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Posted by vida

An online law school graduate recently made the news when he sued the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and won the right to take the state bar exam.

Like a sonic boom, it has rocked the legal education community.

Ross Mitchell, an online school graduate of Concord Law School, passed the California bar exam in 2004. But since Concord is not approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), Mitchell was not eligible to practice law outside of California and could not sit for the bar exam in other states.

However, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Mitchell’s favor and made an exception after reviewing his excellent academic record.

The decision comes at a time that the American Bar Association is preparing to perform a comprehensive review, which will include an thorough assessment of online law schools. Mitchell’s success in this case may open up the opportunity for other exemplary e-learning law school grads to challenge the ABA requirements for taking state bar exams.

Concord Law School, Mitchell’s alma mater, is a fully online law school. It is recognized by the California Bar Association; so graduates may sit for the California bar exam and, if they pass, practice law in California. However, the ABA does not recognize any law degree that is completely earned by distance learning.

And although Concord Law School is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, it is not approved by the ABA because it is an online law degree.

Some states outside of California allow Concord Law School graduates to sit for the bar exam if the candidate has passed the California bar exam and has worked as a lawyer for five years. But other states, like Minnesota, do not allow graduates to sit for the bar exam.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court made a step in the right direction to insure fairness for graduates of reputable online schools like Concord Law School.

Maybe the ABA will follow suit.

online school, online schools, online law school, distance learning, Concord Law School, bar exam, ABA, Massachusetts, American Bar Association, e-learning, lawyer, Minnesota, sonic boom

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008 at 12:54 am and is filed under distance learning, e-learning, education, online law degree. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Concord Law School Grad Allowed to Sit for Massachusetts Bar Exam”

  • Essence Says:
    February 28th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    It’s about time, with the advent of the internet that the legal field grow with the times. We are not living in the 1980’s any longer. This is a new millena, online learning in some aspects can be just as good if not better then the traditional brick and morter college. I think its high time the ABA start realizing that.

  • Gabriel Dorcely Says:
    November 16th, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I am an e-learners and as such, I applaud. It took decades to bring the Berlin wall down. This a very samall step by the SJC. Notice that the Chief Justice of SJC had many more barriers and walls to bring down before she can access to the highest court of the commonwealth “of the spirit of America”. So were Belva Ann, John Adams, Abe Lincoln, Justice Clarence Thomas, Sandra Day O’connor… and many more. America is still emancipating and nature will dictate the course when demographic explosion reaches its course. E-learning is here to stay whether the pillars at ABA approve it or not. In the other hand, ABA’s tasks are noble and deserve some appreciation. Look, they are only humans transcending course of life from a male dominatied society. History will pass judgement on their reluctance to honestly find the righ balance between protecting the public and trampling with individual freedom of e-learners, e-schools and call it “Just” in requiring the only way you can be eligible to be tested is to attend one of their approved law schools. It’s like giving a slap to both words “Education” and “Exam”. If an aspiring attorney claim having the required education or knowledge, is not why we ask him/her to take a standard exam? Does ABA have fear of shame resulting on some e-learners may top up their exams? I would suggest ABA committee to take a good look at the doctrine of “RES IPSA LOQUITUR”. An exam is to test reasonably the required knowledge or education needed to perform certain tasks. Imagine in Kansas city, a 13 years old excel in Microsoft standar engineering test in early 2000 and Microsof says you cannot have the certificate because you didn’t learn from my operating system? Imagine that! that is factual.

  • Judy Reretminger Says:
    August 8th, 2010 at 8:28 am

    OMG. That is an unique viewpoint. I am not sure I have the same view.

  • Is there an inexpensive, online alternative to traditional law school? Says:
    September 9th, 2011 at 5:48 am

    […] where you intend to practice. Second - there’s an exception to every rule. Here in MA, it just took one person, (that is, one lawsuit, lol) to start the ball rolling. I’ve also seen other articles claiming that […]

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