BOSTON — An online law school graduate who sued the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for the opportunity to take that state’s bar examination is now a newly minted Massachusetts lawyer.
The Boston Herald first reported that Ross E. Mitchell is the first Massachusetts lawyer with an exclusively online legal education. Mitchell was sworn in on June 22 and has 90 days to register with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, according to the court.
Mitchell, a Newton, Mass.-based independent computer consultant, said he views his legal credentials as “another tool in his consulting arsenal.”
“I don’t plan open to hang out a shingle per se,” Mitchell said. “What I see myself doing is pretty much making myself available to take on interesting projects you need to be lawyer to do.”
Last November, Mitchell won his case against the state’s Board of Bar Examiners, which denied his bid to bypass a requirement that U.S.-trained applicants be graduates of an American Bar Association-accredited law school. Mitchell v. Board of Bar Examiners, No. SJC-10157 (Mass.). The court allowed Mitchell to sit for the bar because the ABA is mulling changes to its accreditation standards.
Last September, the ABA launched a comprehensive review of its standards for the approval of law schools. Currently, ABA-approved schools can only allow graduates to take up to 12 credit hours of classes online.
Mitchell, who was a pro se litigant in his Supreme Judicial Court case, graduated from Concord Law School. Mitchell has also passed the California general bar examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, and he was admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.
In the spring of 2008, Mitchell was also one of four Concord Law graduates sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court’s bar.
Sheri Qualters can be reached at email@example.com.