You are often asked what makes St. Francis School of Law different from other law schools?
St. Francis School of Law is a cutting edge, innovative online Juris Doctor program. There is nothing like it that I am aware of anywhere in legal education. Our program differs from traditional legal education in many ways because it is a distance learning or online program. In traditional legal education students are typically in large classes, and have little interaction with professors, and typically, few assignments. Many people will tell you they did not learn how to practice law in those programs.
How do the classes work?
Our program involves small classes (15 students or less) and extensive interaction with professors, with weekly assignments that require students to apply the law they are learning. Many of these assignments involve the development of professional legal skills. To see how it works, check out the video.
How are the professors at St. Francis different from other law school professors?
Our faculty differs from faculty at other law schools in important ways. Our professors all have extensive practice experience in the areas of law in which they are teaching. This makes classes practical rather than “academic.” This is not always the case in legal education where you might find a criminal prosecutor teaching civil procedure, or you may find your professor has very little practical, real world experience. St. Francis’s approach of having a lawyer with extensive practice experience in the classroom brings the practice of law alive.
How does St. Francis differ from traditional law schools as far as the curriculum?
St. Francis students read books and cases similar to what you will find at a traditional law school. But St. Francis also offers professional practical lawyering skills integrated with instruction in the substantive law. This is uncommon in traditional law schools. An inventory of some of our professional skills lawyering exercises is available online.
How does St. Francis differ from other online law schools?
Our program differs in several ways from those at other online law schools. In some online law programs students take multiple courses at the same time. Our program offers one course a time. Some online law schools use pre-recorded lectures heavily. Our classes are live, not recorded, so you have an opportunity to interact with not only your professors, but with your fellow classmates.
Some online law schools have fairly large classes with maybe 50 or more students in a single class. We generally limit our class size to 15 students per class. At St. Francis, students can take electives. We have taught Bankruptcy, Compliance, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Intellectual Property over the past several years.
Perhaps most significantly, St. Francis offers bar review and preparation courses as part of its program, for credit, both for the First Year Law Students’ Exam and for the General Bar Exam. We do offer recorded summaries in our bar review classes, as well as live classes. These courses help you review and practice for the California State Bar exams. Other online law schools may or may not offer these types of review classes.