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Hybrid Classes Changing the Traditional Route of Law School
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William Mitchell College of Law

Hybrid online degrees may be the new future for law schools. According to an article by CNBC titled “Digital Cracks the Final Frontier: Law School”, William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota applied and was given permission to start a hybrid online program by the American Bar Association. While there are several online law schools already in existence, they are not recognized by the ABA as one of the 205 accredited law schools. The William Mitchell College of Law’s first class of 85 students from 31 states and two countries started taking classes in January. The students include five medical doctors, a college professor, and a banker, with the ages ranging from 22 to 67.

The hybrid course requires students to participate half online and half in person. William Mitchell College of Law’s website explains that students start the 8 semester part time program with a week on campus for the first and third semesters and conclude each semester with another week on campus. This allows the students to first meet professors and then apply the knowledge gained during the semester. Students are also required to have two externships during their last two years of the program.

  
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With a decline in law school applicants, law schools need to think of new and innovative ways to attract more students, especially when there are other easily accessible professional programs online. A hybrid option will allow students that already have careers to stay where they live and keep their current jobs while taking classes, reducing the incurred debt of attending school. Online degrees attract older applicants that can’t rationalize collecting large amounts of debt.

Currently, California is the only state that will allow unaccredited online law school graduates to take the state bar exam. One such school is Concord Law School. With tuition at about $10,000 a year at Concord, it is much more appetizing for students than other programs where graduates are collecting upwards of $150,000 of debt for their education. Less than half of all aspiring attorneys in California pass the bar, but Concord has a 52% pass rate. A higher pass rate shows that the students pursuing an online education are just as qualified to make it as successful attorneys.

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102528663

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