The internet has revolutionized the way people live their lives. Data from The World Bank shows that nearly 91% of the population used the internet in 2020. Thanks to this deep penetration of the internet, not only can people buy things sitting in the comfort of their homes, manage their finances, access news and find numerous entertainment opportunities, but they can also pursue higher education to improve at their jobs or fulfill their career goals.
If you are a lawyer and want to expand your skill set or if you have always wanted to become a lawyer but never got the opportunity to fulfill this dream, now is the perfect time to enroll in an online law degree program. It has become common for workplaces and organizations to accept and recognize online education just like degrees from brick-and-mortar universities.
While not all subjects and topics are the right fit for online education, law degrees in particular are well-suited for this type of learning. Here are some compelling reasons why.
One of the most significant benefits of studying law online is the flexibility it provides. It is quite possible that you may be working and will not want to leave your job. If that is the case, then an online law degree program is the perfect choice. You can enroll in a part-time program so that you can continue to work while you study.
Furthermore, when you study law online, you can study at your own pace and schedule. You will have access to lectures, assignments and readings anytime and from anywhere in the world. Even if your current job involves traveling, you won’t miss out on anything. This flexibility enables you to balance your academic studies and your personal or professional commitments with ease.
When you are working or have family responsibilities, you may not be willing to uproot yourself and shift to a new city for higher education. With online education, you can attend classes from the comfort of your home. This also does away with the need to relocate or commute to school. As a result, you save time and money and other expenses that are associated with attending a traditional law school.
Numerous online law programs are cost-effective and offer a convenient alternative if you do not have the resources or the time to attend an in-person law school. This can be a boon for those students who have other financial obligations and do not want to spend their savings or take out student loans to achieve their career goals.
Engaging course materials
If you think an online law program will not keep you engaged, this is far from the truth. To ensure students get the maximum out of the JD program online, universities like Cleveland State University (CSU) offer experiential learning opportunities. The online JD program at CSU provides externships with a judge or attorney supervising you to help students get the practical knowledge they need. As a part of the JD program, CSU has six in-person residencies, but they will not interfere with your work life as they are slated for the weekends. These residencies enable you to connect with notable judges and lawyers and also hone your skills in an advanced trial courtroom on campus.
You will find that studying law online offers a more diverse and inclusive learning experience. Professors provide personalized feedback to students and ensure they get the support they require. Of course, many programs are also designed to encourage self-directed learning so that you become responsible for your learning. As a result, this hones your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential if you want to be successful in the legal profession.
Interactive learning experience
One of the keys to the success of online courses is using a variety of interactive tools and resources to keep students engaged and promote active learning. Some courses use virtual simulations to help students practice their legal skills in realistic settings. These simulations can help students who do not have access to clinical programs. For example, CSU provides clinic programs supervised by clinic professors to help students get legal practice experience by serving real clients with genuine legal problems.
Online courses help students build their communication skills, which are vital in the legal field. During the course of your program, you will use a range of online communication tools, such as chat rooms, emails, and discussion forums to collaborate with peers, exchange ideas and participate in group projects. You will also receive regular assessments and feedback to help you improve.
Innovative learning models
Online law courses often use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning methods. Synchronous learning involves real-time interactions with instructors, while asynchronous learning enables students to access course materials at their own pace. Some courses use a flipped classroom learning model, wherein students are in control of their learning as they review course materials outside the classroom and enjoy active learning activities in class. This enables students to have a more engaged learning session and allows them to apply their knowledge and develop essential legal skills such as legal writing, research and advocacy.
Many online law programs offer access to legal experts and practitioners. Usually, these courses are taught by experienced lawyers, judges and legal scholars. You will gain valuable insights into the legal profession; pursue a specialization to become a criminal lawyer, liability lawyer, probate lawyer or any other kind of specialist attorney; and acquire the right skills. Some programs also offer mentorships that helps you connect with professionals in this field and guide your professional development.
Challenges and considerations
While online learning benefits law students, there are a few challenges that you should keep in mind. You need to be self-motivated and disciplined since you will need to take greater responsibility for your learning. Also, make sure you have access to reliable and stable technology so that it does not interfere with your learning goals.
Some students may feel that they do not get the same level of face-to-face interaction as in a traditional classroom setting. However, this can be overcome by opting for a university that has in-campus residencies. Just ensure that you enroll in an accredited program that enables you to learn core legal concepts, hone your problem-solving skills, perform legal research and analysis, and inculcate competencies that you need for ethical legal practice. Also, if you have an interest in a specific area, make sure that the program offers specialized courses, such as health law, cybersecurity law, criminal law and corporate compliance. This will ensure you can achieve your academic and career goals seamlessly.