A recent article published by the American Bar Association, Solving the Other Legal Education Crisis, by Darth Vaughn and Casey Flaherty proposes that “the bar can do quite a bit to ensure that law students do not graduate with such a crushing debt burden,” and should “make law school less expensive and more affordable.”

While the ABA does not yet accredit fully online law schools like St. Francis School of Law, the authors critique digital classrooms on demand, which form the core of continuing legal education.  The paradigm described (watching recorded lectures) involves a common misconception about online legal education.  The Juris Doctor program at St. Francis School of Law is well ahead of the curve.    

Many technology platforms programs today facilitate live face to face, voice to voice, real-time interaction.  St. Francis currently uses WebEx, the same technology widely used in business to facilitate online meetings.  Our program employs the Socratic method, which involves frequent dialog with students, so that students are called on in class, meaning that they do have to be fully prepared, and to pay attention.  Our classes are small, so everyone is engaged.

In addition, leveraging technology brings down the cost of legal education, addressing the authors’ concern about the burden of debt on students.