preLaw - Spring 2017 - 12
Under this business plan, a person could
be teaching as an adjunct professor at several law schools at once.
Randall said he expects the need for
online courses to increase as law becomes
more specialized and law schools look for
better economies of scale.
Catherine Carpenter, a law professor at
Southwestern Law School and a leading
authority on curricula, has suggested law
schools should focus on their core specialties and leave other specialty areas to other
"It would be wonderful if individual
schools did not feel the need to provide
courses in all specialties, but allowed students to take courses at other schools," she
said at the Association of American Law
Schools conference in 2015.
She said law schools could then cut back
on staffing and be more efficient.
William Byrnes, another pioneer in
online legal education, said it provides great
benefits for students.
"For one thing, it means a lot for those
in Middle America or in Montana who
have lived too far away from a law school
to make a J.D. practical," said Byrnes, the
associate dean for special projects at Texas
A&M University School of Law. "It's also
possible, for example, that in the second
year of law school, a student can use his or
her distance credits by going to Brazil or
Paris for a spring term of online study while
that student has a deep immersion experience in another culture. After spending the
summer abroad - while possibly having an
externship as well - a student can return
for the last year at a U.S. law school. If
you do that, you can participate in whatever type of bar review that your school will
offer. None of that flexibility was possible
Duhl said online courses allow students
to accept externships anywhere in the world
and still take a full course load.
"For a lot of students, this is more convenient," Duhl said. "And the learning out-
comes are just as good."
In addition to the 30 schools that work
with iLawVentures, several other schools
have expanded their online offerings in
The John Marshall Law School in
Chicago and Loyola University Chicago
School of Law are both at the forefront,
offering dozens of online classes. Loyola
University Chicago will offer more than
30 health law courses online this summer.
Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland,
Ore., is offering distance education for
courses in environmental and animal law.
"[Summer courses] help students get
ahead, and it provides incremental revenue
for law schools in the summer, because it is
a downtime otherwise," Randall said.
But it's not just summer and specialty
courses that are being offered online.
Syracuse University College of Law
announced last spring that it would offer
a hybrid J.D. program once it receives
approval from the ABA. It is working with