We do online legal education right—on your time
Mitchell Hamline’s blended-learning option combines the best of distance learning with the best of in-person instruction.
We understand that the greatest benefit of online education is that we can make it fit your life. All of your online legal education is done on your time. You decide the best way to schedule your time to meet the deadlines and work requirements.
In January 2015, Mitchell Hamline became the first ABA-approved law school in the nation to offer students the chance to earn a law degree through a blend of online and on-campus instruction. The program was called the Hybrid J.D.
By January 2018, the earliest graduates were finishing the program. Since then, hundreds more have graduated, and blended-learning alums from Mitchell Hamline have passed the bar and are working as licensed attorneys around the country.
Because we were the first, Mitchell Hamline has had the time to build on our technological platform and continuously improve our instructional techniques. We extended the Hybrid J.D. program format to an Executive and a Weekend option, including a popular case-study workshop component in which students learn firsthand from lawyers and participants in actual cases.
The newest evolution of blended learning launched fall 2020.
The newest evolution of blended learning is a single enrollment option that includes the best elements of the Hybrid, Executive, and Weekend offerings. It is a four-year program that can be finished in three years. It has significant on-campus time that includes the case-study workshop; a flexible design that allows students to customize their schedules and curriculum; and an “asynchronous” structure that allows students to complete the online portion of their studies entirely on their own schedule.
Flexible and customizable
You’ll spend the first two years in blended courses that are 1/3 online and 2/3 in person. The final two years, you’ll have the choice of a wide range of courses in blended, on-campus, and fully online formats. Summer courses are available after the first year, and J-term courses are available starting in the second year.
No ‘live’ online classes
During the online portion of your studies, your time is your own. You won’t be told to log on at a certain time to hear a lecture. Instead, you’ll have weekly deadlines, and you decide when to work to meet them.
Broad access to programs, certificates, activities
As a blended-learning student, you’ll have access to clinics and externships, specialized academic certificates, seminars, law journals, competitions, and a range of groups and activities just like fully on-campus students have. And you’ll be taught by the same full-time, tenured professors who teach in the on-campus program.
Eligible for the bar in all 50 states
You can tailor your program to meet the requirements in every state, including New York.
The leader in blended legal education
Since Mitchell Hamline launched its innovative blended-learning platform in January 2015 with the Hybrid J.D. program, a team of instructional designers has continued to improve its functionality, extend its reach, and broaden its application. We continue to innovate to increase access to a variety of courses, provide opportunities for students to improve access to justice in their communities, and enhance opportunities for students to connect and get support. We have built a mature program with a track record of successful graduates. We offer the most flexibility to highly motivated students from around the country who want to earn a law degree in a way that fits their lives.
You want to go with the original
Our success has led other institutions to launch similar programs, but none can match our expertise and adaptability.
Academic Affairs oversees the advising initiatives that provide academic direction and degree planning for both blended and on-campus students.
How does the schedule work?
For the first four semesters
Courses are offered in a blended format—1/3 online and 2/3 in person. Students come to campus twice a semester and spend the rest of each semester off campus, completing coursework online. The on-campus portions are intensive sessions filled with skills training and real-world case study. During the off-campus time, students have weekly deadlines but complete the work on their own schedule.
Starting in semester 5
Students have access to a range of courses in a variety of formats, including on-campus and fully online in addition to the blended format that makes up the first four semesters. For any courses they take in semesters 5-8 in the blended format, students come to campus for a Capstone Week.
Educational technology and instructional design
A team of instructional designers facilitates the growth of the blended-learning programs. Their main task is to work with professors to transfer what traditionally has been done face-to-face into an online format that maintains not just the rigor but also the interactivity.
To offer the best blended legal education, we sought the best learning management system. As faculty, even in our traditional program, began to embrace the use of this technology in their classrooms, we quickly outgrew our original system. Our faculty and educational technologists researched, tested, and eventually chose the best available. Video and other media is integrated into Canvas classrooms via Panopto, a leading video content management system as rated by Gartner.
We’ve designed a sample class in our learning management system to give you a preview of the kinds of instructional materials and offerings Mitchell Hamline has to offer. The sample class pulls examples from several of our online and blended courses.