Are Online Law Schools Keeping Pace?

Online Law School Curriculum

Despite the fact that the legal field has seen revenues drop 10% at US law firms since 2008, law schools are still failing to provide educations that prepare their graduates for successful careers.  Law schools (both online law schools and traditional law schools) continue to ignore the benefits of including practical skills in their curriculum.  Law school students today are facing one of the most dismal job markets in history, and yet, most law law degree programs are not doing anything to keep pace.  Are online law schools any better than traditional law schools in this respect?

In a word, no.  Online law schools have long been stigmatized due to their poor quality.  In our experience, such poor quality results from:

–          Marketing processes that target students who do not have the intellectual capacity to compete in a rigorous law program and who have little chance of passing either the California Bar Exam or the Baby Bar Exam;

–          A “hands off” approach that leaves online law school students on their own, struggling to understand difficult legal concepts without proper support from the online law school faculty members;

–          The poor quality of faculty members, who oftentimes themselves have graduated from very low quality online law schools;

–          The treatment of online law schools as  revenue streams instead of an academic institutions.

In our opinion, most online law schools have not mastered (or even tried to master, for that matter) how to deliver a minimally adequate “traditional” legal education.  Trying to incorporate practical skills and the innovation demanded by the market is a task that requires tremendous thought and expertise.  It is much easier for online law schools to continue teaching students in an outdated, myopic fashion (and even then, most don’t do that component well).

One would think that online law schools should be on the cutting edge of delivering legal education since their entire platform uses the internet and technologies that traditional law schools only include in a minimal manner. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far.

Building a Top Online Law Degree Program

At St. Francis School of Law, in addition to providing real-time classes for our law students (students who are incredibly accomplished and driven), we also strive to heed market demand and deliver online law classes that are both practical and relevant.

Our JD program is different….

Our online law degree program differs from both traditional law schools and online law schools by:

–          Focusing on high quality law students;

–          Taking an immensely personal, dedicated approach to every single one of our students to help them understand the materials presented in our online law courses in an efficient manner,

–        Fostering a sense of community among our close-knit student body and faculty members, who are passionate about our mission and dedicating to doing their part to make St. Francis a better place;

–          Attracting and retaining some of the very best faculty members available, who parallel the faculty members students could expect to find at top traditional law schools;

–          Committing to a long-term vision that focuses on student performance and the growth of our long-term reputation over short-term financial metrics.

A comparison of online law schools would demonstrate that, vis-à-vis our competitors, not only is St. Francis School of Law the most committed to our distance learning law students,   but each of our graduates will be ready to weather the legal landscape, no matter what form it takes.


About onlinelawdegree

St. Francis was founded in the heart of Silicon Valley, where new start-up companies, young entrepreneurs, and the world’s leading venture capital firms have created some of the world’s most innovative companies. St. Francis began when a group of entrepreneurs began lamenting the state of legal education and the fact that: * When most law students graduate, they are not armed with the skills they actually need to practice law and instead learn how to practice law during the first three years on the job, at the expense of clients. * Clients are beginning to refuse to pay for junior associates to get trained on the job; * Legal jobs and services are quickly being shifted overseas; * There are fewer “big law” jobs available; and * Law students are taking on huge amounts of debt in the hopes of obtaining “big law” jobs. We quickly realized that there is a growing demand for a different type of legal education and our mission is to provide it. At St. Francis, we emphasize the things students need to know to practice law, thereby supplying the legal market with graduates who have already gained exposure to a wide range of skills that most law graduates do not obtain until several years on the job.
This entry was posted in Compare Online Law Schools- The St. Francis Difference, Online Law School Programs. Bookmark the permalink.

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