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William Mitchell College of Law Welcomes First Hybrid Online Law Class
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Summary: The William Mitchell College of Law welcomed its first hybrid online law class this week for an introductory event. 

The William Mitchell College of Law has become the first accredited law school in the country to offer hybrid online law school class, according to The StarTribune.


The class, with 85 students, was welcomed on Monday at the law school for a weeklong introductory event.

Dr. Brooke Baker is an anesthesiologist from New Mexico who enrolled in the class. She said she is excited to study law while practicing medicine.

“There are certainly people that say, ‘Wow, are you crazy?’ ” Baker said. “I think of it as an adventure.”

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To read more about the William Mitchell College of Law, click here.

The American Bar Association issued a special waiver to William Mitchell last year so the school could introduce its hybrid program. The school’s officials said they viewed the program as a way to move traditional law school education into the 21st century.

Eric Janus, the retiring dean of the law school, said, “I think higher education in general, but legal education in particular, is wary of big changes. So I think that many people in legal education are going to be watching this.”

The risk has paid off for the school so far as it has seen an eight percent increase in enrollment as other law schools are suffering through enrollment declines.

The average age of the class that arrived for the introductory event is 38 and more than one-third have already obtained graduate degrees, according to law school spokesperson Jennifer Glass.

To read more about the American Bar Association, click here.

Brian Kennedy is 59 and from El Paso, Texas. Kennedy said, “I was accepted to William Mitchell in 1981 and life got in the way. That was my one regret, that I didn’t get to go to law school. I’m starting a new career. It just took me a while to get here.”

Students will be required to spend one week per semester on campus in face-to-face sessions. They will need four years to obtain their law degree and tuition is $27,770, which is the same as the school’s traditional program.

Criminal law professor Sarah Deer said, “So much of our profession is communication skills. They learn the law online. They learn how to be lawyers when they’re here.”

The program will also allow William Mitchell to study the students who take part in the program so it can determine if it is working properly.

Janus added, “One of the worries that people sometimes express about learning that takes place partially online is that students won’t be as personally engaged. I personally don’t think that’s going to be the case.”

To read more about online law classes, click here.

Baker said she wants to serve as an “ambassador” for the program, which is a first in the country.

“A lot of law schools are going to be watching this,” she said. “The next thing you know, there’s going to be 50 different online hybrid programs. I think it’s going to be commonplace sometime in our future.”

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Image credit: William Mitchell College of Law

Source: StarTribune


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