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The Emergence of Online Learning in the Legal World

2020 has been a year of many challenges and this looks to be the case for many months to come. For those embarking on legal education, the global pandemic is changing the way it normally operates. Those that already have their legal degrees will describe their time at university as traditional. However, this is the year that law schools have been forced to adjust and come into the 21st century. In particular, technology has saved the day for many institutions, as well as their law students.

The Emergence of Online Learning in the Legal World
Let’s not forget that the Socratic method has been at the center of how law school has operated over the years. Indeed, it was once believed that this was something that could not be done through distance learning. Even the American Bar Association or ABA advised that distance learning was only to be used now and again rather than for the majority of the curriculum at law school. The limit on online learning used to be 12 hours per year and it only increased to 30 credits recently.
 
However, the global pandemic has demanded instant changes for law schools. Namely, that online learning becomes the everyday teaching method that enables you to still get a degree during these strange times. While you may have imagined that law schools could not make this change, or that they objected to this, many have already had success.
 
As an example, think about the University of Virginia School of Law. This is a popular law school that students dreaming of attending. It has a great reputation, with a law school that is prestigious and highly respected. It was founded way back in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It is an institution that shrouded in tradition. Thus, when the pandemic swept across the world, this is a place you may have thought would not have been able to adjust. Namely, it was a law school that has never featured online classes. Yet, within a week of COVID-19, the law school was able to move 140 courses online for their students.
 
The Advantages of Online Learning
 
A lot of people that were thinking of applying to law school this year might be holding back. You may believe that this is not the time to embark on such a challenging education and that you should wait. Perhaps next year or two years from now might be better once the pandemic is under control and law schools go back to normal.
 
However, this might not happen and universities may embrace the changes that are being made now. There are many advantages to online learning that you should consider before you give up on your law school dream. Let’s take a look at them and how they can benefit you.
 
More Flexibility
 
Law school is a huge commitment. You have a lot of hours of independent work you have to do, as well as numerous classes that you have to attend. While this does not change when you move to online learning, it can make things easier for you. Namely, you can have more flexibility when you study and where you can attend your classes.
 
For example, think about if you are trying to work full-time and study for law school at the same time. This can be an almost impossible task if you have classes to attend at university. You would hardly have any free time. However, when you have online classes and assignments, you can work from anywhere and arrange your own schedule. You may even be able to catch up on your work in the evenings since you no longer have to commute. You can enjoy a better balance to your day and this can increase your chances of success and earning your degree.
 
Become Self-Motivated
 
When you are at university, all of your classes are decided for you. You just have to know when and where to go. But with online learning, a lot of this is going to be up to you. You will have to decide when you catch up on lessons and use learning materials. In other words, it is going to be up to you to stay motivated and to ensure that you get the work done. Law students will have to work independently and while you can have group tasks, most of the materials you will have to use on your own. This can be a difficult transition at first. But it is one that is going to be beneficial for you later on.
 
For example, employers want law students that can demonstrate that they are hardworking and self-motivated. This is something you can prove through your online learning. You can use your experience juggling different responsibilities in your life and how you stayed passionate about your studies despite this.
 
Better Collaborative Skills
 
Of course, a lot of online learning is going to be done independently. However, there are still going to be some projects that require you to collaborate with other law students. Instead of meeting up in person, there will be a lot more discussion taking place virtually. In other words, you will have to communicate over platforms like Zoom and other collaborative systems. This can include contributing to discussion boards and sharing files. Again, these skills are going to be great to learn for later on in your legal career. A lot of law firms now use these collaborative platforms for everyday tasks. Therefore, when you are applying for jobs, you can discuss how you already have the skills to use these programs and similar types of software.
 
Improved Technical Skills
 
If your classes and learning materials have been switched over to online programs, you are going to be using new systems you have never used before. This is going to allow you to enhance your technical skills. You will learn how to use new tools and how to work through issues when they arise. This is all going to increase your technical skills and learn how to make the most of technology. From using collaboration tools every day to sharing files and project management systems, this experience is going to be useful when you work in an office environment later on. So, if you were not techy savvy before, you might be after online learning.
 
Expert in Time Management
 
When you are learning at home, you are going to be juggling a lot of tasks. You may have a full-time job, as well as other responsibilities, such as children. So, when you suddenly have online classes and assignments to complete, you have a lot on your plate. Online learning means that you become the boss. You have to decide how you are going to manage your time and get everything done. This is something that is a huge responsibility and it is going to benefit you in the future. For example, you are now going to know how to be great at time management. This is a skill that you can use to your advantage in the future. You can explain in interviews how you stayed productive very week and created your own schedule. You will know how to utilize your time effectively.

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