Why This Matters

  • 46 STATES REQUIRE A LAW DEGREE TO PRACTICE

    To practice law in the U.S., lawyers must pass their state’s bar exam. Currently, only California, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington do not require a law degree as part of their bar exam requirements.

  • YOU COULD BE LEAVING $40,000 ON THE TABLE

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for lawyers is $120,910. The annual median wage for other legal occupations, like legal assistants, is $80,810.

  • DEMAND FOR ARBITRATORS TO RISE 10% BY 2026

    As many companies turn to non-litigious means of settling disputes, the need for arbitrators and mediators is expected to grow at a faster-than-average pace in the next few years.

Our Research

Due to a number of factors, law degree programs have been slow to transition into online learning. Currently, no programs are offered completely online. We focused on programs that are offered in a hybrid format, meaning classes are offered both online and in-person. The in-person components occur on weekends, evenings, or in short-term residencies.

In most states, in order to pass the bar exam and practice as a lawyer, you must earn a juris doctor (JD) degree from an American Bar Association-accredited program. Accreditation confirms that the program adheres to the highest standards of legal education. Several of the master’s programs on our list are ABA-accredited. All of the programs on our list are offered by regionally accredited institutions.

We evaluated each program for its reputation, flexibility, course offerings, and cost, then calculated the Intelligent Score of each degree on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for best online law degree are affordable, adjustable, and respected. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 51 hours to write this article
  • 22 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 273 education programs we compared

The Top 25 Online Law Degrees

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What You Should Know About This Degree

While all of the programs on our list can mostly be completed online, they each have some in-person requirements, as well as other limitations on their flexibility.For example, Syracuse University and the University of Dayton livestream classes, requiring availability at set times, while Hamline University requires 10 on-campus visits throughout the course of the program. Required or optional externships are also part of the plans of study for most programs. Read each school’s schedule and requirements carefully, and make sure you can accommodate them in their schedule and budget.

Most states require that you complete an ABA-accredited program and receive your juris doctor, or J.D., as part of the licensing process for lawyers. California University of Pennsylvania’s program awards a Doctorate of Criminal Justice, which is different than a law degree, and may not qualify for licensing through your state’s bar association.

The projected job growth rate for lawyers is 8%, about as fast as the average for all jobs in the U.S. Competition to get a job as a lawyer at a law firm may be challenging. However, a law degree equips you with many transferable skills, and there are many other career paths you can pursue with a law degree, including working as a consultant, government policy advisor, and more.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Law programs:

  • What are the school’s LSAT requirements? The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is specifically designed to evaluate the aptitudes needed for successful study in law school. They are required by all ABA-accredited schools as part of the admissions process. As part of your research and application process, find out when and where you can to take the test, and what your program’s minimum score is.
  • Am I eligible for admission to this program? Any number of bachelor’s degrees can prepare you for a law degree, but programs may have specific eligibility requirements, including a master’s in a particular field, or prerequisite coursework. Be sure to check with your school about what their requirements for admission are.

In general, you should research the application processes and deadlines for schools to which you are applying. This information is typically published on the school’s website; contact the school directly if you have questions.Also consider your financing options for law school, including employer tuition benefits, scholarships, assistantships, and financial aid.