Paul L. Caron

Friday, September 25, 2020

Suffolk Is Twelfth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.

Suffolk Law Launches Innovative Hybrid JD Program:

Hybrid JDA new approach
Suffolk University Law School has launched a pioneering new Hybrid JD Program (HJD). The program is the first to offer full- and part-time students a traditional in-person first-year classroom experience, followed by the option of taking all remaining classes online. By enrolling in the same first-year courses as all other students, HJD students will have an opportunity to develop close connections with classmates and faculty, while gaining a new level of flexibility to live and work where they want during the remainder of law school. Applications are available now to enroll beginning fall 2021.

Flexible time and location
“The hybrid JD gives students an opportunity to take advantage of what downtown Boston has to offer, including international leadership in law, finance, healthcare, and technology,” says Suffolk Law Dean Andrew Perlman. “At the same time, HJD students will have the option of living or working farther from campus after the first year of law school. This flexibility will allow students to balance a legal education in Boston with other important aspects of their lives, like pursuing work outside of the city, living closer to family, or living in a low cost-of-living region.”

The HJD approach meshes well with Suffolk Law’s mission of providing an outstanding legal education to people from all backgrounds. In 1906, school founder Gleason Archer began teaching small law classes in his home for working-class people and immigrants.

The program updates this longstanding mission for our generation, says Perlman. “The need to pursue employment far from campus or to live in a lower-cost region shouldn’t prevent people from attending an outstanding law school in a major city like Boston.”

The HJD is a natural extension of the school’s top 30-ranked part-time evening program and the accelerated JD program, which allows full-time or part-time students to attend classes year round and graduate one year sooner than in a traditional JD program.

“Modern law students deserve flexibility,” Perlman says, “both in terms of time and geography. The HJD program advances this goal.”

Students will be required to complete 84 credits to graduate, just as traditional JD students, and will have access to the same extracurricular activities and support services, including student groups, law journals, bar prep classes, academic support, alumni networking programs, and career services. HJD students will pay the same tuition as traditional JD students.

The right time
“Long before the pandemic, we saw a trend in the legal industry--a steady movement towards online work and collaboration. COVID-19 has accelerated that transition,” Perlman explains. “By taking classes online and learning how to use remote collaboration tools,” he says, “law school graduates will be in a better position to succeed in a profession that increasingly expects lawyers to be able to perform effectively while working remotely.”

“The HJD program is a unique opportunity, and we’re able to be in the right time and place to launch it,” says Professor Gabe Teninbaum, who will oversee day-to-day operations of the program in his role as the law school’s Assistant Dean for Innovation, Strategic Initiatives & Distance Education.

Teninbaum brings a deep background to the role. In 2017, the ABA Journal called him "perhaps the most tech-savvy law professor in the country."

“We’ll have a small cohort to start,” Teninbaum adds, “and those students will have certain qualities they share; they’ll be the innovators, the first-adopters. In this unprecedented time, that’s a good person to be.”

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