California is a state that is located in the United States. It is the most populous and also the third-largest U.S. state by area with nearly 39.2 million residents. In the world, California holds the record of being the 34th most populous state.
The capital of the state is Sacramento but Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state. This article is not focused on online law schools in California.
Law schools are institutions that specialize in legal education. These schools happen to be part of the journey to becoming a lawyer.
An online law degree from any of the online law schools in California is meant to teach its students how to think critically and creatively. It also educates them on several legal doctrines and subjects that open their minds up.
There are several differences when you compare online law degrees to traditional law degrees, some of them can include the graduation time, flexibility of the program, outside opportunities, and admission requirements.
Now, if you would prefer a flexible law degree, you might want to take a look at online law degrees. They are way more flexible than traditional ones.
A Juris Doctor or J.D. for short simply means Doctor of Law. J.D. is a professional law degree that students can obtain after they graduate from law school. The degree allows you to sit for the bar exam and this gives you a license to practice.
An online J.D. degree program is either a mixture of online courses and on-campus instruction usually referred to as an online hybrid degree.
The online J.D degree can also be a fully online degree offered by a law school. These programs offer courses that are similar to the courses offered by traditional law schools.
The curriculum for a J.D. degree can include:
- Civil procedure.
- Constitutional law.
- Criminal law.
- Family law.
- Intellectual property law.
- Legal analysis and professional skills.
- Torts doctrine.
- Trial practice.
If you have an interest in becoming a lawyer in California, attending a law school is an important part of your journey. If you would prefer a flexible one, an online law school in California might just be the right fit for you.
There are some things you would have to consider before you decide, but once you have decided that this is what you want, then things can flow smoothly from there.
There are some steps you would need to follow to achieve your dream of becoming a lawyer. Here are the steps for becoming a lawyer in California with an online degree:
- Apply, enroll and complete your bachelor’s degree.
- Enroll in an online law school in California and complete your J.D. degree. We will talk about the steps to complete a J.D. degree below.
- Prepare for the California bar examination.
Here are the steps to complete a J.D. degree:
- You would have to meet the GPA requirement. This includes maintaining a minimum grade point average and finishing the curriculum.
- There are schools that might require a minimum number of credit hours for externships, clinics, and simulated courses. This would require that you solve a legal problem in the way you would if it were in a real-world situation.
- Finish up with a capstone project on a legal topic that shows your skills, analytically, in research and writing.
ABA Accreditation For Online Law Schools In California
The American Bar Association (ABA) is the national accreditor for law schools in America. If you attend a law school that is accredited by the ABA, this allows you to sit for the bar exam in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
This ABA seal on schools is some sort of approval that means the schools meet the quality standards for legal education.
Sadly, the ABA is yet to accredit any online law school in California. This is a result of the requirements they have for law schools.
But as there is an increase in online law schools, the association is now issuing waivers to programs that are hybrid to apply for accreditation.
The good news is that the state bar of California is among the few states that accredit law schools without the ABA. The students who graduate from these schools can sit for the bar exam even without ABA accreditation.
There are three online law schools that the state of California gave full accreditation in 2020. There are two other online schools that have submitted applications for state accreditation.
There are many other schools that are trying now to implement and completely have online law degrees. So, we see more of these online schools being established in the future.
The List of Online Law Schools In California
In order for you to decide on the online law school in California that is the best fit for you, you would have to consider some things.
These can include your career goals, the learning style that suits you, and of course, your financial budget. The online law schools in California we will be looking at are:
1. Concord Law School At Purdue University Global:
Concord Law School At Purdue University Global, formerly known as Concord University School of Law. It is an online law school that is based in California that was established in 1998.
It is one of the many schools that are in Purdue University Global. The school was the first fully online law school in the United States and is approved by the State Bar of California.
The school offers a legal education that is considered to be of quality. It also offers online flexibility and affordability.
The law school is also accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners which gives them the authority to offer a J.D. degree that makes the students qualified to meet the regulatory requirements to sit for the California Bar Examination and become eligible to practice law in the state.
The school offers an online law program that is rigorous and very convenient. It allows its students to work and does not need them to move close to the campus.
Concord Law School tuition and fees can be viewed here.
2. California School of Law:
California School of Law has the vision to make use of the emerging power of technology in the educational sector to make a better law school curriculum that is fully online.
This flexible and affordable law program means that most students can work and attend law school at the same time.
The goal of this Juris Doctorate online program is to give students an educational experience that resembles that of a traditional law school.
The California School of Law has made an online interactive education for law school possible for workers who have dreams of becoming a lawyer.
The school’s faculty is outstanding and it provides a curriculum that is comprehensive. All of these help students gain the legal skills and relevant knowledge they need for a successful career in law.
Details about tuition can be seen here.
3. St. Francis Law School:
St. Francis Law School is another online law school in California, it was founded in 2017. The program offers an emphasis on impacting students with the required skills training for professional practice.
When students complete this four-year program, they earn a J.D. degree. The program makes use of live online classes that are taught by highly competent professors.
