Unlike traditional, paper-based correspondence courses or the media-based classes of the early 1980s, the new generation of online education applications enable students to earn a variety of degrees and certifications including a law or “juris doctor” degree.
Online JD programs are normally completed in a period of three to six years depending on the regulations of the State Bar in the school’s state of origin. Another factor is the amount of time students can commit to their classes while maintaining the other aspects of their lives – regular jobs and family obligations, for instance.
In the first year of any law degree program, students can expect to work through an “introduction to the law” course as well as classes in contracts, criminal law, torts, constitutional law and history, and property law. To complete these classes successfully, students will need strong research and writing skills. In addition to the conceptual material, they will begin to learn how to compose text in the appropriate legal style and format.
As students move on to advanced courses they will encounter administrative and company law and learn the principles of evidence collection and management. Other typical courses include the history of jurisprudence, a survey of civil procedure, and ethics based courses in professional responsibility.
A primary consideration in studying law is the necessity for access to casebooks as well as textbooks. Schools normally provide access to bookstores selling texts, but casebooks can be extremely expensive. Access to a physical legal library – even one contained in the law office or firm of a friend or associate – is a tremendous plus and one that will help keep the costs of online education down. Because many online students are seeking a second career while holding down a current job, online institutions routinely offer financial assistance programs.
The practice of law is a strong, dynamic exchange of ideas and arguments. Some online JD students feel they have more access to their professors through chat facilities, email, telephone conferences, and video conferences that their counterparts at fixed-facility institutions. As an added advantage, carrying out exchanges with professors via email provides a record of the “conversation” for future reference.
If you have always wanted to move into the legal profession or if you were forced by financial concerns to seek employment immediately upon graduating from college, you may want to fully investigate the available options for online law schools. Further information to help your personal research is provided through the links on this page.