Wed, 04 Jun 2003 15:39:27 GMT

First Net-schooled Lawyers Pass The Bar. Back in November we had an article about the first graduating class from Concord law school – the first entirely online law school. The question at that time was how well would the students do on the bar exam. The results are now in. 10 students from the graduating class took the California Bar (the only state bar that would let the students from such a non-ABA-accredited university take the exam) and six of them passed. All in all, that compares favorably with the overall performance – where just over 50% passed the exam. While some have snickered at the idea of going to law school online, those who made it through seem quite thrilled with the overall experience. They say that, contrary to popular opinion, their class was quite social – using instant messaging, email, and phone conversations to stay in touch and help each other out. Also, while some people are saying that having a degree from such a school will not reflect well on them in a job search, most of these students don’t care. They didn’t go to Concord to follow the traditional lawyer path. Most of them did so in order to further advance their career path at their current non-lawyer job. It will be interesting to see if this “success” story will make some soften their stance towards online education for legal training.

I find this fascinating for several reasons. First, that only California would allow them to take the bar exams. Says something about the ability of lawyers to limit access to their profession. Second, doing as well as they did for an online course is great. Such onlines course open access to a huge number of people, increasing the diversity of viewpoint. It will be interesting to see what sorts of careers these people pursue. Could there actually be areas where more lawyers with more diverse points of view are needed? We could see. But the final thing I liked was how the students found ways to carry on social interactions. This is a crucial aspect for any online classes. WIthout social interactions, learning is hampered.