A Texas attorney fights unequal treatment between brick-and-mortar law schools and those that offer a fully online legal curriculum.
— Nelson A. Locke, Esq.
PLANO, TEXAS, USA, August 6, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — A Plano attorney is gaining momentum in his cause for equal treatment in law school education. In June, attorney Nelson A. Locke, Esq. founded the Virtual Education Is Real Education initiative. He started a petition drive that would compel the state of Texas to allow graduates from fully online law schools to be admitted to the Texas bar. The petition has nearly 500 signatures.
UNEQUAL TREATMENT FOR ONLINE CURRICULUMS
The American Bar Association (ABA) oversees the accreditation of law schools. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABA gave its 196 accredited law schools permission to offer fully online courses. This year, the ABA still allows 140 law schools to use online courses to provide up to one-third of the credit hours required for a JD. However, it has withheld accreditations for all fully online law schools, like Concord Law School at Purdue University, except for St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio.
“It’s easy to find a blatant case of unequal treatment between brick-and-mortar law schools and those that offer a fully online legal curriculum. Just compare St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio and Concord Law School at Purdue University Global in Los Angeles,” said Locke.
Concord is an online education pioneer, established in 1998 as the nation’s first fully online law school. Concord is fully accredited by the State Bar of California, and the National Higher Learning Commission.
Locke continues, “Concord has produced qualified attorneys for almost 25 years. Even so, Concord has been largely ignored by the American Bar Association (ABA) because of its fully online curriculum. In contrast, St. Mary’s has only five years of experience offering online courses. Yet, it is the only law school to have a fully online Juris Doctor (JD) program accredited by the ABA.”
VIRTUAL EDUCATION IS REAL EDUCATION
Locke established a successful law practice in California in 2013 after passing the state’s two rigorous bar exams. In addition, he has been admitted to the federal bar in five different states and is now seeking to be admitted to the bar in Texas.
Locke earned his law degree at Concord Law School at Purdue University which offers a fully online program.
Despite his qualifications, Locke isn’t allowed to practice law in Texas. The state prohibits graduates of any fully online law school, even if the graduate is accepted to another state’s bar association, from being admitted to the Texas bar.
ALIGN ABA RULES WITH 21ST CENTURY LEARNING
When the ban on distance learning was created, the Texas Supreme Court had no way to anticipate how important online education would become.
• The Harvard Business Review acknowledges that the traditional higher education model is under pressure from online options.
• According to the Brookings Institution, the pandemic demonstrated that the quality of live online instruction often rivals – or even exceeds – the quality of an in-person class.
• The average cost of tuition at a traditional law school is $45,844 a year, according to educationdata.org. Compare that with Concord’s average annual tuition of $12,420.
“Online law schools produce skilled attorneys who should be allowed to practice anywhere in the US,” Locke said. “The ABA recognized that when they accredited St. Mary’s online program. It makes no sense for Texas to prohibit students from other online law programs, who have already been accepted to the bar in other states, from admission into the bar in Texas.”
To learn more about Locke’s Virtual Education Is Real Education campaign, visit https://www.virtualeducationisrealeducation.com/.
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