A Kaplan Test Prep survey of 750 pre-law students* finds that tomorrow’s lawyers are advocates for change, have an altruistic side and are adapting to new career realities. Key survey results include:
- Legal Education Has to Change: It’s hard to find legally-minded individuals overwhelmingly in agreement on almost any subject, but 79% of pre-law students say that the U.S. legal education system needs “to undergo significant changes to better prepare future attorneys for the changing employment landscape and legal profession.” Notably, the American Bar Association, the organization that accredits law schools, agrees -- it is currently preparing to make recommendations on how to address growing concerns about the cost of a law school education and its effectiveness in preparing graduates to actually practice law.** In the meantime though, some law schools are already taking proactive measures to remedy the situation.***
- More than Half Are Considering Employment Outside Traditional Legal Roles: As the employment landscape continues to struggle, 56% of pre-law students say they plan to use their future JD in a non-traditional legal field - up from 50% in a February Kaplan survey. Of that 56%, 63% say the current job market for lawyers factored into this decision - up from 58% in February.
- A Majority Favor Mandatory Pro Bono Work: While lawyers are often stereotyped as power and money-hungry, 68% of pre-law students surveyed say they would support a New York State Bar-like rule mandating that new JDs complete 50 hours of pro bono work before being admitted to the bar. While this rule currently only exists in New York, California and New Jersey are considering implementing a similar measure.
- Racial Diversity Important to Pre-Law Students: While the Supreme Court recently decided to punt a high profile affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, back to the state, 55% of pre-law students responding to Kaplan Test Prep’s survey say that it’s important that the law school they attend have a racially diverse student body.
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