AuthorRebecca Purdom - Greg Brandes - Karen Westwood
Chapter 12
Distance learning is already an established element in most fields of education. While legal education has
lagged behind other disciplines, adoption is likely to accelerate in the next few years in light of relaxed
standards by the ABA and the ABA’s affirmative invitation to schools to submit variance proposals.
These two factors will encourage experimentation with distance learning and alterative modalities of legal
instruction. As more and more law schools consider how to create a good program of distance
educationwhether in the JD context or focusing on other degreesthe creation of a set of
recommended practices that will contribute to a quality result becomes a matter of some urgency.
This paper seeks to provide the background, specific analysis, and suggestions to fill this need. As the
product of a collaborative conversation among many of the schools currently most active in the field, we
believe that this paper provides a balanced discussion and a set of recommended practices that can be
helpful both to schools with existing experience and to those just starting a distance education program.
While no treatment of this length can pretend to be exhaustive, we do believe that we have addressed
much of the terrain that a good distance education program needs to master if it is to succeed both
educationally and financially.
As with any attempt to provide analysis and advice about a moving target, we recognize that this paper
will begin to be out of date the moment it is released. We anticipate that there will be additional iterations
of the paper, and we hope that the Working Group will continue to be a forum where the best policies and
practices for distance education in law can continue to be hashed out and disseminated. Rather than only
updating this resource periodically, we hope to provide shorter guidance documents, model policies, and
other helpful materials as the legal education technology, regulation, and practice evolves and matures.
We welcome additions to our group; contact information is available on the cover pages.
In closing, the authors wish to thank the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession for its
intellectual leadership, convening ability, and willingness to sponsor the efforts of the Working Group for
its first few years. We also wish to acknowledge the generosity of the eight schools who have hosted our
semi-annual meetings and informational breakfasts at various Association of American Law Schools
(AALS) annual meetings. Finally, we thank CALI for sponsoring the publication of this second iteration
of recommended practices for distance learning programs.
In a time when higher education, legal education, and the legal industry are in considerable transition,
distance learning is one small piece of a large, creative and inventive tool set deployed by visionaries to

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT