25 Best Online Law Schools for 2020

Attending law school online is a great way to earn a degree in legal studies. Whether you are wanting a paralegal position or are intent on working your way up to being a practicing attorney, online law schools can provide you with the best opportunities for advancement. There are many of the most prestigious law schools with online programs that have been designed to provide the knowledge that students need to compete for the most advanced positions. Along with distinguished faculty and staff members, students have access to valuable resources they can use.

There are typically three kinds of law degrees online:

Many students who are pursuing an online degree are already working at a firm or within the judicial system in some capacity. Using the online platform allows them to apply the information they are receiving in real-life situations. Being able to incorporate information from their lesson plans into actual scenarios, reinforces and supports the learning process as a whole. Once the student graduates with their degree, they have both the knowledge and the experience they need to apply for higher positions in their field.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Law Schools

To rank the best online law schools, Online Paralegal Programs editors focused on accredited, Bar-approved law schools that offer online programs. Programs are ranked according to practical, market-oriented factors including National Reputation, Salary Potential, and Tuition Cost.

1. Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Washington University in St. Louis School of Law offers one of the best online law schools in the country. The law degree programs provide students with an in-depth knowledge of not only the legal system, but also the laws and how they are applied to each case. Law students are given unique opportunities to explore the criminal justice system and how to apply constitutional law to cases with life-changing outcomes. With one of the best online law degrees available, every student who graduates has the tools they need to be successful in whatever avenue of law they choose.

Washington University in St. Louis School of Law is well-respected in terms of course work and learning opportunities, both on-campus and off. Distinguished faculty members bring years of experience to the table. Students can rely on their instructors for sound advice and guidance. Online students are guaranteed the same excellence in education that on-campus students have access to. The University takes great pride in being able to offer the best online law degree programs in the area and beyond.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

2. Northeastern University School of Law

Northeastern University School of Law offers one of the best online law school experiences in the country. Students who choose to attend class online have the opportunity to start working prior to graduating. The courses provided by the university are intended to help individuals in the legal field (non-lawyer) resolve issues and assist attorneys with cases. Students who pursue these degree programs are able to work in the legal field in a behind the scenes capacity. With one of the best online law school curriculums available, the university provides one of the top-ranked degree programs in the country.

Northeastern University School of Law has earned a solid reputation for being one of the best online law schools in New England. Many of the faculty at the law school are legal professionals who have worked in and out of the courtroom. The online curriculum offered by the school allows students an opportunity to obtain employment in a law office or other capacity and begin to earn the experience they will need once they graduate with their degree.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

3. Georgetown University Law School

Georgetown University Law School offers one of the best law schools online programs for individuals who want to work in the legal field after graduation. The coursework that is provided gives students the expertise they need to assist attorneys in a variety of ways. Online degrees can provide the necessary skills the students will need to complete legal documents, assist in depositions, and provide support to other staff members. The right online law school will provide students who enroll with everything they need to succeed.

Georgetown University Law School is one of the top-ranked law schools in the United States. Located in the nation’s capital, the school has access to some of the greatest legal minds in the county. Faculty members offer both advice and inspiration to students who want to work in the legal field. The online courses provide an added level of convenience for students who are already working full-time. Students can find employment in the legal field as a way to support their online learning program.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

4. Arizona State University – O’Connor College of Law

Arizona State University’s O’Connor College of Law is one of the best law schools with online degree programs. The online format allows students to receive the same quality coursework that is taught in the classrooms on campus. Innovative teaching techniques to provide students with the education they need to enter the legal field in a variety of capacities. By taking their classes online, students can begin to apply what they are learning in their lessons to real-life situations. This reinforces the lesson and ensures the students get a grasp of the concept as it is being taught.

Arizona State University has received numerous awards from U.S. News & World Report, including Most Innovative College for 2020. Being ranked #27 in the country for best law school guarantees students are getting the best quality degree programs taught by the most respected and well-known faculty and instructors. Students can rely on the education they receive to continually open doors for them after they receive their degree.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies

5. West Virginia University College of Law

West Virginia University College of Law is well-known as one of the best online law schools in the east. Students who choose to enroll in the online degree programs are provided with an education that is second to none in terms of legal knowledge and skill sets that can be effectively used in a variety of roles once the student graduates. Students can easily apply for paralegal, research, and other positions with a law firm. By filling these roles, graduates can continue to advance in their field and possibly return to the classroom and pursue their law degree.

