TaxProf Blog

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

ABA Set To Double (To 30) The Number Of Credits Law Students Can Earn Online, Including 10 For 1Ls

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Following up on my previous post:, ABA Set to Approve More Online Credits for Law Students:

An online class in the first year of law school?

It’s coming.

The American Bar Association is poised to eliminate its ban on distance education during the crucial 1L year, and the change will likely go into effect by the time fledgling law students arrive on campus in the fall.

Allowing students to take some online classes their first year is part of a larger proposal to ease rules that limit the number of distance education credits J.D. students may take at ABA-accredited law schools. The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which oversees law schools, on May 11 voted in favor of a new accreditation standard that will allow J.D. students to take up to one-third of their credits online, including as many as 10 credits during their first year.

The change is slated to go before the ABA’s House of Delegates in August, and would go into effect immediately should that body concur with the council’s recommendation as expected. ...

Legal education generally has been slower than other areas of higher education to embrace distance learning, in part due to restrictions imposed by the ABA. Until 2013, law students could not take more than 12 credits online. The ABA increased that limit to 15 credits five years ago—a move that enabled students to complete a full semester of coursework online. That change opened the door for schools to launch semester-long programs in Washington, D.C., where students complete an externship while taking classes online.

The new proposal would approximately double the number of credits law students may take online. (Most law schools require between 86 to 90 credits to graduates; hence, the new rule allows for 28 to 30 distance education credits.) That would enable law students to spend an entire year off campus in externships while still being able to graduate on time.

Legal Education | Permalink


What’s the ABA doing? They don’t seem to have a handle on law school regulation and accreditation. They are loathe to adopt clear bar pass standards because of regulatory capture by the for profits and the bad nonprofits. So we have a bad regulatory system that’s being bullied in Court because they’ve been unwilling or unable to adopt and enforce clear rules. Now, we see the demise of the LSAT and the rise of online ed. You made your bed, ABA and law faculty, now you have to lay in it.

Posted by: Anon | May 16, 2018 5:15:41 AM