Jurist Article: Law schools introduce a wave of new online and hybrid options

Several law schools have either recently announced or plan to soon announce new online and hybrid options for law students, including Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law and William & Mary College of Law.

The expansion into distance education and hybrid programs comes 15 months after the American Bar Association expanded the number of credits a student can earn through online courses.

William Mitchell College of Law was the first to offer an ABA-approved hybrid degree option in 2013 and St. Mary’s University School of Law is the only school that offers a fully online program which was approved last Fall. The changing ABA standards and cultural shift of working at home from the coronavirus pandemic have caused law schools to look at the benefits of online and hybrid options, which has resulted in a wave of program developments.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law recently announced a part-time hybrid J.D. program and William & Mary Law School in Virginia announced its new online LL.M. program. Both programs are accepting applications and will start in August 2023.

Students in IU McKinney Law’s new program will be offered hybrid classes in their first and second year of school and the option to take up to 30 credit hours fully online. They may be able to complete their J.D. degree in four years. More information can be found on the school’s website.

South Texas College of Law Houston and Vermont Law School was approved by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to establish part-time, hybrid J.D. programs in spring 2022, and began their programs in the fall.

South Texas College of Law Houston program launched with 25 students. Students in the program take classes on campus two nights a week and take online courses two days a week.

“This is not a money play,” said Dean Mike Barry. “It is part of our mission to reach diverse populations and people who otherwise could not get a law degree.”

Barry said the school received close to 1,000 inquiries and more than 100 applications for the unique program.

Santa Clara University School of Law and other universities have mentioned plans to create hybrid and online options for students. Santa Clara Law is in the process of creating a new JD Program for people that want to come to Silicon Valley, modeling after a program at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Starting this school year, LMU Loyola Law School in Los Angeles admitted a group of students who only need to be on campus one night a week, with most education taught remotely. Michael Waterstone, dean of the school, said the hybrid format helped students to keep that connection with each other, which is sometimes missed by students in fully online programs.

W&M Law’s online LL.M. program allows students in the program will be able to set their own pace and participate in any time zone. Information about courses, the admissions process and costs is available on the program website.

Read more at  https://nationaljurist.com/national-jurist/news/law-schools-introduce-a-wave-of-new-online-and-hybrid-options/