West Virginia University College of Law is a well-respected institute of higher learning when it comes to providing students with the skills and experience they need to work within the country’s justice systems. Faculty members are professionals in the legal field and offer students advice and insight on how to handle themselves in certain situations. With the online format, students get the best possible education in a time frame that suits their busy schedules.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

6. University of Southern California – Gould School of Law

The University of Southern California Gould School of Law has one of the best law school online degree programs available in the country. Enrolling in this degree program offers students an opportunity to explore the legal field in a unique way. They can continue to earn a degree that will allow them to work in the justice system, not as a lawyer, but as a paralegal, researcher, or other legal professions. The online format makes it possible to continue to work and take care of their financial obligations while attending school.

The University of Southern California – Gould School of Law offers several benefits to the students who choose to enroll in its online degree programs. Scholarships can be used to help offset the cost of attending school. Students can also choose to enroll in full- or part-time degree programs allowing them to tailor their schedule to their job and family obligations. Once they complete their degree, they can move forward with their careers or choose to go further with their education.

Online Programs: Master of Studies in Law, Master of Laws

7. University of Arizona – Rogers College of Law

The University of Arizona Rogers College of Law provides one of the best online law school experiences in the world to students who want to be involved in the legal field. Many of the course programs are designed for students who have already earned a JD degree (or the equivalent) in another country and are looking to continue their law career in the United States. The degree programs not only reinforce what has already been learned, but add additional information that can expand on the employment opportunities the student already has available to them.

The University of Arizona Rogers College of Law is respected around the world as a leader when it comes to quality coursework for legal students. The online degree programs allow students to continue their education from almost anywhere in the world. Faculty members have several years of experience working in the legal field and provide their students with sound advice and encouragement. The best online law degree programs give students the opportunity to enter their chosen careers with confidence.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

8. Loyola University Chicago School of Law

The Loyola University Chicago School of Law offers multiple law degree programs for various areas of study including paralegal and Juris Doctor. Both of these degree programs provide the knowledge that is required to work within the legal field at advanced levels. The knowledge and skills received from these classes allow graduates to take on more responsibility and have the tools they need to take on a variety of situations that call for and rational thinking.

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is one of the Midwest’s most prestigious law schools. Not only do the students have access to some of the strongest legal courses in the industry, the faculty members at the school are some of the best in the world. Students can look to their instructors to provide them with insight and inspiration as they move toward the completion of their degree program. The online format provides working students with the ability to complete their degree and continue to support and provide for their families.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws, Juris Doctor

9. Purdue Global – Concord Law School

Purdue Global – Concord Law School offers online degree programs in legal studies for students who may not be able to complete their coursework in a traditional classroom setting. Most of these students wither live too far away from the campus or are employed full-time and need to be able to work in order to meet their financial obligations. The convenience of online courses makes it easy to study and be able to absorb as much knowledge as possible. The degree programs are designed to provide the most accurate and up to date information so that students are fully prepared for any situation they may experience.

Purdue Global – Concord Law School is one of the best in the world in terms of quality course content and experienced faculty members. Faculty members are not only educators but also professionals. This ensures that each student is taught from experience as well as from the curriculum. Students who enroll in Purdue’s online degree programs graduate with a working knowledge of the legal field and are able to pursue career opportunities on a variety of levels.

Online Programs: Bachelor of Legal Studies, Master of Legal Studies, Juris Doctor

10. Samford University – Cumberland School of Law

Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law is one of the best online law schools in the world. The university offers degree programs in legal studies ranging from certificates to Masters’ degrees that enable students to go after the type of job they want. Courses are developed to provide students with a variety of skills so that they understand every aspect of the legal process. Once the student graduates, they can confidently pursue employment opportunities as a paralegal, an investigator, or other legal careers in which they assist with litigation, mediation, or courtroom activities.

Samford University has over 13,000 graduates across the world. Faculty members are able to assist legal students in preparing themselves for successful careers in whatever type of job they choose after graduation. Samford is ranked 3rd in Best Quality of Life by the Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university 15th in National Ranking for Trial Advocacy. The online format provides learning opportunities to students across the world.

Online Programs: Master of Studies in Law, Master of Laws

11. New York University School of Law

The New York University School of Law is well-known across the world as one of the best online law schools in the United States. Students who choose to enroll in the school’s online legal studies degree programs come from all walks of life. Pursuing an online degree enables the student to earn their degree in a time frame that meets their schedule and allows them the freedom to care for their family. The degree programs offer advanced knowledge and skills that are needed to compete in the fast-paced legal world. Once they graduate, students can compete for higher-paying positions that will allow them to move forward and gain the respect of their peers.

