Overcoming 3 Common Misconceptions About Online Legal Education

The rise of online education has drastically changed the landscape of academia, offering unprecedented opportunities for students to learn without the geographical constraints imposed by in-person institutions. Despite its widespread adoption and success, online education — specifically in the legal domain — is still sometimes met with skepticism from educators, students, and sometimes the wider legal community. At CAP Law Online, we believe it’s time to address and debunk these misconceptions. Here are three common myths about online legal education and our evidence-based rebuttals to each:

Misconception 1: Online Courses are Easier Than Traditional Courses

One of the most common myths about online education is that online courses are easier than their in-person counterparts. The perception is that online courses lack the rigor and depth of traditional, face-to-face classes.

Rebuttal: At CAP Law Online, our partnered online degree programs are designed to mirror their on-campus equivalents, providing the same rigorous, in-depth content that students would encounter in a traditional setting. Coursework in online programs is typically as, if not more, demanding, since it requires students to exercise a high degree of self-discipline, organization, and time management. So, let’s put to bed the notion that online courses are a “walk in the park”.

Additionally, online students often juggle other responsibilities like full-time jobs or family commitments alongside their studies. This added layer of complexity underscores the fact that succeeding in online courses requires dedication, discipline, and tenacity. In essence, the success of an online student is a testament to their grit, resilience, and exceptional management skills.

Misconceptions About Online Legal Education

Misconception 2: Online Students Don’t Get Enough Face-to-Face Interaction

A pervasive belief is that online students miss out on the face-to-face interactions that in-person classes afford — a particular concern for law students who must learn to argue persuasively and articulate complex legal principles clearly.

Rebuttal: Our partner online programs are built around interactive and engaging courses that facilitate robust discussions, not just between students and instructors but also among students themselves. Digital platforms enable real-time, face-to-face interactions through video conferencing, live chats, and virtual office hours. In many instances, students have reported feeling more connected in the online environment where class participation isn’t just encouraged — it’s essential.

It’s also important to acknowledge the diversity and breadth of viewpoints that can be found in online classrooms. Given the global reach of online programs, students from around the world, each with their unique experiences and perspectives, contribute to rich and diverse discussions. This global classroom environment often leads to more comprehensive debates, a broader understanding of the law in various contexts, and an enriched learning experience that extends beyond traditional geographical boundaries.

An excellent illustration of this global learning benefit is the online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) in Animal Law program at Lewis & Clark. This platform brings together students from across the globe, fostering a unique space where participants share and compare regional laws relating to various animals. This collaborative exchange not only enhances their global understanding of animal law but also paves the way for potential opportunities to advance animal protection on a worldwide scale.

Misconception 3: Online Degrees Lack Credibility

Despite the growing acceptance of online learning, some still question the credibility of online degrees compared to those earned in traditional settings, often assuming that employers view online degrees as less valuable.

Rebuttal: Our partner programs’ online courses are delivered by the same faculty who teach at the physical campuses. As such, students are earning a degree from an established, reputable, and ABA-accredited institution, whether they’re attending classes online or on-campus. Furthermore, an increasing number of employers are recognizing the value of online degrees, appreciating the self-motivation and digital skills online graduates bring to their roles.

Additionally, at CAP Law Online, through our instructional design services, we place a strong emphasis on maintaining rigorous academic standards across all online courses. We ensure that the education provided is as high-quality and comprehensive as you would find in a traditional classroom setting. This commitment to quality reinforces the credibility of the online degrees, equipping our students with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their chosen fields. Thus, the credibility of online education should no longer be a question in the minds of prospective students or employers.

Busting the Myths and The Future of Online Legal Education

At CAP Law Online, we are committed to challenging these misconceptions and delivering top-tier online legal education. Our collaborative partnerships with well-established law schools across the nation provide aspiring legal professionals with flexible, rigorous, and interactive online degree programs. We firmly believe that as we continue to enhance online learning environments and deliver quality education, the lines distinguishing online and traditional education will blur, transforming these myths into relics of the past.