Best Online Law Schools

Now is a great time to consider earning a law degree online. Here, we list the top online law schools of 2021.

Best Online Law Schools

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Online Law School Degrees

Enrolling in online law school allows learners to earn a degree while continuing their career. The best online law schools consider applicants with an undergraduate degree from an accredited school. Other application requirements include the LSAT or a university entrance exam.

Graduates who pass their state's bar exam qualify to work as an attorney. Professionals can specialize in areas such as education, bankruptcy, or financial services.

This page explains what to expect from law school online. Read on to learn about costs and common courses. The embedded links provide information about online education and the law field. View Our Rankings List Here

Frequently Asked Questions About Law School

How many years does it take to get a law degree?

Students can complete online law school in 3-4 years. Part-time learners need four years since they take fewer credits each semester.

What can you do with a law degree?

Law programs train enrollees to work as attorneys. However, graduates can pursue many careers. Some lawyers provide legal aid services or advise elected officials. Others teach at colleges or universities.

Can you go to law school online?

Yes. Many schools offer law programs online. However, these institutions may not possess programmatic accreditation from the American Bar Association. Most states do not allow graduates from these schools to sit for the bar exam.

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Online Law School Programs

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Why Get a Law Degree?

Earning a law degree can lead to a high-paying career in a growing field. Lawyers earn a median annual salary of $126,930, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This figure exceeds the median annual pay of $41,950 for all occupations. The BLS projects jobs for lawyers to grow 9% from 2020-2030.

Online law programs provide many benefits, including convenience and flexibility. Some programs run asynchronously, allowing enrollees to complete coursework around their job. Law school online programs also allow students to attend the most affordable program without relocating. However, learners should only apply to out-of-state schools if they plan to practice there.

How Much Does a Law Degree Cost?

The best online law schools charge a per-credit tuition rate. This rate ensures all learners pay the same for their education, regardless of their enrollment status. However, public universities may charge out-of-state learners significantly more. Total semester tuition varies depending on course load.

Students can complete the FAFSA to determine their financial aid eligibility. Learners may qualify for federal grants. The government also offers low-interest loans. Subsidized federal loans do not begin incurring interest until after borrowers graduate. Some schools offer institutional grants and loans. Learners can also apply for scholarships, which do not require repayment.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners may need to buy a new computer or upgrade their internet. Students should also budget for books and class materials. Some online law schools charge a graduation fee.

Many online law school graduates take the bar exam and apply for a license. This process involves multiple fees. As of November 2021, law school graduates in California can expect to pay $5,800 to earn a law license. This cost increases if candidates do not pass the exam on the first try.

How Much Do Law Majors Make?

Top-earning lawyers earn more than $208,000 a year, according to the BLS. However, salaries vary by employer and location. Professionals working for a federal government agency make more than $150,000. Local and state governments pay less. Lawyers in the District of Columbia, California, and New York earn significantly more than their peers in other states.

Lawyers can increase their salary potential by passing many states' bar exams. They can also take more continuing education courses than their license requires for renewal. Private-sector attorneys can earn more by becoming a partner in their firm.

Courses in Law

Students can enroll full time or part time at the best online law schools. Some programs feature a cohort learning model. A cohort takes courses together throughout the program, encouraging professional relationships. Some programs allow students to customize their education through electives. Schools may not offer all law electives online.

See below for common online law school courses. Keep in mind that course names and descriptions vary by institution. Academic requirements and learning outcomes also may differ. Students can contact their prospective schools' admissions departments for more information.

  • Constitutional Law

    This first-year course emphasizes law's basis in the U.S. Constitution. Students analyze sections concerning federal courts' purposes and functions. The course covers the separation of powers, federalism, and civil liberties. Students learn how to apply constitutional rights in the courtroom.
  • Advanced Legal Research

    Many law professions involve extensive legal research. This course follows American Association of Law Libraries standards. Students work with different primary and secondary sources. They examine state laws and analyze international law sources. Enrollees use specialized research tools, including databases and bibliographic sources.
  • Bar Preparation

    Many law programs require or recommend a bar preparation class in learners' final year. This course covers study strategies and exam-taking techniques. Learners who struggled academically or performed poorly on practice exams may especially benefit from this course. Learners can take this course by speaking with an academic advisor.

