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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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