The Top 12 Free Online Law Courses in 2021

For the longest time, a law degree has been one of the most sought-after and highly respected courses to enroll at university. Having a law degree is the first step towards securing a career in the legal field for many people. Further studies and training usually follow this to become a practicing barrister or solicitor. But this is not enough reason to enroll in law school. Everybody knows how a law degree is exceptionally challenging. 

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Law?
What are some reasons why you should study law?
What Can You Do with a Degree in Law?

Law Degree Careers Sans Passing the Bar Exam

The Top 12 Free Online Courses for Law in 2021

Beginner
An Introduction to American Law
Justice
Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract
A Law Student’s Toolkit

Intermediate
Privacy Law and Data Protection
Introduction to Intellectual Property
Internet Giants: The Law and Economics of Media Platforms
Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases

Advanced
Copyright Law in the Music Business
Copyright for Educators and Librarians
Copyright for Multimedia
Media Law

How Online Courses for Law Benefit You

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Law?

Legal studies, or law, touches almost all aspects of human life and the different issues surrounding economics, business, the environment, politics, international relations and trade, and human rights. 

A law degree is the academic degree conferred after you study law. This degree is generally in preparation for legal careers. As a law student, it’s expected that you learn how to handle even the most demanding and most problematic, and seemingly irresolvable issues and conflicts in morality and human society. A law degree also provides a framework where you examine and understand various institutions and cultures. This degree is a helpful way to prepare for a specific legal career and a broader range of professional roles. 

What are some reasons why you should study law?

Law is undeniably one of the most admired academic disciplines in the world. With lucrative salaries, job stability, and the highly regarded status coined with law jobs, it is not surprising that so many people wish to enroll in law school. But aside from these benefits, what are other reasons why studying law is a wise move? Is a law degree worth it nowadays? 

Law is interesting. One of the significant reasons studying law is a good option is because this discipline is comprehensive and fascinating. A rule governs almost all we do: whether you drive on the freeway, purchase something at Amazon, post something on the Internet, and so much more. As a practicing lawyer, you will regularly deal with various cases that pose different types of problems. Work is seldom repetitive because you will be defending clients from diverse backgrounds and industries. 

Law also allows you to look at human behavior and society from a different perspective. While listening to the stories of people, empathizing with them, and understanding their reasons, struggles, and feelings becomes easier. 

Law is hugely challenging intellectually. If you love solving seemingly tricky riddles and impossible challenges, the law is a perfect academic path. Lawyers deal with very complex philosophical, ethical, and more issues. While some lawyers provide straightforward answers, others sometimes give unclear responses, especially when regulations and potential consequences are factored in. For example, how do you answer tricky questions like:

  • Should animal or people cloning be legal?
  • Should free speeches be limited? 
  • Should we consider pollution a crime?

Law protects fundamental human rights and shares justice. Is there a career that does more than paying the bills? Look no more, and lawyering is the answer. More than the hefty paycheck, the law comes with a sense of meaning and fulfillment borne out of fighting against injustice, helping others, and defending those innocent people. It is a huge responsibility, and at times, you cannot win a case even if you are right. Still, you are willing to do everything in your capacity to make society better.

Law offers job security and financial stability. A career in law remains one of the most well-paid and in-demand jobs out there. While the competition is relatively high, the rewards are well worth it. You won’t have to fear losing or not finding a job because, in most cases, regular people, business people, and companies will always need the help of lawyers! In the US alone, the job outlook for lawyers is very positive. There is an expected 6% increase between 2018 and 2028. 

Law skills can be applied in any professional or personal area. Heard of the cliché “knowledge is power”? While this applies to many fields, this is almost as if it’s made for the law. Contrary to what most people believed, everyone must know the law, not just the professionals in the lawyering field. When one understands the law, it comes with many advantages like:

  • Staying away from being charged, fined, and breaking the law
  • Legally minimizing the taxes by understanding business and tax law
  • Helping family and friends deal with lawsuits, divorces, and the likes

When you are a law student, you will learn demonstrable decision-making and critical thinking skills. You can use these skills to manage your finances, improve your financial relations, and start a business you’re interested in. 

CC_Free Online Courses Law - fact

What Can You Do with a Degree in Law?

 A Juris Doctor (J.D.) is the foundation law degree for would-be lawyers. In most states in the US, the absence of the JD means someone can’t take the bar exam and become a licensed law practitioner. 