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Career and Salary Outlook for Law Majors

The best online law schools prepare students to work as lawyers, arbitrators, and judges. Attaining one of these jobs may require significant professional experience. See below for a generalized overview of these careers. Responsibilities vary by job title and employer. Click the embedded links for more details about each career.

  • Lawyers

    Lawyers appear in court to represent or persecute defendants. They research past court decisions, write legal documents, and advise clients. Daily tasks vary by specialization and employer. Some lawyers specialize in environmental law or tax law. Others work as in-house counsel for corporations or government agencies.
  • Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

    These professionals bring disputing parties together to find a resolution. They guide groups through the arbitration process, perform interviews, and apply the law when making decisions. Lawyers, judges, and experienced business professionals may work in these roles. Typical employers include local and state government agencies.
  • Judges or Hearing Officers

    These professionals use their experience and law expertise to direct court proceedings. They consider lawyers' objections, advise juries, and determine which evidence enters a civil or criminal trial. Judging or hearing officers possess work experience as a lawyer. Many judgeships last 4-14 years. Jurisdictions fill these positions through popular elections or appointments.
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2018-2028)
Lawyers$126,9309%
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators$66,13010%
Judges or Hearing Officers$124,2003%

Source: BLS

Best Online Law Schools

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $17862

    Berkeley Law offers a master of laws executive track completely online. Students choose between a one-year program option or a part-time summer track and earn the requirements to sit for the California bar exam.

    Executive courses happen in 1-3-week intensive terms. Students take core courses such as fundamentals of law, legal research and writing, and a capstone project. From there, students can continue with a general track or concentrate in either business law or law and technology. Elective courses coincide with the concentration choice but include civil procedure, corporate finance, and blockchain for lawyers, respectively.

    Students must submit applications through the Law School Admission Council to begin. Applicants must hold a professional degree from a law school, including a JD or a bachelor of laws degree.

    Berkeley is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools Senior Colleges and University Commission. The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association.

  2. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $13318

    A public research university in Tallahassee, FSU offers non-lawyers the chance to earn a juris master completely online. The 30-credit program offers full-time or part-time study options, with coursework offered in an asynchronous delivery format.

    Students may choose from several concentrations, including financial regulation, legal risk management, and healthcare regulation. Students take general courses such as an introduction to legal studies and research, legislation and regulation, regulatory compliance, and torts. Electives follow a student's chosen concentration. Notable electives include workplace privacy and cybersecurity, business organizations, economic sanctions and compliance, and risk management for financial compliance.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to qualify for admission. The school does not specify a minimum GPA requirement and does not require standardized test scores to apply.

    FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $13016

    Located in Orlando, UCF offers an online bachelor of legal studies. Students can earn either a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts without residency requirements.

    The 120-credit program includes general core and elective requirements before students begin their upper-division coursework. Students take four required courses: law and the legal system, legal research, legal writing, and professionalism and civility. From there, students must choose two courses from at least four of the concentration areas, including law and policy, advocacy, family matters, and international law. Notable electives include community mediation and conflict resolution, urban development law, world legal systems, and immigration law and policy.

    Applicants must submit academic transcripts and SAT or ACT scores to begin the admissions process. The school does not specify any minimum GPA or test score requirements for eligibility. UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown offers an online master of laws (LL.M.) fully online in two different concentrations and a master of studies in law choice for non-lawyers. Students may also earn online certificates.

    Students with law degrees may choose an LL.M. in securities and financial regulation or taxation. Non-lawyers may pursue a master of studies in law (MSL) in taxation. The school also offers two certificate programs online: international taxation and state and local taxation. LL.M. students complete 40 credits in courses such as basic accounting and beyond the IPO, while MSL students complete 24 credits in courses such as individual taxation and corporate income tax law. Each certificate choice requires 10 credits.

    LL.M. applicants must hold a JD or LLB to qualify for admission. MSL applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. The school does not require but strongly prefers students to possess prior work experience. Georgetown is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  5. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    An Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell offers an online master of science in legal studies. The 30-credit curriculum occurs online, with two one-week residencies required to complete the degree.

    Students take courses such as introduction to the legal system, human rights obligations of organizations, business immigration law, and navigating the intellectual property landscape. During the first residency, students take two intensive courses: effective communication skills and conducting legal research. They also complete a capstone research project remotely during the second residency.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to qualify for admission. Students must also possess a minimum of five years of demonstrated professional work experience to apply. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

    Cornell is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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