New York University School of Law offers several degree programs that will allow students to pursue many different options when it comes to a legal career. Whether the student is wanting to enter an executive program or ready to enroll in the LLM/JSD program, the student is guaranteed an educational experience that is above reproach. Instructors and faculty members offer their support and guidance to students who are working in the online format just as they do with students in the classroom setting.

Online Programs: Master of Studies in Law, Master of Laws

12. Seton Hall University Law School

Seton Hall University Law School offers many of the best online law degrees in the country. Students can choose an online degree program that meets their needs and rest assured that they will receive everything they need to compete in a fast-paced legal office. Their ability to assist attorneys and other legal professionals will make them an invaluable asset to any company or firm they choose to work with. The online format offered by the school allows each student the opportunity to pursue their degree and keep up with their current job and family obligations.

Seton Hall University Law School has a global reputation for excellence. The courses they offer have been developed by legal professionals so that each student gains the information and abilities they need to succeed in whatever position they apply for. Faculty members and instructors provide students who choose online learning the same opportunities as those in the classroom. This guarantees access to an instructor when encouragement and support are needed.

Online Programs: Master of Laws, Master of Studies in Jurisprudence

13. Syracuse University

Syracuse University offers one of the best online law degree experiences in the world. Students who are ready to advance their careers by continuing their education can look to Syracuse University to assist them in reaching all of their goals. Students at this level are already employed in most cases and need an online format to continue their studies. Degree programs are created to ensure that students who graduate with their JD degree have everything they need to work in this complex and intriguing environment. The online format offers a convenient and accessible learning environment for students who are already in the workforce.

Syracuse University’s JDinteractive degree experience is one of the best in the country. Students can rely on the university to provide them with a unique and thorough learning experience that will benefit for many years to come. Graduates who complete their degree program and go on to take on high-level legal positions are able to enjoy many opportunities that others with a lesser degree may not receive.

Online Programs: Juris Doctor

14. Pepperdine University – Caruso School of Law

Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law is recognized among the best online law schools by offering several online law degree programs. Pepperdine, as a best law school online, offers a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution, and a Master of Legal Studies through its distance learning platform. US News ranks Caruso School of Law, the best online law school with regard to the most ideologically diverse faculty, and the number two program for dispute resolution.

Pepperdine University is a research university that was established in 1937. Pepperdine University is affiliated with the Church of Christ. The school’s suburban Malibu campus is home to nearly 8,000 students. Pepperdine’s School of Law is recognized among the best law schools online. Pepperdine University’s law school was established in 1969 and enrolls about 500 students each year. Highlight – Pepperdine University operates six southern California campuses, plus satellite facilities in China, Germany, England, Switzerland, Argentina, and Italy.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

15. Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School

Western Michigan University offers several Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree programs through the university’s Cooley Law School – one of the best online law schools in the country. The Master of Laws degree programs offered by this best law school online includes Corporate Law/Finance, Homeland/National Security, Tax, and Intellectual Property Law. Students enrolled in WMU’s best online law school Master of Laws degree program must complete 24 credit units plus an optional thesis to graduate. WMU offers LL.M. students three starts throughout the year – September, May, and January.

Western Michigan University was established as the Western State Normal School in 1903. The Cooley Law School was established in 1972 and has a current student enrollment that exceeds 1,200. WMU Law School has been ranked among the best law schools online and operates campuses in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, and Tampa Bay, Florida. Highlight – The aviation program at Western Michigan University is recognized among the top five programs in the nation.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

16. University of Dayton School of Law

The University of Dayton School of Law offers a hybrid Juris Doctor program through the university’s School of Law – a recognized best online law school. This American Bar Association (ABA) accredited degree program is only one of three approved by the ABA. This JD program offered by one of the best online law schools prepares students to sit for the bar exam through live classes online, online coursework, and ten visits to campus through the four-year program. As a best law school online, the JD program requires students to complete 90 credit hours and 192 hours in an externship.

The University of Dayton was founded in 1850. The university remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic (Marianist) Church. UD’s School of Law holds the distinction of being the first school in the country that offers a two-year JD program that is recognized among the best law schools online. Highlight – The University of Dayton’s School of Law is one of only nine institutions of higher education that offers JD degrees.

Online Programs: Juris Doctor

17. Drexel University – Kline School of Law

Drexel University offers several online Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees through its Kline School of Law – one of the best online law schools in the nation. Drexel’s LL.M. degree programs include a Master of Laws in Cyber Law and Data Privacy, in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Compliance, in Criminal Law, in Financial Regulatory Compliance, in Higher Education Compliance, in Sports Law, and in Human Resources, among others. These graduate law degree programs from this best law school online have been recognized as the second best online law school by Onlinemasters.com.

