Dean's Letter, Summer 2016
7/11/2016 | By Martin Pritikin | Dean's Column
Dean's Letter, Summer 2016: Welcome From Dean Martin Pritikin
Thank you for your interest in learning more about Concord Law School at Kaplan University. As you consider Concord, let me take a moment to share my own considerations in coming here.
After a dozen years at an ABA-accredited law school, I was in line to become their next dean. Instead, I chose to become the dean of Concord Law School. My reasons were simple. The future of legal education is online. And the future of online legal education is at Concord.
Traditional law schools have been criticized for focusing more on theoretical scholarship than practical skills. At the same time, the cost of law school has skyrocketed, with many graduates shouldering six-figure debt—a particularly heavy burden in today's challenging economic climate, and one which impacts both the graduates themselves and the public at large. The high cost of legal education translates to legal services that can be prohibitively expensive for all but large corporations and wealthier individuals.
Traditional law schools have, by and large, been slow to respond. Many have made only incremental moves toward making their curriculum more relevant to the modern job market. They have limited options for those who want advanced legal training but don't necessarily want to practice law. They rarely can accommodate the schedules of students with jobs, families, or geographic limitations. And yet the tuition at most law schools only continues to increase, adding to the mounds of student debt.
Enter Concord Law School, with its mission of making high-quality legal education affordable and accessible. By leveraging technology, Concord offers tuition that is a fraction of the cost of many traditional private law schools, without compromising on educational rigor. Lower debt means more options at graduation. And due to the flexible online format, students do not need to quit their jobs or move near a brick-and-mortar campus, meaning fewer opportunity costs as well.
As online legal education becomes more familiar to the public, I believe all but the most elite traditional law schools will have a harder time demonstrating their value proposition and justifying the tuition they charge. I expect some will fade away altogether. I also believe that Concord Law School is in the best position to take their place.
Concord was the first online law school in the nation, and continues to be an innovator, offering not only its Juris Doctor (JD) degree but also the Executive Juris Doctor (EJD) degree with a variety of specialty tracks. Concord has the benefit of being part of Kaplan University, a regionally accredited institution, with teams of specialists who can help us integrate cutting-edge distance and adult learning research into our comprehensive curriculum. Our faculty are top notch and dedicated to student success. And our students enjoy a vibrant community. They come from diverse backgrounds and a range of professions and industries. Some choose to earn a law degree to enhance their current work, while others seek to embark on new careers or change career fields. Many report that their experience at Concord was far more engaging than they thought possible.
We welcome your interest and look forward to learning more about your individual ambitions. I am very pleased that I chose Concord Law School. I hope you'll find Concord is the right fit for you, too.
All the best,