April 12, 2023
Purdue Global’s Concord Law School celebrates 25 years of audacity
Nation’s first fully online law school aims to remain on cutting edge
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Even in an age of ubiquitous smartphones, Wi-Fi and broadband internet access, online learning was still new and unfamiliar for many when COVID-19 hit in March 2020, forcing millions of Americans to work and study from home.
So imagine how audacious it was to propose launching an online law school back in 1998 – a time when U.S. Census data shows that only a quarter of American households included someone who accessed the internet at home.
The nation’s first fully online law school, Concord opened its virtual doors in October 1998 with 33 students and two professors. It has helped more than 2,600 students obtain Juris Doctor or Executive Juris Doctor degrees in the 25 years since, with alumni residing in all 50 states and more than two dozen foreign countries.
“The idea that someone was doing it for almost a quarter-century before the pandemic blows people’s minds, as well it should,” says Martin Pritikin, who since 2016 has served as dean and vice president of what is now known as Concord Law School at Purdue Global. “When the idea for Concord started back in 1998, most people, including myself, still had a dial-up internet connection. The internet was not well developed at that point, and the idea of having a fully online law school was really audacious.
However, it makes sense on numerous fronts. For starters, Concord does not face the expensive burden of maintaining a physical campus, so it is able to provide a relevant legal education at one-third the cost of traditional law schools. In addition, Concord’s online format makes it an attractive option for nontraditional students who might not otherwise be able to attend law school, including:
- Working adults who want to change careers or alter their current career trajectories.
- Active military who are unsure where they will be stationed or deployed from year to year.
- Those caring for dependents who can’t manage a night-school schedule.
- Students who live too far from a law school campus and can’t afford to commute.
- Those with physical disabilities for whom travel is difficult.
Concord Law School is part of Purdue Global, which is Purdue's online university for working adults.
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