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The Internet is revolutionizing the law, legal institutions, and the roles of lawyers and law schools. Legislatures and courts all over the world are discovering how a $3,000 Internet-connected computer can be a remarkably cheap printing press for legal publishing, through which to instantly communicate new statutes, court decisions and administrative regulations. Law schools have an important role to play in connection with this revolution. They should support electronic publishing and virtual library initiatives by public institutions. They must continue to generate intellectual and human capital in the form of scholarship and well-educated graduates, accounting for new and substantive legal issues that the Internet presents. Finally, it is increasingly clear that the Internet provides a new set of educational tools for distance learning that more schools must begin to understand and use to improve teaching quality. Distance learning extends to all uses of computer, telecommunications, and digital networking technologies that permit education to occur outside a conventional classroom. Thus defined, it includes preparation of video taped lectures, preprogrammed computer-assisted legal instruction (CALI) exercises, and use of the Web to deliver these and other materials. The paper focuses on distance learning in law.
Date of Publication: Nov/Dec 2000