On the other hand, the JD is also helpful outside the usual legal settings such as the courtroom. JD holders, in this case, need to understand how they can leverage their education within a particular industry. Here are some traditional law jobs and non-lawyer jobs you can do with a law degree. 

Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.). CPAs are accountable for examining and preparing financial records. They ensure that all the business and personal records are accurate and taxes are correctly and diligently paid. CPAs also assess financial operations so they can create strategic advice for clients. They also help people and businesses recognize ways to boost revenues, minimize costs, or advance profit margins.

Chief Financial Officer (C.F.O.). A chief financial officer maintains a company’s economic well-being and provides accounting services and financial projections. The CFO position is present in both the private and public sectors. CFOs may have gained their business and financial skills through their previous education and experience and later fine-tuned their JD or J.D.-MBA program. 

In most larger companies, CFOs work directly with the organization’s CEO and other top executives. For smaller firms, the CFO is tasked with heading different administrative functions like human and legal relations.

Human Resource Managers. HR managers work within an organization to administer employee relationships, internal programs, policies, and best practices. To become an efficient HR manager, you need to be a solid communicator, and your relationship-building skills should be on point. Also, be organized and detail-oriented! Having a law background helps HR managers employ, enforce, and communicate an organization’s legal compliance directive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that, in the US, the median annual wage for an HR manager was $116,720 in 2019. This position is said to have a 7 percent growth rate after some a few years. 

Insurance Adjuster. You can find an insurance adjuster in the claims departments of an insurance company. As an insurance adjuster, your task is to investigate insurance claims and decide if the insurance firm must pay a share and for how much. In doing this, you conduct interviews with possible witnesses, check hospital and police records, or examine property damages to establish liability. Some adjusters are tapped to represent policyholders and help in the preparations of insurance claims. The US BLS stated that as of 2019, claims adjusters, investigators, examiners, and appraisers have a median annual pay of $66,790.

Tax Attorney. As a tax attorney, your roles are a handful. You can represent clients and use gifts, trusts, and other tax planning structures to minimize the worries of estate taxes and income taxes. You can also represent individuals if troubles arise with lawsuits or business ownerships that involve the IRS. You are also responsible for helping large and small establishments set up new enterprises and guide them to understand taxation laws.   

Law Degree Careers Sans Passing the Bar Exam 

Before you become a JD holder, you must complete three years of law school. Once completed, you are then qualified to take the bar exam to become a practicing lawyer finally. Sadly, some students forgo the bar exams. Thankfully, there are numerous careers for students with law degrees that don’t necessarily require passing the bar exam. Below are some positions to check if you wish to secure a job in the legal field but don’t have plans of taking the bar exam. 

Business Development Professional. The main goal of this role is to help build an organization’s market position and successfully boost its exposure. This is achieved by recognizing, defining, mounting, and handling business deals and relationships, coupled with supervising contract negotiations while closely working with the firm’s legal team.

Compliance Careers. Law degree candidates can secure a career in compliance. This field focuses on making sure that people will comply with federal regulations and laws. For instance, a compliance analyst can internally audit a company and check any associated risks. This is also the same analyst who keeps all the company’s records and constantly monitors all the legal works. Compliance officers have a median salary of $68,860 based on a 2019 study by the US BLS. 

Law Professor. You have gained ample experience in a particular legal area if you love teaching through an LLM education. You have a solid academic background coupled with a passion for writing legal articles. A career as a law professor is perfect. Today, law professors are highly in demand in colleges and professional schools. A survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019 asserted that law professors who also engage in research have an average median annual salary of $113,530.

The Top 12 Free Online Courses for Law in 2021

Getting into law school needs years of dedication, hard work, and money. While many graduates successfully land on lucrative careers, some struggle to find employment and settle their student loan debts. Thus, it’s very critical to think about whether law school is for you or not. In the meantime, you can take advantage of these 12 free online courses for law in 2021. 

FOR BEGINNERS

An Introduction to American Law

The University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 1

This course is an excellent first step towards understanding the basic principles of American Law. It provides an insight into the impact on the systems you can encounter daily and how these systems have developed over time. An Introduction to American Law gives you a peek into six areas of American Law: Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Property, Contract Law, and Tort Law. In this free online course, you will benefit from some helpful insights into the problems and issues arising from applying these laws in different settings and what is unique about American approaches. 

