For aspiring future lawyers, studying for a law degree online might be considered as a more attractive alternative than attending lectures in the traditional brick and mortar Universities.
Taking a law degree online is quite ideal for those aspiring law students who have other responsibilities that take up a large amount of their time, such as being a full-time parent or other unavoidable familial obligations. It is also highly beneficial to those who are employed full time, or those who find it extremely impractical to commute to the nearest brick and mortar school.
Group communication and Interaction—a must for all law degrees, is no longer an issue as it had once been, as advancement in technology makes social interaction as intuitive and equally stimulating as speaking with someone face to face. What’s more, the teacher can use a myriad of methods available, such as an internet forum (for ordered, moderated discussions), internet chat rooms (for mock recitals), while conference web cam sessions offer the intimacy of looking at someone—or a group of someones—in the eye and spotting human elements that we all take for granted but the budding law student must master during a mock cross examination, such as facial expressions and body language.
Valuable information can also be shared among classmates, most notably case studies that some students may not have access to or lack the means to procure. In addition, hard to reach resource speakers from other disciplinary studies could be invited over and impart their knowledge and insights during online classes and discussions, even at such short notice.
One needs to consider, however, where they geographically are before deciding to take a law degree online. A university degree (whether online or otherwise) is usually the main qualification to practice law in the United States and in many countries. In England and continental Europe, however, professional training is provided after graduation, outside of the academia.
In some countries such as South Africa and Australia and others who are part of the British Commonwealth, an online law degree would not have been a big issue, but in the United States, forty-nine out of the fifty states in the U.S. would require law education to be accredited by the American Bar Association, with California being the only state that regulates institutions that offer up a law degree online.
Moreover, the case study method of instruction seems to be more prevalent in the United States where the student reads reported cases and analyzes the rationale behind these cases instead of listening or reading lengthy lectures by the teacher. In Russia and in other parts of western Europe, the lecture method, supported by smaller discussions and seminars seems to be more of the norm.
An online law degree may not be for anyone, but for those that could, the benefits would far outweigh the disadvantage, and provide the modern law student with unique and contemporary issues that befit the current generation. Certainly, a law degree online is as challenging as it is worthwhile.