Major Breakthrough for DL Law Schools

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Bruce, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Massachusetts has long been somewhat of a "maverick" as far as legal education, in that they have for many years allowed graduates of residential, RA, non-ABA schools to sit for the bar exam;

    Now, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (state supreme court) has ruled that a graduate of the online Concord Law School will be allowed to take the state bar exam;

  2. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    As I am about to go to bed, I will only say this is good news for DL. I will have to read it over tomorrow.


  3. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    Not a fan of Boston weather, but for someone who likes the law, but thought he could never be a lawyer, this is really great news. I could even learn to like clam chowder. :p Will read it tomorrow as well. Thanks, Bruce! :)
  4. traderneil

    traderneil New Member

    Bruce This was a Great find!!!

    11/21/08 @ 5:40PM PMT traderneil Sin City

    Hi Bruce : What a great find! I read the article and of particular interest to me was the sentence "other graduates of on line Law Schools"

    Do you think they will allow graduates of any of the online law schools to sit for the Bar?

    What's your take on this?


    PS Happy Thanksgiving
  5. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    Interesting in your registered line: Back Alley Space Boy

    Bruce, how can I change mine?
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'm playing off of Traderneil's question.

    I know that there's a Massachusetts law school (the one in Andover) that has a weekend program. I know that the Massachusetts state university system never had a law school until they recently bought one (the one in Dartmouth). Now we've got this whole crazy online thing happening. Is Massachusetts getting set to create an online law school? I just love starting rumors.
  7. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen


    Glad to see I'm not the only one who "gets it". :D I believe you have to PM Bruce to change your "custom title". Here's some info:

    Good luck! ;)
  8. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    Thanks for the heads up! I shall follow with mine as soon as I come up with one.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This is fantastic news.

    I love Boston, having lived just north of there for 3 years. And despite the state's nickname, "Tax-achusetts," the overall tax burden is relatively low. Beautiful springs, summers, and early falls make it a lovely place. (I was just there last month, staying a few days in Quincy. We had the most fantastic warm days, spending time on the beach in Hull, walking all around Boston and Cambridge, etc.)

    I love California, which also accepts Concord grads to the Bar. Adding Mass. is just great.
  10. AviTerra

    AviTerra New Member

    The decision states” Our determination that a waiver of S.J.C. Rule 3:01, § 3.3, is appropriate for Mitchell is based wholly on the particular circumstances presented in his individual case. In reaching this result, we are not suggesting that we have decided to accept graduation from an online law school as meeting the educational requirement for taking the Massachusetts bar examination, or indeed to change our ABA-approval requirement set out in rule 3:01, § 3.3, in any respect.”
  11. Ronin Distance

    Ronin Distance Rojiura no Uchuu Shōnen

    No prob, mate. :)

    So, in other words, no dice? :confused:
  12. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not a lawyer, but the wording of the decision clearly states that graduates of "other online law schools" could be eligible, but part of the SJC's decision was based on Mitchell's excellent academic record, so that's going to play a part in future decisions. The full text of the decision is here;

    Note that Mitchell acted pro se, and the SJC took into account the fact that his briefs and motions were of "commendable quality" when rendering their decision. You can see the filings on the docket page;

    My personal opinion is that Mitchell's brief blew-away that of AAG Guberman, who represented the Board of Bar Overseers.

    Another opinion is that this story has yet to play out; I think any future decisions of online law school graduates taking the MA Bar Exam is going to be on a case-by-case basis, at least for the short-term future. I do think a lot of it rests on if Mitchell passes the exam. After reading his briefs, I tend to think he's going to knock it out of the park.
  13. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Geesh Rich, you were probably just a few minutes from me; I would have loved to have bought you a coffee/drink while you were in my baliwick. I don't bite in person!'s Nantasket Beach in Hull, my kids practically live there in the summer. You probably remember this place from your time in MA;
  14. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Let me be the rumor killer. :D

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not own or operate a law school; there were rumors that UMass-Dartmouth was going to purchase the private Southern New England School of Law, but it never happened. Now that the state is broke, I don't see it happening anytime soon. Those two schools (UMD and SNESL) do have joint degree programs.

    If Massachusetts were to start a law school, I would think it would probably be at UMass-Amherst; they certainly have the space & name cache to do it.
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the correction.
  16. recruiting

    recruiting Member

    he court said granting Mitchell a waiver to take the exam "is based wholly on the particular circumstances presented in his individual case. ... We are not suggesting that we have decided to accept graduation from an online law school as meeting the educational requirement for taking the Massachusetts bar examination."

    Justice Roderick Ireland dissented, saying the court should wait until the bar association has made its decision.

    Is this a case by case basis? I truly hope not...

    Even so this is such great news, especially in Massachusetts!
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    For now, I would say yes. This certainly doesn't open the floodgates for every DL law school, but it's definitely a first step.

    I actually have mixed emotions; I love to see DL validated, but at the same time, we (MA) are flooded with lawyers as it is. Besides the traditional day, full-time only programs at Harvard, BU, BC, and Northeastern, there is Suffolk, New England School of Law, and Western New England College School of Law also offering part-time and evening programs. Adding DL law schools to the mix is going to further saturate an already saturated job market.
  18. recruiting

    recruiting Member

  19. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves; he's merely been allowed to take the bar exam. I tend to think he'll pass, but there's an awful lot of pressure on him, being the first. If he doesn't pass with his impressive academic record, it's going to set back DL law students quite a bit.
  20. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    I think that the most interesting statement is this, taken from the newspaper link:

    The court said it would not be fair to deny Mitchell the chance to take the bar exam while the American Bar Association is reconsidering whether to accredit online schools.

    If the ABA is reconsidering it, then many more states might have this option available. It that were to happen, that would be huge.

    Here's hoping...

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