Paul L. Caron

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Syracuse's Inaugural Hybrid Online JD Class Has Higher LSAT Scores Than Its Brick-And-Mortar 1L Class

Syracuse 3Following up on my previous posts:, Syracuse's New Online JD Portends Popularity of Hybrid Programs:

Syracuse University College of Law this week kicked off its hybrid Juris Doctor program in which students complete the bulk of their coursework online—only the second such program in the nation approved by the American Bar Association.

The inaugural cohort of Syracuse’s JDinteractive program comprises 32 students selected from a pool of 241 applicants. The online students were subject to the same admissions standards as applicants to Syracuse’s residential program, and in fact the LSAT scores of the first admitted online class were higher than those of the residential students, said Nina Kohn, associate dean for online education at the school.

The high interest in Syracuse’s new hybrid bodes well for other schools with plans to break into online J.D.s. (Many law schools already offer LL.M.s, Masters in Law, and certificates online, but schools have experienced more barriers to obtain accreditation of online J.D.s, because of the ABA’s 30-credit limit on distance education.) Like Syracuse, Southwestern Law School and the University of Dayton School of Law have received variances from the ABA to offer those hybrid J.D.s that exceed the 30-credit limit, but those two programs aren’t due to launch until August. Still other schools have or plan to add hybrid programs that work within the existing 30-credit limitation by incorporating more on-campus time.

Mitchell Hamline School of Law in 2015 launched the first hybrid program and graduated its first class of online students in early 2018. (A spokesman for the St. Paul school said Wednesday that 292 students are currently enrolled in its hybrid program, but Mitchell Hamline doesn’t yet have bar pass data for the 73 graduates.)

Syracuse’s hybrid differs from existing offerings in part due to its emphasis on online classes delivered in real-time, alongside the more common self-paced online classes of other programs that allow students to complete them at their convenience. JDinteractive took four years of planning, Kohn said, and classes are taught primarily by the school’s regular law faculty.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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As an online LLM graduate in Health Law (Concord, 2004), I applaud Syracuse going online for most of the JD program. Distance learning is done because not everyone lives close to a brick and mortar facility to go to law school. Hope more law schools take Syracuse's lead.

Posted by: Robert Alpiner | Jan 13, 2019 9:38:34 AM