Paul L. Caron

Saturday, September 25, 2021

How St. Mary's Law School Convinced The ABA To Approve First-Ever Remote JD Program

Following up on my previous post, St. Mary's To Launch Nation's First Fully Online ABA-Accredited JD Degree In Fall 2022 With 25 Students:, How St. Mary's Law School Convinced the ABA to Approve First-Ever Remote JD Program:

St. Mary's LogoLast week, St. Mary’s University School of Law became the first to offer an online-only Juris Doctor program that received American Bar Association accreditation. The five-year pilot is set to launch in the fall with 25 students remotely attending the San Antonio-based law school’s virtual part-time J.D. program.

The secret sauce for ABA approval? St. Mary’s University School of Law Dean Patricia Roberts noted her law school already had a real-time yearly assessment in place that tracks each student’s progress. “We could say to the ABA we are already tracking that and we can track that with the [new] cohort and the ABA can use that to inform future decisions about online J.D. programs,” Roberts said.

Plus, law schools’ sudden pivot to online education during the pandemic seemed to accelerate law school leadership‘s and the ABA’s interest in permanent remote education, Roberts added. “Because of the pandemic and everyone having to move online it’s probably one of the reasons the ABA decided to approve this pilot because they’ve seen legal education can be delivered online,” she noted.

Below, Roberts discusses the challenges of implementing an online-only J.D. program and why there won’t be an avalanche of online law school graduates battling for limited jobs.

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