Given that ABA-approved law schools are disqualified from allowing student to take more than 12 credit hours through distance-education methods, it is safe to say that nearly all of the nation’s top law schools are prohibited from launching online JD programs.
Nonetheless, online education is clearly the wave of the future, and many prestigious law schools are beginning to realize that they can capture a share of the online education marketplace by offering degrees other than juris doctorate degrees in an online format.
So far, the most common online law degree offered by such institution is an online law master’s (L.L.M) degree. Typically, such online law degrees (such as Masters degrees and L.L.M’s) offered by top law schools are not the best route to a J.D. and are not engineered to prepare online law students to take the bar exam.
Washington Law, Florida Coastal College of Law, the New York University Law School , the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the University of Alabama each offer an online law program in one or more discrete areas of law, but none offer a juris doctorate degree online.
As traditional law schools attempt to capture revenue from the increasing demand from U.S. students and students located internationally, all of whom desire the flexibility that comes with a distance learning law program, it is likely that the number of “traditional” law schools creating a single online law program or even multiple online law programs will increase. This is a great development and will help credible online law school programs gain more credibility in the legal profession.