This law school is registered with the State Bar of California and it is fully approved by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. This makes it possible for graduates of the school to sit for the California Bar Exam.
The school has a focus on quality legal training and professional soil development. Its curriculum is innovative and the faculty are highly accomplished. All these prepare students with the training they need to practice law effectively.
Details concerning the tuition at St. Francis can be seen here.
4. Northwestern California University School Of Law:
Northwestern California University School of Law was founded in 1982. It is an online law school that is approved by the State Bar of California. The school is registered to award the J.D. degree to students.
It is a part-time program that spans a timeframe of four years. It is the oldest online law school in the country.
The school has a program that is of high quality and very affordable. It also has a faculty that constitutes law professors who are readily available for all students.
You can take a look at the tuition and finances of the school here.
5. The USC Gould School of Law:
Students here get to go through an online law degree that can be ranked among the highly placed programs. The program is so flexible that it helps students juggle several priorities.
The University of Southern California (Gould) is also ranked No.20 in Best Law Schools. These schools are ranked by their performance across a number of indicators of excellence that are widely accepted.
You can take a look at the tuition and fees details here.
6. California Desert Trial Academy College of Law (CDTA):
California Desert Trial Academy College of Law has become a pro in utilizing a state-of-the-art online learning platform since 2012.
CDTA has affected distance learning with a complete aspect of its curriculum. The school takes full advantage of all the benefits that are provided by long-distance learning.
The school is accredited to offer these online courses for those that are interested. It focuses on providing an academic experience that is filled with the practical approach that is required to become a lawyer.
CDTA trains, educates and develops its students to become exceptional attorneys in California
The details of the tuition can be accessed here.
Is Online Law School Legit?
Even though the American Bar Association (ABA) is yet to accredit law schools in California with courses that are offered online entirely.
But, with the expansion and increase of online law schools, the ABA has started issuing waivers for programs that are hybrids so they can send in an application for accreditation.
Hybrid programs are programs that are a combination of traditional campus learning and online courses. On this note, online law schools are legit.
What Is A Juris Doctor Degree Equivalent To?
For us to answer this question of what a Juris Doctor degree is equivalent to, you should know that it is both complex and controversial.
A Ph.D. also known as a doctorate is the highest degree one can earn in several disciplines. It usually takes five years or more to finish up.
There are people who see a J.D. degree as functional to a Ph.D. A Juris Doctor degree is not the highest of the types of degrees one can obtain in law. There are other degrees one can earn; Master of Laws (LL.M.) or Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).
These are earned after you complete your J.D. degree. When trying to apply for a J.D. program, law schools need only a bachelor’s degree from you.
But then again, on other terms, a Juris Doctor degree is often seen as the highest academic distinction for always. Meaning that lawyers do not necessarily have to hold a doctorate.
Is A J.D. Worth It?
A Juris Doctor is, in every way, worth it. In a number of professions, the skills that accompany going through a law program can become an asset.
A career in law has good pay as a bonus. The top ten percent of lawyers can earn over $208,000. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With the increasing number of online law programs, you can earn a degree in law while you work without stress.
Are There Fully Online J.D. Programs Accredited By The ABA?
The answer to this is no. There are no fully online J.D. degree programs that are accredited by ABA.
While this is true, there are hybrid online J.D. programs that are accredited by the ABA. These hybrid programs combine the flexibility of online learning and the engagement of on-campus programs.
Must I Apply To A J.D. Degree Program Accredited By The ABA?
It is not mandatory that you go through a J.D degree program that is accredited by the ABA. Nonetheless, if you would prefer to be qualified to take the bar exam and practice in some states, you might have to attend a law degree that is accredited by the ABA.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A J.D. Degree Online?
For an online J.D. degree, it would take a student about three to four years to complete if they are in full-time enrolment.
A traditional J.D. degree will take the student three years to complete.
Can I Pursue a Law Degree Online?
This is what this entire article is all about. Yes, you can. You can apply for online law courses in California. Also, there are several institutions that offer online courses mixed with traditional on-campus education.
What Do I Need For Online Law Courses?
There are some basic things you would need to have to go through an online law course. A computer and an internet connection are part of these things.
When you have decided on your course of study, you might be required to pay fees. Although some courses might be free for some students.
How Will An Online Law Degree Benefit Me?
An online law course might just be the best way for you to enhance your knowledge in a field. These courses are beneficial to not only law students, but also to law practitioners and experts.
One benefit of these online degrees is that they save time for the students and allow them to attend these programs at any location that is convenient for them.
Let us take a closer look at the benefits of online law degrees:
- The fees of these courses are way cheaper when they are compared to the traditional law courses. The courses are budget friendly and not so expensive.
- For students who are also employed, an online law course will be an amazing option for them.
You can study from anywhere; at home or from the office. All you have to do is make sure you have an internet connection so you can attend classes.
- For people who already have a career and just want to switch, this is a great opportunity for them.
- For lawyers who would prefer to practice solo and not join any firm or organization, attending an online law will be a great choice for you.