The first UK students have enrolled on a US law school project that teaches postgraduate courses through video links.
Washington University in St Louis, Missouri (pictured), is believed to be the first law school in the US to use new technology to offer the LL.M course to students who are already established in law firms.
The university responded to growing demand from lawyers who wanted to add US qualifications without having to relocate, and the course was offered for the first time this year after a multi-million-pound investment in technology.
Associate dean Michael Koby said law schools will have to innovate to meet demand in the future and make changes to their business model to attract students.
‘You have a choice as a law firm to move ahead with something that is innovative or be stuck behind not doing anything,’ said Koby, who was promoting the course at the International Bar Association conference in Boston this week. ‘We found a large number of lawyers who had senior positions in their practice and didn’t want to leave their family but they wanted to understand the US system better.’
The course, which costs $50,040, has attracted more than 50 students, the majority from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries but two from the UK, both based in City firms.
Koby said he originally had reservations about the teaching method, but experience had removed them. ‘Unlike when you have a lecture theatre of 60 students, there is nowhere to hide when you’re on screen. There are no more than 15 students and it’s far more intense.’