The Case for Online Law Degrees: You Be The Judge

Do courtrooms captivate you? Do you practically live for “Perry Mason” and “Matlock” reruns? When caught in some mischief, misconduct, or malfeasance while yet a youngster, did you present zealous arguments against punishment to parental authorities?

Maybe you have a highly-honed hidden bent for debate and dispute. You might currently hold a professional position of a very different perspective and want to switch sides. Or, perhaps you strenuously object to your dead-end circumstantial situation. Today’s class will explore, evaluate, and critique the evidence for obtaining an online law degree. All rise and come to order; class is now in session.

First, the facts

The term “law degree” may connote various meanings. Throughout this presentation, the term denotes a Juris Doctorate (“JD”). This is a graduate degree specifically designed to qualify students for state bar exam passage and subsequent law practice.

Nearly every state requires a JD earned through a program accredited by the American Bar Association (“ABA”) as condition precedent for attorney licensure. California is a notable exception. As of date, the ABA does not accredit any online law degree program that includes exclusively virtual study in excess of 12 credit hours. JD degrees typically require a total of 85-95 credit hours for completion.

If you want to be a lawyer, prepare yourself for physical class attendance. The portion of your legal education attainable online still offers significant savings. Being able to complete even part of your program while maintaining current income or incur relocation and commuting expenses is significant.

As elsewhere, technology has permeated the legal professional quite liberally. Although the majority of your studies may be completed on-campus, high-tech legal research tools such as online databases and external electronic storage media have revolutionized the study and practice of law.

Legal precedents and news developments that impact your specific area of law practice are available at your fingertips and updated hourly. While a student, you can avail yourself of high-tech study aids such as Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (“CALI”).

This specialized software is designed to prepare law students for final examinations in specific law school subjects. Other multimedia aids such as DVDs and interactive CDs feature real-life instruction in Trial Advocacy and Appellate Argument.

Strong arguments for the alternatives

Opportunities for online study abound for those desiring law-related positions that do not require legal licensure. One such popular career path is Court Reporting. This profession can also be quite lucrative. Unlike stenographers commonly employed in business offices, court reporters are officers of the courts that employ them.

Their transcriptions represent the official record of formal legal proceedings. Such a task is not to be taken lightly, class. Higher court appeals, lower court criminal sentencing, and civil damage awards depend heavily upon recordations of these dedicated professionals. Moreover, these folks are empowered to administer

legally binding witness oaths prior to taking testimony.

Many court reporters are self-employed and earn six-figure incomes from transcribing testimony at depositions or administrative proceedings. Even those holding full-time court employment can earn substantial side income through independent transcript preparation for private attorneys and litigants.

The case for paralegals and other supporting staff

Paralegals and Certified Legal Assistants are vital to efficient law practice. Even small law firms operated by sole practitioners invariably have at least one such staff member. These vital assistants conduct client interviews, legal research, and document preparation.

Legal secretaries are also indispensable. Law practice is paper-intensive. Voluminous motions, briefs, written correspondence, and documentation are the order of the day. Specialized office management skills are imperative to maintain proper order and supervision of this perpetual paper tide. One missed deadline or careless disclosure of confidential data will have disastrous consequences.

Other law-related professions

Careers as a court bailiff, Court Administrator, or Court Clerk are also attractive. A major benefit of such positions is job security. Such personnel are typically employees of local or state governments. Concurrent fringe benefits and retirement pensions are usually quite substantial. Most of these positions require a bachelor’s degree in a legal or administrative field of study.

Many online educational and training programs exist to prepare you for entry into any of the above law-related careers. As always, the savings you realize from avoiding associated expenses of traditional studies are substantial.

Begin formal preparations right now. Conduct a search engine query to find an online program that fits your particular case. After thoroughly weighing and analyzing all evidence, you will reach the only reasonable verdict. Law is a rewarding, dignified career. We are hereby adjourned. Class is dismissed.