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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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