SolveYourProblem Article Series: Online Degrees
Is An Online Degree Program For Me?


     Can I Get a Law Degree Online?

There are many advantages to enrolling in an online degree program. The freedom to create a schedule, the amount of time devoted to each project is determined by the student, the environment in which they will study, an office, kitchen, or one’s bedroom. Not having to go to classes two or more times a week is another advantage. Being able to take the computer to the local coffee house and study there is also an advantage. But there are a few disadvantages such as time management issues, needing more instruction on a particular topic, and cost. Many disciplines, such as traditional majors, administrative, business, marketing, even art majors have offered classes online. This does not mean that all majors should be offered online. A law degree, which takes an additional three years of schooling, is a tough degree to earn. With mock trials, case studies, and many areas of the law that are unclear, students need mentors and instructors to answer questions and enlighten students. But now it seems that some law schools are debating on whether or not to add online classes to their courses of study.

There are some basic law classes that could be taught online. With little supervision, students can still do well and continue with their education. But other classes, which require intensive study and many reports written, it would be very difficult to give every student what they need to succeed. If a person cannot manage their time, they will not graduate from law school. Many schools will not allow their students to work full-time since there is so much to learn. Offering advanced law classes online will make these students fall even further behind. Some people would argue that these students shouldn’t be in law school and should find another career.

Law schools are looking into offering online classes to maintain enrollment, which has fallen in recent years. With so many lawyers entering into the workforce, many could not find jobs. So people entering college decided to find other majors. In an effort to bring enrollment numbers back up, schools have considered to make classes more accessible to students who can manage their time. These students are disciplined enough to make their own study schedules and turn in papers on time. For some students, this will ease the stress of going to classes and having to squeeze in the time to study. For instructors, they can spend more time with students.

Another reason law schools are exploring the online class option is to compete with other universities. By offering online classes, these universities can give another option to perspective students who might choose the school based on the fact that online classes are offered. This is a way to stay competitive. Law schools are debating how to introduce new material and how to schedule due dates and other scheduling issues. Law students write lots of papers and briefs. They would need to turn in projects quickly and still keep up with reading.

The most obvious drawback to online classes is the fact that class discussions, which make up a large part of law classes, cannot be utilized if students are setting up their own study times and schedules for completing projects. Talking about law and learning how other people think about law and process law is a huge component to the learning process. Debate groups are formed to argue the sides of an issue. This is how people learn how to argue. Online there are university chat rooms where people meet to work on group projects, but it is much harder to debate issues and cases over the computer. It is important for people to meet and discuss legal aspects of cases. Learn how to formulate thoughts and present them in a clear manner is the cornerstone of a good lawyer’s career. This will be lost in an online class.

Law schools have a long way to go before they decide to offer a law school program online. For now, they may offer certain classes. But the real learning comes form the classroom. Writing papers and briefs is important, but knowing how to speak in front of others and how to present an idea is essential to becoming a great lawyer.

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