Dean Chemerinsky and the founding faculty of U.C. Irvine School of Law have declared their dedication to putting together a 21st century law school. However, it looks like the folks at Concord School of Law may have beaten them to the punch.
Concord, which claims to be at the vanguard of law school programs, is the nation’s first fully online law school. That’s right, no stuffy libraries, no Socratic method, no oh-my-god-I’m-late-to-class. Concord calls it “distance learning.” Unfortunately for them, the ABA calls it “non-accredited.”
10 years ago, when Concord opened its doors, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg went out of her way to criticize the idea in a speech at Rutgers University. Last month, however, she watched as four Concord alums were sworn in as members of the Supreme Court bar.
Without ABA accreditation (due mostly to lack of substantial face-to-face classroom time), online law schools are probably not the wave of the future. However, for people with family obligations or geographic limitations, schools like Concord seem to be an increasingly viable option.