Keep Distance Education for Law Schools: Online Education, the Pandemic, and Access to Justice
22 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2021 Last revised: 24 Nov 2021
Date Written: July 27, 2021
While distance education made inroads throughout higher education, law schools kept their distance—until a global pandemic forced them all online for a time. Then the gatekeepers to the profession at the American Bar Association and state bars temporarily dropped their limits on distance learning. Now as American law schools prepare to return to normalcy, should distance learning remain an option? This essay argues that it should because it has potential to improve access to justice: distance education can reduce the costs of law school, increasing the supply of lawyers who can afford to provide less expensive legal services. Now is the time for legal regulators to make permanent what they allowed temporarily during the pandemic: distance-education-friendly accreditation and bar admission standards.
Keywords: Legal education, distance education, pandemic, accreditation standards, bar associations
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