If you’re still starting law school but don’t have a background in pre-law, this course is very helpful in getting you acquainted with some of the fundamental areas of law that you are expected to be exposed to in law school. Being a short introductory course, the storytelling approach is not just concise. It is very punchy and exciting, without sacrificing the quality. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Seven weeks long, 11 hours worth of material
  • Suitable for beginners, with or without a pre-law background
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Justice

Harvard University, via edX

Free Online Courses for Law 2

This is one of the most popular courses at Harvard University and introduces moral and political philosophy. Handled by Michael Sandel, a highly praised professor from Harvard, this course discovers the critical analysis of contemporary and classical theories of justice, including intensive discussions of an existing application. 

Topics included in this free online course include income distribution, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, debates about rights (property rights and human rights), income distribution, problems of private and public life loyalty, and arguments for and against equality. 

What You Will Learn from the Course:

  • The essentials of political philosophy
  • A more profound sense of the philosophy underlying modern-day issues like same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and equality
  • A better understanding of criminal and social justice and the roles in the current justice system
  • The power to check and speak philosophical arguments better

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available ($139.00)
  • 12 weeks long, 3-6 hours per week
  • Taught by Michael Sander, one of the most lauded professors at Harvard University
  • Self-paced
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract

Harvard University, via edX

Free Online Courses for Law 3

Everybody deals with contracts at some point. Whether it’s signing an agreement when you hire a contractor for your home renovation jobs, tapping the help of an experienced computer geek to help you with a new computer program, or even ordering your favorite meal online, contracts are present in these types of transactions. In this course, Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried teaches about the principles of contracts. 

This free contract law course has a regular update of case samples and new materials. It is created to give you the many issues that surface when you enter and enforce contracts. You will learn what a contract is and know the purpose and importance of this legal document. This is followed by a discussion on the intent to make legality, legal relations, morality, and the difference between bargains and gifts. You are also taught about the common pitfalls in contracts: mistakes, frustrations, fraud, and one-sided promises. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available ($199.00)
  • Self-Paced
  • Ideal for Intermediate Learners
  • Taught by Charles Fried, a known figure at Harvard Law School who’s been teaching more than 50 years and has extensively written contracts. 
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

A Law Student’s Toolkit

Yale University, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 4

This is a very intriguing and challenging course. During the first week, the classes are so intense. But as the course progresses, it eventually becomes more accessible and more enjoyable. Whether you are an aspiring law student or you’re already at the advanced level, this course can help you build the needed foundation to succeed in law school and beyond. You will learn concepts, tools, and terminologies that legal academics and lawyers use in making their arguments. 

This free online course is a combination of assignments and short lectures. A reading list completes each lesson to guide you in exploring the subject deeply on your own. While some studies cross-reference each other, these lectures are generally modular. You can approach the modules in whatever order fits your interests, your needs, and your schedule. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Three weeks long, 16 hours worth of material

FOR INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS

Privacy Law and Data Protection

The University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 5

This online training course is one of the most important courses in the field of data privacy protection. This course lets you go over the actual properties of navigating the challenging landscape of privacy. When you understand how privacy laws and data protection work, you can help protect your whole organization’s personal information. 

Heavy emphasis is given to health privacy law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1998. For those who don’t know about USA privacy law, this is a great course to try. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Four weeks long, 12 hours worth of material
  • Easy to follow lectures, great examples on the topics
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Introduction to Intellectual Property

The University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera 

Free Online Courses for Law 6

This course gives a legal foundation to understand intellectual property in the US and a complete review of its three primary forms: patents, which cover innovations and inventions; copyright, which protects originality; and trademarks, which handle the commercial identity. In this free online course, you will learn to:

  • Recognize the different forms of intellectual property protection in the US.
  • Distinguish the pros and cons of intellectual property administration
  • Study the most feasible intellectual property strategies using case studies
  • Assess choices to formal intellectual property protections

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Four weeks long, 15 hours worth of material
  • Well-structured course, videotaped course materials are concise and clear
  • Easy to understand even for non-native English speakers
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

Internet Giants: The Law and Economics of Media Platforms

The University of Chicago, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 7

If you are a lawyer, an economist, a technologist, or just curious about how hi-tech businesses are created and regulated, this course is for you. This seven-week free online course explores how law and technology are connected. It strongly focuses on US laws, with some basic comparisons to other laws in the world, especially in Europe. 

