Studying law online

January 3, 2013
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Schools across the country are offering more law-related classes online, and they aren’t just for enrolled students.

The latest is Harvard Law School, which is kicking off a 12-week copyright class this month. The class is free and open to 500 students, and it will include online seminars and pre-recorded and live webcasts. Students will have a final exam.

As long as you’re at least 13 years old, proficient in English and want to actively participate, you’re allowed to sign up.

Through Coursera, a company that partners with universities around the world to offer free online classes to anyone, people can take classes in “Property and Liability: an Introduction to Law and Economics;” “English Common Law: An Introduction;” or “The Law of the European Union: An Introduction.”

Last year, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction offered a Massively Open Online Course on topics in digital law practice. The free, nine-week course was open to anyone and looked at the changes happening in the practice of law. CALI is a nonprofit consortium of law schools whose mission includes promoting “access to justice through the use of computer technology.” Other lessons on CALI’s site include criminal law, torts, patent law and employment discrimination.

Indiana’s law schools, to my knowledge, haven’t offered any free classes open to the public. Indiana University Maurer School of Law is a member of the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction and encourages first-year students to take a look at the subject offerings.

Have you ever taken a free online course about the law? Which one did you take and did you find it helpful? Do you think law schools should consider offering their students more online courses to earn law degrees?


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