Looking at law students' experiences

January 24, 2012
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Law school students aren’t interacting much with international students, something that may hurt them as they prepare for a more internationally diverse environment.

Legal educators have a pretty valuable resource when it comes to finding how law students feel about their learning experience – the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, produced in Bloomington, Ind.

The Law School Survey of Student Engagement recently released its 2011 survey results of more than 33,000 law students at participating schools and focused this year’s report on the paths one can take in legal education. The report looks specifically at how studying part time changes the student experience; are students well-served by transferring to a new law school; and how is the experience of juris doctor students transformed by having international graduate law students in their schools?

Regarding part-time students, the report found that those students appear to be at least as satisfied with the law school experience as their full-time counterparts. Part-time students spent less time on co-curricular activities, but spent the same amount of time studying and preparing for class as full-time students.

“Of particular note, part-time students were less likely to participate in pro bono or clinical activities as part of a course. While this may be expected, it raises important questions about substantive differences in learning opportunities for part-time and full-time students, especially given the highly beneficial nature of clinics and collaborative work for students,” the report says.

Just like with part-time students, the study found that transfer students are less likely than others to participate in law journal, moot court and law school organizations, as well as pro bono activities. The study also found that transfer students have significantly lower undergraduate grade point averages and LSAT scores than other students at the same schools, but they work hard to prove themselves once they are in their new law school. In 2011, just 3 percent of 2L and 3L students in the LSSSE sample of U.S. law schools were transfer students.

Finally, the report takes a look at globalization and the law school experience. The study reports that overall, law students had limited interaction with international graduate law students, which the LSSSE believes is a lost opportunity for U.S. students to prepare themselves for the global economy.

You can view the survey results on the group’s website. The LSSSE is part of Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, which is a part of the School of Education that studies the student experience.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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