Student Services

Utilizing Online Education to Pursue a Legal Degree

Pursuing a legal education is a lofty and admirable goal that requires an enormous amount of dedication and commitment to academic excellence throughout your undergraduate and post-graduate studies. With the rapid development of online and distance education there are more opportunities than ever before to pursue a legal degree in Oregon, and more flexibility for non-traditional students to enjoy the same benefits offered through higher education that are available to conventional brick-and-mortar style students living on campus.

Currently, you cannot earn a law degree through a fully online program in the state of Oregon. The American Bar Association (ABA) takes the stance that certain critical parts of the law curriculum cannot be recreated in the online environment, and has declined to accredit any fully online program, making it impossible for graduates of such an institution to take the bar exam in Oregon and begin practicing law.

The ABA is not completely opposed to online education however, and has indicated that it is open to currently accredited institutions increasing their online offerings and already allows for up to 12 hours of the law curriculum to be taken in an online setting. There are currently three ABA accredited law schools in Oregon:

 

It is hopeful that in the coming years, all of these programs will increase their support of online legal education and increase the number of online course offerings available in their law schools.

Online Education as Preparation

In addition to complementing the law education experience, online legal education can begin during undergraduate studies with courses aimed specifically at building the skills, knowledge, and learning abilities that will be essential to a successful law student. Law school is not simply a continuation of your undergraduate education, but a departure in teaching styles and the means in which you learn the material.

Fortunately, online courses can help you to prepare for law school in ways that undergraduate curriculum do not by helping to focus directly on the skills and abilities you will need in the law education environment rather than simply teaching you the raw information contained within the coursework.

For example, Oregon State University offers an online pre-law school summer course that lasts for 12 weeks and is designed to help students succeed in law school and have a strong application. More information on this program can be found at: http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-degrees/undergraduate/pre-law/

Taking courses online which focus on specific law topics, force you to prepare for finals without med-term grades to gauge your progress, and force you to absorb large amounts of information quickly will be a valuable asset as you move forward with your law education.