Drexel University is a private university that was established in 1891. The Kline School of Law at Drexel University, which opened in 2006, is ranked as one of the country’s best law schools online. Drexel University’s law students follow the school’s well-known cooperative education program. Highlight – Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, when established, was the first new law launched in the City of Brotherly of Love in over a quarter-century.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

18. Nova Southeastern University – Broad College of Law

Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law is ranked among the best online law schools in the country. NSU’s best law school online offers several Master of Legal Studies degree programs that can be completed entirely online – The Intellectual Property, Cybersecurity, and Technology degree program, Educational Law, Employment Law, Health Law, and Law & Policy. These LL.M degree programs offered by this best online law school are generally completed in about two years and offer the convenience and flexibility to busy working parents or working learners.

Nova Southeastern University was established in 1964. Nova University’s Shepard Broad College of Law was established ten years later in 1974. The Broad College of Law has an approximately admission rate of 45% (2018) and recognized among the best law schools online. Highlight – Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law administers a mock trial competition for enrolled students.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies, Master of Laws

19. University of Arkansas School of Law

The University of Arkansas School of Law is ranked among the best online law schools in the south and the country. As a best online law school, U of A offers a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program in Food and Agriculture Law. U of A’s online course delivery option for an LL.M. Food and Agricultural Law was the first in the country of its kind. Students enrolled in this best law school online have the opportunity to contribute to the specialized law journal dedicated to food policy and law. This LL.M. degree program requires the completion of 24 credit units for graduation.

The University of Arkansas was established in 1871 as the result of the Morrill Land Grant Act. U of A’s School of Law was established decades later in 1924 and received its ABA (American Bar Association) approval only two years later. Highlight – The University of Arkansas (U of A) School of Law is recognized among the best law schools online and one of only two law schools in the state.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

20. University of Alabama School of Law

The University of Alabama’s School of Law has been recognized among the best online law schools in the United States. This best law school online offers three legal studies degrees that can be completed entirely online. These courses offered by this best online law school include a Juris Masters in Taxation, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Tax Concentration in Business Transactions, and the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation degree programs. UA’s School of Law offers its degree candidates an attractive student to faculty ratio of about 6.5 to 1.

The University of Alabama was established in 1820 and is a sea-grant and space-grant university. UA’s School of Law opened about a half-century later in 1872. The law school’s student enrollment exceeds 375. Highlight – The University of Alabama’s (UA) School of Law has been recognized by Business Insider as one of the best law schools online.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

21. University of Oklahoma College of Law

The University of Oklahoma College of Law, as a recognized best law school online, offers four Master of Legal Studies degrees through the school’s distance learning platform. These Master of Legal Studies (MLS) programs offered by this best online law school include an MLS in Health Care Law, Business Law, Indigenous Peoples Law, and Oil/Gas/Energy Law. OU, as one of the best online law schools, is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Students graduate from OU’s Master of Legal Studies programs in less than 1.5 years.

The University of Oklahoma was established in 1890. OU’s College of Law is an American Bar Association-approved school that opened in 1909. The law school enrolls approximately 500 students each term that had a 95% bar passage rate in 2017. Highlight – The University of Oklahoma has been consistently recognized among the ten best law schools online.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies

22. Texas A&M University School of Law

Texas A&M University’s School of Law – recognized one of the best online law schools – offers several Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree programs that can be finished 100% online. Students with a JD degree can enroll in these LL.M. programs offered by one of the best online law schools in the country – International Tax, or Risk Management, or Wealth Management. Additionally, this best law school online offers several Master of Juris Prudence (M.Jur.) degrees (for non-lawyers) available online – health Law and Policy, Energy/Oil/Gas Law, Risk Management, and International Tax.

Texas A&M was organized in 1871. Texas A&M’s School of Law opened more than 100 years later in 1989. The school’s student enrollment nears 500 students each term. Highlight – As one of the best law schools online, A&M law students in the Law Fellowship work to raise legal awareness in the public sector.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

23. Villanova University – Widger School of Law

Villanova University’s Widger School of Law is consistently recognized among the best online law schools by The National Law Journal. This Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program from Villanova’s best law school online can be completed in only 1.5 years. The Widger School of Law enrolled about 170 students each term and has more than 10,000 law school alumni that live worldwide. Villanova’s best online law school is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Degree candidates can choose to complete their legal externships from among more than 250 governmental, corporate, and nonprofit partners.

