The recent pandemic has necessitated the use of online schools in all subjects. Although we’re nearing the end of closures and restrictions, the online academic system is becoming a more popular choice. Students looking for an online law school face the challenge of finding a school that is accredited through the American Bar Association. There are plenty of online law schools in the world, but not all of them are recognized by the Bar. We’ve gathered information about the ten best online law schools in the world with priority for accreditation, cost, quality of instruction, and access to research materials.
10. Washington University School of Law
Washington University School of Law offers an online program for students seeking a Master’s degree in law. The program is completely online with live weekly classes led by the faculty of Washington University. The classes are small and interactive with the Socratic method, encouraging a discussion-based format. The degree programs are designed for professionals in self-paced courses to be completed at the student’s availability with weekly timelines. The University provides optional weekend learning experiences for students of the Masters in law programs at the St. Louis campus. The Washington University School of Law is the oldest private institution in the Mississippi River’s western region. US News & World Report named it among the top 20 law schools. The MLS program is for legal professionals, however, it is not designed for lawyers. No law degree is required, nor is in-person contact with staff or faculty. Specializations for the Master’s degree program include Employment Law, Regulatory Compliance, Litigation, Conflict Resolution, taxation, and Business Law. The online graduate program is designed for people working in tax preparation, accounting, government, and corporate taxation. The school does not require GRE or LSAT scores for admission, nor is a law degree required. Students may pursue an MLS in Taxation, an LLM in Taxation, or an LLM in U.S. Law, for foreign-trained lawyers.
9. Arizona State University Online
Arizona State University offers an online MLS program for legal professionals not seeking to become a member of the American Bar Association. The school offers ten focus areas including conflict resolution, contract management, construction law, corporate and health care compliance, criminal law, Indian gaming, Tribal self-governance, Sports law and business, Law and sustainability, and Intellectual property law. The degree prepares you for working with practicing attorneys. It is a stepping stone toward the JD degree that allows you to become a practicing attorney. You learn the basics and foundations of the law with an understanding of the legal concepts applicable to various careers. The Master of Legal Studies degree diploma does not distinguish whether the program was completed in person or online. You may choose to disclose this to an employer or not. The transcripts and diplomas do not refer to how the degree was earned. The institution strives to provide high-quality instruction for students who opt for the online environment. Students are required to pass a core course on US Law and Legal Analysis with electives in Administrative Agencies and Regulations, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Fundamentals of Contract Law, Intellectual Property, Property, or Tort Law. The Foundation in US Law is the only required core course. All others are offered at the discretion of the student, most closely aligned with professional goals.
9. Mitchell Hamline School of Law
The Mitchel Hamline School of Law is in St. Paul, Minnesota. The law school received an American Bar Association waiver to offer hybrid programs consisting of online coursework with on-campus residencies occurring ten times during the program. It is a four-year program for aspiring attorneys and students who wish to work in other aspects of the legal system. Students are allowed to work at their own pace within the weekly online discussion guidelines. The semesters last from 11 to 12 weeks in duration. There is a limited number of available seats for the online program, but students may apply through the entire year for the hybrid law program. The school offers a rigorous J.D. program with a challenging curriculum with full-time or part-time programs offered partially online or on campus. It’s an experiential program that requires some in-person learning. Students have a choice of specializations and have the opportunity to work with clients as part of the in-person component.
8. University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law
UNH’s Franklin Pierce School of Law was the first law school with a specific focus on intellectual property, information law, and technology, to sponsor an approved hybrid online program. It’s one of the highest-ranked schools in these areas of the law. The hybrid program launched in 2019. It’s designed for professionals in the IP and tech industries. Students may complete most of their studies in an online environment but must make plans to visit the campus for times per year for residencies held at the campus for four days per session. This is a hybrid JD program affording students full-time faculty resources, clinic and curriculum opportunities, consideration for scholarships, academic and career services support, and preparation for bar exam passage for those wishing to pursue ABS membership and a career as an attorney, or another professional in the judicial system.
7. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers two Criminal Justice program degrees. The law degrees are intended for government professionals interested in management and leadership positions. the Law Enforcement emphasis is for law enforcement professionals with a desire to become managers or leaders in their careers. the Master of Science in Criminal Justice emphasizing legal studies is designed for professionals in the public policy, justice administration, and social research fields. The degree does not make students eligible for the bar exam, or to become a practicing attorney. Students engage in coursework in criminal behavior analysis, exploration of law and public policy, exploration of constitutional criminal law, legal research, or legal communication. This program is best for paralegals, legal assistants, mediators, law librarians, government relations officers, compliance officers, or those pursuing these career goals. The online degrees are 100 percent online and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This degree may serve as a stepping stone for students who wish to become practicing attorneys, however, more education is required to qualify to sit for the bar exam.
6. University of Dayton School of Law
The University of Dayton offers a hybrid J.D. program for aspiring lawyers. The institution accepts LSAT and GRE scores for consideration for admission to its J.D. program for aspiring lawyers. The bulk of the coursework may be taken through online studies, but students must make plans to attend mandatory collaborative components such as residencies as a part of the degree program. The law school also offers a semester duration of legal externship. Students have access to online research and library resources and may work at their own pace to prepare for weekly discussions in courses.
5. Syracuse University Law School
Syracuse University received its ABA waiver to launch its online hybrid JD degree program recently. It’s one of the top-ranked law schools that started the program with 32 students chosen from 241 applicants. The JD program is a rigorous program of online class sessions involving live instruction with requirements for student interaction. Students may work at their own pace to complete learning modules in preparation for the live discussions and weekly interactions. Online students must participate in on-campus residencies at the Sy Syracuse campus for the in-person component of the hybrid program. Online students are also allowed to join the school’s publication titled the Syracuse Law Review. The entry requirements for the hybrid JD program are the same as on-campus in-person tracks. SAT and GRE scores must be submitted as part of the application for the admissions process. The JD program takes approximately three years and three months to complete. Students receive thorough and rigorous academic instruction to prepare them to sit at the bar exam and to pass it. This program is designed for students interested in becoming licensed and practicing attorneys, or another professional in the US judicial system.
4. Touro Law School
The Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center offers a JD program. Students may opt for the online format. This hybrid program is for professionals who need the flexibility of an online environment. Students must attend on-campus instruction for the first two years. They offer primarily online coursework for the remaining two years of the program. The track is partially online. The Long Island law school’s program is for working professionals who cannot commit to full-time studies on campus in Long Island, New York. Students must complete an externship or clinic before graduation. Data shows that 92.3 percent of students admitted to Touro College law school receive scholarships to defray the cost of education. The program prepares students to sit for the bar exam and pass it. The American Bar Association reports that 91.2 percent of graduates gained full-time employment in 2019.
3. Sturm College of Law
The Sturm College of Law is a part of the University of Denver. It is one of the oldest JD programs offering part-time study in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks it as number 11 in the country. This Law College offers a choice of hybrid on-campus and online programs. Online law students must attend eight weekends of online classes per semester, completing the last two weekends for final exams. The remainder of interactive exercises, discussion boards, assessments, and coursework is completed online at the student’s own pace. The program is four years.
2. Loyola-Chicago School of Law
The Loyola-Chicago School of Law is a part of the University of Chicago. The institution has restructured its law program to accommodate the needs of students who cannot attend regular on-campus classes. The LCSL four-year program requires students to appear on-campus every other weekend for the semester and complete the rest of the coursework through an online learning platform that features a high degree of collaboration and interaction. Members of the Loyola faculty teach online courses. The institution’s part-time hybrid program and a full-time Juris Doctor program are options for students seeking alternatives to the traditional classroom setting.
The School of Law at Loyola University Chicago also restructured its existing part-time program to provide online learning and access to legal education for more students. The program, ranked #14 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, takes four years to complete and requires on-campus class attendance every other weekend during the semester. Students finish the rest of the coursework online. The online learning platform is highly interactive and collaborative. Students may apply for financial aid and scholarships through the University. Juris Doctor programs at Loyola prepare students to take and pass the bar exam to become legal practicing attorneys.
1. Concord Law School at Purdue University Global
Purdue University’s Concord Law School became the first law school to offer fully online programs. Concord Law School has accreditation from the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners. It is a respected school that is a part of the esteemed Purdue University system. Students receive rigorous preparation to take and pass the Bar exam. Purdue offers two law degree programs with online learning options that fit student schedules. Average rates for Juris Doctor degree programs are less than most other comparable law degrees and take an average of 3 years to complete.