The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law will, for the first time, offer a flexible-schedule option to incoming students, Dean Paul Schiff Berman announced.
"Because law is so central to the fabric of American culture, the doors to law school should not be barred to qualified applicants just because their life circumstances require some flexibility in scheduling," Berman said. "We will work to accommodate these students without compromising our standards by offering them the same high quality education available to all students.
"Indeed, we believe the overall educational experience will become better for all because the addition of these students will add a broader variety of life experiences to the school, thereby enriching student interactions both in class and out."
Having a flexible program that allows greater access to the law school is part of ASU President Michael Crow's vision of the New American University, promoting excellence in its research and among its students, staff and faculty, increasing access to its educational resources and working with communities to positively impact social and economic development.
Rosie McCaffrey is now in the second year curriculum at the College of Law after quitting her job and transferring from the Phoenix School of Law. She said a flexible schedule would have helped her enroll earlier at ASU.
McCaffrey earned her bachelor's degree in finance at ASU in 1994, and always wanted to go to law school. But her family and job with a Fortune 100 company precluded enrolling full time.
"A flexible law program will be a wonderful opportunity for many professionals that either cannot afford to give up their career or wish to utilize their degree within their industries," McCaffrey said. "In addition, I feel the overall learning experience would be enhanced by having more working professionals in the classroom to lend their insight to classroom discussion."
To sign up for the College of Law's flexible schedule, students will follow the regular application process, then after admission, elect to take a reduced course load. The normal course load is four or five courses each semester. A reduced course load could mean two or three courses. Students would have two years to finish the normal first-year curriculum, and would have a total of seven years to complete the J.D.
The flexible-schedule program is not a separate part-time program, and students would take courses with full-time J.D. candidates and from the same professors.
"For students who need to continue employment while pursuing the J.D. or for students who have other significant obligations that must be maintained, this opens the door to legal education and further exemplifies ASU's commitment to public education," said Shelli Soto, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid.