The advent of the Internet has affected virtually every sphere of human endeavors and activities. Many things can now be done online, including accessing education. A good number of educational degrees are now being obtained online. If you are someone interested in law profession, you may be wondering, can you get an online law degree? The answer to that question is a “yes,” but there is more you need to be aware about. Read on to find out more.
Truth about Online Law Degree
In obtaining a law degree, it is traditionally expected of intending lawyers to attend law schools accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Without attending these brick-and-mortal schools, you will not be allowed to sit for the bar exam to qualify as a practicing lawyer. No online law school is accredited by the ABA, which means law degrees obtained from such should not qualify its students to sit for a bar exam. But law practice in America is regulated by individual states — more precisely, by the highest court in each of these states. This fact enables California to stand out as the only one of all states in the US that allows those with online law degrees to practice law. The state has been enabling those who got their law degrees through distance learning, even prior to the advent of online law schools, to practice law.
Becoming a Practicing Lawyer with Online Law Degree
California is obviously the only state that offers you the opportunity to become a practicing lawyer with an online law degree. But you will need to meet the requirements laid down by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. One of these is that you display intellectual ability on par with that of a second-year college student. In addition, you need to do more than 860 hours of study a year with an online school registered with the Committee.
After registering as a law student and taking your classes, you will be expected to sit for and successfully negotiate the first-year examination, which is administered twice a year. Your moral standing and reputation will also be verified to see if you are qualified to become a lawyer, with this process involving getting your fingerprints and checking your criminal and driving records. You will be required to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. At the completion of your online law degree and if considered qualified, you are to then sit for the California Bar Exam. You will become qualified to practice law in California if you pass this exam. It takes about four years to complete an online law degree program.
Practicing Law in Other State
The 49 other states require would-be lawyers to be products of schools accredited by the ABA, which does not approve of online law schools. You seemingly cannot practice in these other states then. But this is not totally true. Some states do allow lawyers licensed in California to practice in them under a reciprocity agreement. You need to have been practicing law for at least five years to enjoy such a privilege, though. Alternatively, you may qualify to sit for other states’ bar exams by going for a Master of Law degree accredited by the ABA. You may also choose to practice exclusively in federal courts in other states with your California Bar license.
It is obviously possible to become a practicing lawyer by getting an online law degree. However, in making your decision, you need to be aware that some employers may be reluctant to offer high-paying jobs to online graduates.