Login | February 19, 2019

Dayton Law gets approval for online degree

Technology for Lawyers

Published: June 22, 2018

The University of Dayton School of Law received approval from the American Bar Association to offer a “hybrid” online law degree. The new program will begin in 2019.

The ABA granted a variance to the school in early May after a fairly short application and review process, said law school dean Andrew Strauss. “We proposed it about a year ago, and there was a lot to do,” he said. The proposal had to go through a three-tier approval process, and the ABA was sufficiently impressed to sign off on it.

The program is called “hybrid” because it combines online and in-person classes, and also because it combines live and prerecorded classroom settings, said Strauss. The program is limited to 50 students in two classes of 25 each and is designed for people in remote areas—both in and outside of the US-- who could not access a legal education without traveling long distances or living in difficult circumstances.

“We want to increase access to legal education, which equates to increasing access to justice, especially in rural areas” where legal counsel is difficult to obtain, said Strauss.

Strauss said that the ABA needed an in-person component to the program, but that that could be accomplished by a planned one-week introductory course at the Dayton campus.

The program is being designed and built in conjunction with online education giant 2U, which handles other online programs for the university.

The courses will consist of about half prerecorded materials and half live classroom. It will be a different way of teaching for the faculty, of course, said Strauss. The classes will have to be designed and recorded before the beginning of the semester. No more winging it for the teaching staff—which is basically how I taught law classes in college for all those years.

The tuition will also reflect the need to pay for the technology behind the program, so there will be a premium, Strauss said—although they don’t yet have a solid figure for that.

So—if this news is in this column, this is about far-seeing tech, correct? That’s what Strauss (who seems like a really good guy) thinks. “This is a new model for the next century of legal education,” he said. Yeah, could be.