The results of a survey published earlier this month by the Kaplan Test Prep has found that most pre-law students favor a two-year law school model and want significant changes in current models of legal education. The survey obtained responses from nearly 1, 400 pre-law students, who are committed to become tomorrow’s lawyers. The survey also found most pre-law students wanted gave more weight to clinics-based education and clinical experience.
The major findings of the Kaplan survey include:
A shorter law school model: Though 58% of the respondents were in favor of a two-year model of law school, and a previous Kaplan survey among recent graduates found 63% in favor of a two-year model, this may not be possible, as law schools are businesses run on tuitions. The fact that President Obama, too, suggested strongly for a shorter two-year model, makes no difference.
More clinics are required in law school curricula: This verdict is almost unanimous with 97% of the pre-law students surveyed saying they wanted more clinical experience at law schools – designed to make students more practice-ready. This is a wish that may be granted, as a recent Kaplan survey found at least 71% of JD programs introducing more clinics and practical training in their curricula.
Varying sense of purpose among pre-law students: The desire to attend law school stems from varying desires among pre-law students, and only 58% say their desire is to practice law. At least 7% wanted to pursue a career in politics, and another 7% said they were joining law school to earn better salaries.
Jeff Thomas, executive director of the pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep said, “Our survey suggests that pre-law students are paying attention to the current state of legal education and the job market for new lawyers, and recognize the need for big changes that they think will benefit them.”