It’s difficult to say what school is the best when it comes to learning law online. There isn’t a ranking that’s available anywhere and it’s difficult to find someone who has had experience in learning law online. Also, there are some online degrees out there that might be scams. So, you need to be careful when it comes to choosing what you can take up while you’re at home.
Let’s evaluate you possible options.
Truth be told, any programs taken from online law schools won’t give you as much as opportunities as completing your studies from physical schools—whether it’s the best in the country, or just a small-time state school like in California. There’s also not a lot of them that can be sufficient enough as requirement for the bar exam. As far as I know, there aren’t any ABA-accredited online law schools as of January 2015. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s easier to find a master of law program online if you’re already bearing a juris doctor.
Now that all has been said, allow me to give you a quick rundown of some of the top law schools online that can help you achieve your degree—from juris doctor programs to LLM programs.
Online Juris Doctor Programs
If you do a quick search with the terms, “best juris doctor online programs”, only two online schools in the US prominently pop up on the first page of results. These are those two schools:
Concord College – $9,984/annually
Concord is a college that’s under Kaplan University, one of the heavyweights when it comes to online learning. It’s very popular, which makes it stable and the funding for their programs isn’t too shabby either. It’s the most prominent one that you can go for, as they really prepare their students for practicing law in California. So what makes it good?
- Admissions aren’t as selective – In comparison to the other law school in this list (we’ll get to that later), Concord isn’t as picky when it comes to who gets to enroll in their program. Their website doesn’t have a “testimonial” page about how their students past credentials. There’s also a good chance that they can provide you with a better law education, should you not be able to attend a traditional one.
- They keep tabs on their students’ progress – There are a few entries online about how students at Concord get kicked out or asked to leave if they couldn’t keep up with the readings and the workload. The college has an amazing technology that knows when a student hasn’t been catching up on the assigned readings. Also, unlike traditional law schools, Concord presents students with weekly quizzes and tests—both written and multiple-choice. Another thing that you might be interested to know is that the college has a minimum grade that you need to reach if you want to continue on with the program. If you start slacking off, there’s a great chance that Concord would have to revoke your enrollment.
In hindsight, maybe this is Concord’s way of maintaining high bar passing rates. They get rid of those students who may not perform as better as expected. Regardless of it’s convenience for you, if you can’t keep up with the workload for the duration of your program, you might just end up wasting you time and money.
St. Francis Law School – $6,500 for annual payments; $7,000 for 3 installments (all inclusive)
From their website:
“St. Francis School of Law is an online law school that offers unmatched academic excellence. Our focus is on producing graduates who can out-think, outperform, and overshadow the competition.”
Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. It seems challenging, but what makes it a good online law school?
- Selective admission process – They have an interview and selection process before they can let you become a part of their program. They used to boast of their students who came from prestigious Ivy League schools and those who work in prominent companies throughout the US.
- Lower tuition fees – The tuition fee for all four years of the JD program at St. Francis totals to less than $30,000 – cheaper compared to the fees for one semester at traditional law schools.
- They’re honest about your future – They don’t hide the fact that some of their students only enroll because they need to know the law for their selected professions. They’re honest about what you can expect once you begin looking for a job in the legal field.
Online Latin Legum Magister (LLM) Programs
So, if you’re already good to go with a juris doctor and have been practicing as a lawyer, you can fluff up your credentials by adding a masters of law or a Latin Legum Magister (LLM) education—something that you can also do via an online program.
Now, take these programs with a grain of salt. You may assume that they’d be cheaper because they’re online. Well, they can cost similar to those traditional methods of LLM education.
Also, being in a real LLM program opens you up to better opportunities such as being able to network with like-minded individuals. For example, LLM students can meet droves of practitioners from other parts of the country of the world.
Most of these people keep their contacts when they return home as possible referrals or contacts. If you’re set on attending an online law school, then there are just some of the programs that come highly recommended by some of the best schools in the world (or at the least in California).
Reminder: Most of the elements of these programs are conducted online. However, there are some coursework and exams that you’d have to do on-site.
- Oxford University Human Rights Law Program – This is a mostly online program conducted by the Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Don’t assume that you’d be making loads of money with this because it’s an LLM for human rights—very different from degrees that can allow you to charge your clients by the hour. Also, it can be quite expensive for those who are living out of the UK, although it looks very promising.
- NYU Law Tax Program LLM – this is by far the most popular and probably the best degree program for tax and financial law. A lot of executives from Wall Street take sabbaticals in order to get an opportunity to attend this LLM program on-site.
So if you are trying to choose the best online law schools in California, clearly you can see it isn’t going to be an easy decision. We hope the above information was useful to get you started in the right path.