Online Law School

ABA accredited online law schools for obtaining an online law degree do not yet exist. ABA approved online law schools don't exist yet because the ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools currently do not allow for an online law school Juris Doctor degree program. ABA online law school Standard 306 allows an ABA approved law school to award up to 12 credits toward the JD degree for distance education courses, but does not set any guidelines or standards for online law schools for receiving an online law degree. ABA accredited law schools can only grant four credits a semester and students can’t take online law school classes in their first year of law school.

The State Bar of California allows online law schools, in order to provide alternative students an opportunity to receive a legal education. One online law school that provides this opportunity for an online law degree is the California School of Law.

In reviewing ABA accreditation standards, including “Standard 306,” which applies to online law schools and receiving an online law degree. Bucky Askew, the ABA’s staff consultant on legal education, predicts that the ABA will, indeed, broaden its standards for online law schools when it addresses the issue next year.

“In the case of distance education, I think there is interest in reviewing it more comprehensively,” says Askew. “My guess is it will probably result in the standard permitting more [distance education credits] in the future, based on what I’ve observed and heard.”

The ABA reviews its standards every five years. Up until 2000, it did not allow any distance education credits to be part of a law degree, says Askew. Then the ABA began allowing traditional law schools to offer a few online courses. “My guess is they decided to start slowly to permit schools to do this on a fairly limited basis and see how it goes,” says Askew.

Donald Polden, Dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law and chair of the ABA's Accreditation Standards Review Committee, says he anticipates that the ABA could expand the current 12-hour threshold, though he can't foresee a future where the classroom setting is marginalized at ABA accredited law schools.

"There's growing comfort with online education as a useful and meaningful method of offering a part of the law school curriculum," he says. "[But], for a high quality program, you have to have students together because so much of learning happens in that interaction in the classroom space."

ABA approved online law schools

The legal profession has traditionally been conservative and slow to adapt to change. Also, there is no pressure on the ABA approve online law schools, since bricks-and-mortar schools are having no problem attracting applicants to pay their hefty tuition.

More than 100,000 people apply annually for 45,000 open seats at ABA-accredited law schools. Average cost of law school is upwards of $50,000 to $150,000 for a degree, depending whether a school is public or private.

The California School of Law provides a online law school experience similar to that at ABA accredited law schools. At the California School of Law the virtual classes meet each week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, with students and professors participating in a live video conference in which they discuss and debate the law, as if they were physically in the same room. In class, students and professors utilize the traditional Socratic Method of legal education used at prestigious residential law schools.

The Classes are paced and the tuition of $7,500.00 a year is a cost that is manageable for a working adult. State of the art technology enables students to submit examinations, essays and memoranda of law online, for professors to review, discuss, and grade. The online technology also enables the students to form study groups as at ABA law schools in which they discuss cases, trade class outlines, prep for tests and make friends and networking connections that may last a lifetime.

In conclusion, the ABA continues to remain behind the technological curve when it comes to ABA accrediting online law schools that use technology to facilitate legal education. Online law schools provide students with access to a law degree, which they may have never been able to obtain due to outrageous tuition at traditional brick and mortar law schools and the additional costs associated with relocation. Luckily, for this new generation of law students, schools like the California School of Law are utilizing technology without sacrificing the benefits of traditional legal pedagogy.

The California School of Law, offers all the benefits of a traditional law school education at a fraction of the price of the ABA accredited online law schools. Prospective law students need not wait for ABA accredited online law school they can to see for themselves what the opportunities are at California Approved online law schools.

Online Law School
5276 Hollister Ave, Suite 262
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
Phone: 805-770-3030

About CSL

This website is a look into the experience and excitement of attending the California School of Law, where a rich diversity of people, perspectives and opinions are found.

The range of academic activities, along with a highly qualified faculty, makes each day a legal adventure for our students. The Law School will expect much of you; indeed, from the very first day, the Law School will challenge you to think and do things you did not know you could accomplish. The experience will reward you by exposing you to ideas that inspire and teach skills and ways of thought that will serve as the foundation of your legal career, as well as enrich your personal life.


Financial Aid

California School of Law is pleased to offer students several affordable and attractive law school installment plans ("CSL Loan"). All law school installment plans require some payment while attending law school. All students enrolled in the California School of Law will be approved for a law school installment plan. Tuition is charged by the trimester, not the year, keeping both the principal and interest low. Federal financial aid is not available to our students at this time.
Please note that as CSL is the lender, these are installment plans, not loan repayment plans.

Monthly payments are due by the 15th of each month.


Review our online law school FAQ to learn the answers to the most common online law schools frequently asked questions, and how the answers might differ from traditional law school FAQs

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5276 Hollister Ave, Suite 262
Santa Barbara, CA 93111


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The Socratic Method

Most law schools in the United States teach by the question and answer Socratic Method. Under this system of legal instruction, students are assigned cases and statutes to read and brief before class. Then, in-class presentations are made and students are questioned by the professors about the assigned cases and statutes, regarding the facts, rule of law or the court's reasoning.

Law schools use the Socratic Method in order to teach students how to analyze and make legal arguments, how to properly read and brief cases and, lastly, how to prepare for the pressures and rigors of a legal practice. For an article on how the Socratic Method is not only utilized at law schools, but indeed is spreading to business schools, medical schools and beyond, go to Harvard Magazine

In California School of Law's virtual classrooms, students and faculty discuss and argue rules of law, live and in real time. The virtual classroom have live video conference which provides all of the benefits of the Socratic Method. The program is not self-study, text messaging or a chat room, nor is it watching a DVD or video download, as is done at other distance learning law schools.

California School of Law students form study groups that enable them to share ideas, research results, test strategies and develop valuable networking relationships, perhaps for a lifetime, as they would at a traditional residential law school.

At the California School of Law you will be challenged, as is necessary to develop highly-tuned analytical verbal and writing legal skills. But the School's curriculum, workload and pace are designed for persons who have full time jobs or have family commitments that would make it difficult or perhaps impossible for them to attend a traditional residential law school.

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