Villanova University was established in 1842. Villanova University’s Widger School of Law was established decades later in 1953. Villanova’s School of Law is an American Bar Association (ABA) approved school and recognized among the best law schools online. Highlight – Villanova University holds the distinction of being Pennsylvania’s oldest Catholic University.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

24. Wake Forest University School of Law

Wake Forest University, through its nationally ranked best law school online – the School of Law – offers several Master of Legal Studies (MSL) degree programs that are available online 100%. These programs from one of the best online law schools, a Master of Legal Studies in Business Law, Health Law, and Human Resources. The best online law school at Wake Forest also offers four graduate certificates that can be completed in only two semesters and twelve credits – Workplace Legal Fundamentals, Human Resources, Health Law, and Business Law.

Wake Forest University is a private university that was established in 1834. Wake Forest’s School of Law opened about six decades later in 1894. The law school at Wake Forest enrolls about 625 students each term. Highlight – As one of the recognized best law schools online, Wake Forest School of Law is a member/school of the AALS – the Association of American Law Schools.

Online Programs: Master of Legal Studies

25. Emory University School of Law

Emory University School of Law is consistently ranked among the best online law schools. Emory’s School of Law offers a Master of Legal Studies degree program in Law with the following concentration options – Transactional Law, Law & Religion, Human Rights, Child Law, Public Law and Vulnerability and the Human Condition. Each of these courses offered by the best law school online requires the completion of 24 credit units. The coursework covered in these MLS courses from this best online law school includes Intellectual Property, Labor Law, Tax Law, Health Law, and International Law, to name a few.

Emory University was established in 1835. Emory University continues its affiliation with the United Methodist Church today. Emory University’s School of Law was established in 1916. Highlight – US News recognizes Emory University’s School of Law among the best law schools online.

Online Programs: Master of Laws

Are There Any Online Law Schools Accredited by the ABA?

Accreditation ensures that a school meets or exceeds the expected standards of excellence for a chosen degree program. While many Law Schools are accredited in terms of the traditional classroom programs they offer, the online degree programs still have some limitations. The ABA, or American Bar Association, limits the number of ABA-accredited online courses to a specific number per year, with none being allowed during the student’s first year they attend law school.

There are several states that allow students to take their bar exam based on the credentials earned through an online degree program. Students who pursue a 100% online law degree may not be allowed to take the bar exam without attending a few of their classes in an online setting. The ABA limits the number of online credits to 12, with only four per semester. At this time, the ABA is reviewing these standards and may actually change them to allow students who are pursuing their entire law degree programs online.

Online law schools accredited by the ABA normally offer their online courses in addition to those offered on campus. This gives students an opportunity to attend the campus classes when it is possible. While obtaining a law degree 100% online may be the ideal scenario, it is in the student’s best interest to try and attend a campus class to support a well-rounded learning platform. Having access to on-campus resources is also beneficial.

Can I Become a Lawyer Online?

Most students who are already employed in the legal field as a paralegal, clerk, researcher, or other paralegal profession, find it extremely difficult to complete their law degree in the traditional fashion. Working full-time and obligations to their family can put severe restraints on their time. It becomes increasingly more difficult when the nearest law school may be a long-distance away. There are many online law degree programs that allow a student to reach their goals and obtain their legal degree so they can become an attorney in their state. In order to fulfill that goal, however, they will have to sit for their state’s bar exam and pass it successfully.

Many states will allow graduates of 100% online law degree programs the opportunity to take their states’ bar exam even though the classes are not fully accredited by the ABA (American Bar Association). The ABA is currently reviewing its accreditation process and is working on improving the standards. Studying to become an attorney is a lengthy process and has strict guidelines that must be followed. While the online learning process is convenient, the ABA wants to ensure that the degree program is strong enough to provide the level of knowledge that is needed to work in such a complex and multi-faceted field.

With an online law school, students have access to the level of education they desire even though they may not be able to attend the campus due to distance or other obligations. Most online law schools offer the same exact curriculum to the students who choose that format as those who attend classes on campus. The option to be able to attend a university using an online format is a valuable resource for any student ho is limited in terms of time or location.

In many cases, students who choose to pursue their law degree online, have already been working in the legal field for several years and have already earned valuable experience to back up any degree program they choose. The online law degree programs that are currently available are designed to meet industry standards at the highest level. This ensures that even though the degree is earned online, the student is fully capable of handling any legal situation with ease.

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