TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ABA Approves Online JDs At Syracuse, Southwestern

Syracuse SouthwesternFollowing up on yesterday's post, ABA Proposes To Double (To 30) The Number Of Credits Law Students Can Earn Online, Including 10 For 1Ls

National Law Journal, ABA Set to Loosen Restrictions on Online Law Classes:

The [ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar] granted a variance this month to Syracuse University College of Law, which announced plans in 2016 to launch an online J.D. program. The ABA denied the school’s initial request for a variance, but the new approval means Syracuse can move forward with a planned launch in January 2019.

The program will combine live online lectures with self-paced online classes, several weeklong campus sessions and a legal externship, said Nina Kohn, associate dean for research at Syracuse. Students can complete their law degree over the course of 10 semesters.

Southwestern Law School Blog, ABA Grants Southwestern a Rare and Coveted Blended Education Variance:

Southwestern Law School announced today that the American Bar Association (ABA) granted the school a variance to add an ABA-accredited hybrid-online J.D. program to its curriculum.

Only the second ABA-approved program of its kind, Southwestern and Blueprint Learning Systems teamed up to create a sophisticated distance learning platform. Previews reveal that the hybrid curriculum infuses traditional Socratic and case learning methods with state-of-the-art adaptive learning technology. Studies indicate this innovation will produce superior outcomes than either classroom or distance learning on its own.*

This blended instruction model allows students to obtain a Southwestern J.D. from anywhere in the country. Students evenly split course hours between online and on-campus (traveling to Los Angeles once in each of the ten trimesters to participate in “week” long intensive (seven to nine days) as a cohort.) 

The school plans to unveil the hybrid-online program for the 2019/2020 school year and will release additional details in 2018.

Other law schools with hybrid online J.D. programs include:

Dayton's request for a variance is pending.  The ABA has rejected requests for variances at Rutgers and Utah.

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