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distance learning, hybrid JD programs, online JD programs, COVID-19


Distance learning is now a central component of the law school curriculum. The COVID-19 pandemic forced law schools to engage in emergency remote teaching after in-person instruction became too dangerous. As a result, nearly every law school is now engaging in some form of distance learning, at least temporarily. Fortunately, sophisticated models exist for both synchronous and asynchronous online learning. And online delivery of the J.D. curriculum is not brand new to legal education. There are hundreds of practicing lawyers today who earned their law degrees through programs that were delivered in significant part online. Just prior to the sudden, temporary shift from in-person instruction in the spring of 2020, there were four law schools that were operating under variances from ABA rules restricting the number of J.D. credit-hours that could be delivered online, and other non-ABA law schools have had online J.D. programs for some time.