumers. But what they're paying for is not what the schools are providing. When you go to school--university, trade school, whatever--it feels like you're working towards your goal. But you're not. You're paying tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars and years of your life for the opportunity to work towards your goal. It's like a 5th-grader wanting to be an astronaut: there's a lot of things that have to happen along the way.

    This is what makes ROI-based decisions so fraught. You can't do the calculation because you don't know the return. You don't. Oh, sure, if you get into a top-flight school you can assume the best, but the rest simply cannot know what lies ahead with sufficient certainty to make that calculation. That's why I'm always railing against the money issue: it's got to be a lot deeper than ROI to make the decision reasonably certain. You've got to want the outcome no matter what form it takes.
    nosborne48 likes this.
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Someone pointed out to me and the world at large that law school is free. The student needs not come up with a single nickel until, of course, he graduates with a shiny new law degree. That's when he finally hears the handcuffs snap onto his wrists when it is utterly too late to do anything to avoid it.
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Sounds like another, more common occurrence. (One often needs an attorney to wriggle out of those handcuffs, too.)
  18. SweetSecret

    SweetSecret New Member

    I am glad for you, but also sickened. I ran these numbers through an inflation calculator and it's no work close to the current cost of tuition.

    I am actually doing exactly this! I feel like no matter what person does they're never going to figure out the truly best financial solution when it comes to picking a law school. I put all the ABA law school options into a spreadsheet with various stats. I then sorted the list by student debt to income ratio followed by 1st time bar passage rates from highest toto lowest. The top 40 are:

    1. Cornell
    2. Standford University
    3. Stanford University
    4. Harvard School of Law
    5. Pennsylvania, University of
    6. Chicago, University of
    7. California, Berkeley, University of
    8. Yale Law School
    9. Temple University
    10. Texas Austin, University of
    11. New York University School of Law
    12. Kansas, University of
    13. Wisconsin, University of
    14. Nebraska, University of
    15. Arkansas School of Law (Fayetteville), University of
    16. Houston, University of
    17. California, Los Angeles, University of
    18. Georgetown University
    19. Oklahoma, The University of
    20. Boston College
    21. City University of New York School of Law (CUNY)
    22. California Davis, University of
    23. Villanova University
    24. Fordham University
    25. Hawaii, University of
    26. Southern CA, University of
    27. Arizona, University of
    28. University of Tulsa
    29. George Mason University
    30. Florida State University College of Law
    31. Mitchell Hamline School of Law
    32. Arizona State University
    33. Louisiana State University
    34. Duquesne University
    35. Washburn University
    36. West Virginia University
    37. Pace University
    38. William & Mary
    39. Ohio State University, The
    40. St. John's University

    Some part of me would love to follow your idea mentioned on a previous thread of starting at a California CBE school and then dropping down to a state accredited school before taking the bar exam to save money. The bar exam pass rates for the non-ABA schools are pretty atrocious though, and even if one does pass it really limits what states a person could practice in. I'm all about saving money, but I also want my degree to be good for bar admission in all the states I may potentially end up.
    Dustin likes this.
  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Is Stanford so good that it appears twice on the list with different spellings?!
    Dustin likes this.
  20. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Surely a clever copyright trap!

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