Law.com, Hybrid JD Programs Gaining More Traction at Law Schools:
After Mitchell Hamline’s hybrid J.D. program was approved, Paul Caron wrote in his Dec. 19, 2013, blog: “It’s the first such program at a fully accredited law school. And depending on whom you ask, it’s a risky, or a long overdue, venture that could shake up the tradition-bound halls of legal education.”
The word “hybrid” has become a buzzword since the COVID-19 pandemic started, but some law schools have been approved to offer hybrid J.D. programs for nearly a decade. And that number is growing.
Cleveland–Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law submitted applications for substantive change to the American Bar Association this month for variances to establish part-time hybrid distance education J.D. programs. ...
According to the ABA website, ... 11 law schools [have] hybrid J.D. programs. The site lists these schools, along with the date the hybrid J.D. programs were approved:
- Mitchell Hamline College of Law—December 2013 (more here, here, and here)
- Syracuse University College of Law—February 2018 (more here, here, here, here, here, and here)
- University of Dayton School of Law—May 2018
- University of New Hampshire School of Law—February 2019
- Suffolk University Law School—August 2020
- Seattle University School of Law—February 2021
- St. Mary’s University School of Law—May 2021 (more here and here)
- South Texas College of Law-Houston—February 2022
- Vermont Law School—February 2022
- Loyola Law School (Los Angeles)—February 2022
- Northeastern University School of Law—May 2022
There are more law schools, however, offering hybrid J.D. programs, such as the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Touro University Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and Southwestern Law School Los Angeles.
Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts dean and professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, reported on his TaxProf Blog in March that South Texas College of Law-Houston and Vermont Law School became the 14th and 15th schools to offer hybrid online J.D.s.
“If the school does not exceed our distance education credits, they don’t need to apply for a substantive change,” Adams told Law.com Thursday. “Because the Department of Education changed its guidance, we now and have recently been requiring schools to apply for a substantive change when they exceed the limits pursuant to its requirements.” If a program also exceeds the 10-credit limit during the first year, they have to apply for both a substantive change and a variance to that rule, he said.
Thus, the first few schools received variances and the more recent ones have substantive change acquiescences, Adams said.
An ABA-approved law school may grant up to one-third of the credit hours required for the J.D. degree for distance education courses. If a law school wishes to grant more than one-third of the credit hours required for the J.D. degree for distance education courses, it must apply for a substantive change under Standard 105 and Rule 24, according to the ABA website.