Paper Chase, meet cyberspace.
Concord University School of Law is offering all its courses through the Internet. The Los Angeles-based law school is so new that it's the only school in the university, opened by the same company that helps people prepare for the law school admissions test.The students are unlikely to be the bright-eyed idealists shown in "Paper Chase," the movie and television series about the first year at Harvard Law. The school hopes to reach working people, parents, people in rural communities who can't fit a regular law school into their schedules.
The Association of American Law Schools says it is unaware of any other online law school. And the American Bar Association says it has not been asked to accredit Concord or any other online institution.
Because the school lacks ABA accreditation, it will be difficult if not impossible for most graduates to take the bar examination or practice anywhere but in California, which allows unaccredited law schools.
But law school president Jack Goetz says people other than Californians will be drawn to the school, which is authorized by the state Department of Education. He said the ABA standards are such that on online school could not get accredited.
"We're hoping to provide legal education for working professionals and others who may not necessarily be interested in practicing law at a later date," he said by phone. "They may be looking to advance their own careers. They may be looking for a legal background in general."
The law school will offer a four-year program that students can start at any time. Students also will be able to log on and study at their own convenience. The school will be relatively inexpensive, costing about $17,000 for four years.
The Internet site is www.concord.kaplan.edu.