Dear Commons Community,
The law school of Washington University in St. Louis announced yesterday that it would offer, entirely online, a master’s degree in United States law intended for lawyers practicing overseas, in partnership with 2tor, an education technology company. The significance of this is that law schools have been slow to move to online classes, and the new master’s program is perhaps the earliest partnership between a top-tier law school and a commercial enterprise. The New York Times is reporting that:
“Washington University will share the revenues from the $48,000 program — the same tuition paid by students at the St. Louis campus — with 2tor, which will provide marketing, the Web platform and technical support, including a staff member to monitor each live class and deal with any technical problems that arise.
2tor, a four-year-old company based in Maryland, has partnerships in place with the University of Southern California, Georgetown and the University of North Carolina for online graduate degree programs in education, business, public administration and nursing.
Largely because of American Bar Association rules, however — under which approved law schools may not count more than 12 credits of distance education toward a Juris Doctor degree — legal education has been slow to shift to online classes. Students who earn a J.D. from a bar association-approved law school are automatically eligible to take the bar exam nationwide.
But beyond that, each state sets its rules on who can take the bar exam. California, for example, is the only state that allows graduates of Concord Law School — which is not approved by the bar association, but offers a fully online Juris Doctor — to take its bar exam.
The bar association does not approve master’s programs, beyond certifying that a new one at an approved law school will not detract from the J.D. program.
About a dozen states allow some Master of Law holders to qualify for the bar exam, but in New York, those with master’s degrees are not eligible if they earned the degree online.”
Another online education barrier broken!