Building upon its success in online degrees in paralegal courses the Washington University is now all set to offer LLM online. On Tuesday, the law school announced that fully online course without any campus requirement is set to be launched on United States Law for lawyers practicing overseas. The course would be launched in partnership with 2tor, an educational technology company.
The venture is experimental and Kent D. Syverud, the dean of the school told the media, We don’t know where the students are going to come from exactly, but we believe there is demand abroad for an online program with the same quality that we deliver in St. Louis, accessible to people who can’t uproot their lives to come to the United States.”
Though the dean holds that the course meant for foreign lawyers is “not designed to prepare students for the bar exam,” it is possible that graduates may be eligible for certain bars like that of California.
The offered courses would cost the same as on-campus courses and would cost roughly $48,000. The university would be sharing revenues with the technology company which would provide the web platform, marketing and technical support.
The shift to online courses are hampered largely due to archaic ABA rules under which accredited law schools are not allowed to count more than 12 credits of distance education towards a Juris Doctor degree. In a country, where the greatest leaders had learnt law by themselves and not from law schools, the requirements of the ABA seem geared towards perpetuating legal education as the tyrannical business it is being exposed for. While no one can dispute the separate advantages of on-campus study, technology has make it quite possible to have face to face interactions with professors and other students by means of conferencing and access to legal databases through the internet.
There is little that prevents entire courses from moving online and saving students huge amounts of money and time except that little control switch by the ABA that ensures the sustenance of legal education as a profit-making business. If this course for overseas lawyers by the Washington University becomes a success then legal education can expand across the country and become low-cost, if the ABA ever permits that to happen.
Concord Law School offers a fully online Juris Doctor and graduates can take the bar examination in California. This is the reason why the ABA does not approve of the Concord Law School or such practices.