Technology plays an essential role in economic growth, which explains why it’s more important than ever to raise broader questions about the human condition, including how cultures develop and control this development. The course explores seven topics:

  • Microsoft: The Desktop vs. The Internet
  • Google Emerges (and the World Responds)
  • Smartphones
  • Nondiscrimination and Network Neutrality
  • The Day the Music Died
  • Video
  • The Mediated Book

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Nine weeks long, 59 hours worth of material
  • Impressive course content, audiovisual presentations, and lecturing approach
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases

The University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 8

This course will learn about the US constitution and consequential Supreme Court cases interpreting the constitution. You will explore the origin of the constitutions, their amendments throughout the years, and the methods of constitutional interpretation. Some of the topics included in the course are the nature and structure of the federal government, individual rights, and the federal government’s powers. 

The professor, Kermit Roosevelt III, is very knowledgeable and provided exciting content and a higher-level overview of the constitution. The lectures follow an excellent structure, and there are also animations, videos, and interviews that break up the monotony of the course. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Four weeks long, 6 hours worth of material
  • Materials are easy to follow and well-constructed

FOR ADVANCED LEARNERS

Berklee College of Music, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 9

This course is for those who do not have much experience with the law but have a general understanding of music and musical analysis (roman numeral analysis, chord progressions, basic tempo, and form). You will learn the foundation for copyright, including those that are not covered by copyright law. 

The course will clarify music artists’ rights as creators and what the public can take for free from the artist’s work. This will also cover topics on how technology has evolved and changed copyright for the better and how laws on copyright will change in the coming years. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Four weeks long, 10 hours worth of material
  • Course contents are detailed and can easily be absorbed
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

Copyright for Educators and Librarians

Duke University, via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 10

This is a beneficial course not only for educators and librarians but also for technical and creative writers. Today, there’s a silent fear about copyright laws that often plagues educators. Sometimes, that can even prevent them from teaching creatively. Copyright for Educators and Librarians is a professional development course designed to give you a basic introduction to the copyright laws in the US. 

The course is an excellent introduction to copyright law for librarians and educators, especially if you have no previous background in the subject. The modules offer good information, and they’re easy to follow and understand, and presented engagingly. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Five weeks long, 13 hours worth of material
  • Easy to follow; beneficial links to references
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

Copyright for Multimedia

Duke University, Emory University,  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – via Coursera

Free Online Courses for Law 11

This is quite challenging when copyright questions are raised (whether data, music, video, or images). While most copyright laws differentiate between these various formats, there are some which media-specific considerations influence a copyright analysis. 

This course strongly focuses on four different media, making sure each is given attention to the significant issues when settling on copyright choices for each kind of material. You will learn more about fair use issues for every multimedia format, check formats that are exempted in the law, and go over specific topics when seeking permission for music, film, images, and data. 

By completing this free online course, you will understand making copyright decisions and become more comfortable dealing with multimedia issues. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available
  • Four weeks long, 11 hours worth of material
  • A significant number of practical cases and examples
  • Lots of reading materials and quizzes to test your knowledge
Free Online Law Courses - Divider

Media Law

New York University, via edX

Free Online Courses for Law 12

This comprehensive online course covers privacy and art, Open-Source, public licensing, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Digital Rights Management, and Creative Commons. In this free online course, you will learn:

  • Ethical and legal frameworks in digital media
  • US Federal Court decisions that were applied to questionable works of digital media
  • US laws concerning the creation of films, videos, apps, games, websites, digital objects, as all those other forms of digital media
  • The disparity between sharing, ownership, borrowing, and the likes, and the appropriate concepts of Intellectual Property as applied in various creative practices
  • The latest advances in US laws and their future effects of digital media

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Paid Certificate Available ($249.00)
  • 14 weeks long, 8-10 hours per week
  • Very informative and useful

How Online Courses for Law Benefit You

If you are a law aspirant, enrolling in an online law course is one of the best ways to boost your knowledge in a specific field. Online courses are beneficial to everybody: a law expert, a professional, or a law school student! These courses are built on the best topics, and usually, they are offered in shorter terms. But how do you benefit from these courses?

Lower Cost. Online law courses are cheaper than conventional campus-based programs. 

Some courses are even offered for free.

It helps save you time. This is particularly helpful if you presently have a job or are tied up with your family obligations. Online law courses are the best options for you. You can study from your home, office, and at any place, you’re most convenient. 

Better opportunities to practice as a solo. If joining law firms and organizations doesn’t sit well on you, working as a solo practitioner is a wise move. Attending law courses online is the perfect choice for you. 

Today, the demand for lawyers all around the globe is growing by the day. You can either work with corporate firms or practice as an advocate in the course. Whether you want to be a judge, a lawyer, or a police officer, online law courses take you a step closer to your career goals!