Support Among Prospective Students for Fast-Track Law School

, The National Law Journal

   |8 Comments

President Obama isn’t the only one who thinks law school should last for just two years.

In a survey of prospective law students, 58 percent said that they would prefer to spend just two years acquiring a juris doctor degree rather than the traditional three. That brings them in line with the president, who last year remarked during a speech about college costs that law schools could stand to eliminate the final year.

Kaplan Test Prep queried 1,378 would-be law students about program length, among a range of issues.

“Our survey suggests that prelaw 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 they think will benefit them,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director for prelaw programs at Kaplan. “This desire for a shake-up puts them on the same page as many in the legal education community, including law school admissions officers and educators.”

In a separate survey last summer, 63 percent of recent law graduates surveyed by Kaplan agreed that law schools should be whittled down to two years. That move would represent significant cost savings for students.

In other responses to the more recent survey, 97 percent of prelaw students said they would like to see law schools do more to incorporate clinics into their curricula. And 58 percent said that their primary motivation for going to law school was to practice law, while 11 percent sought a change from another career.

Another 7 percent said they wanted to improve their earning potential and an identical percentage aspired to political careers.

“It’s also encouraging that prelaw students say the primary reason they are planning to go to law school is to actually practice law,” Thomas said. “While the J.D. is a versatile degree and there are many career paths possible with it, it’s smart to make practicing law your primary focus.”

Contact Karen Sloan at ksloan@alm.com. For more of The National Law Journal's law school coverage, visit: http://www.facebook.com/NLJLawSchools.

What's being said

  • not available

    Yes, reducing the number of years to get a law degree will increase the number of lawyers in the population and put downward pressure on the price of hiring a lawyer, which right now is totally out of proportion with the rest of the professional careers in the world.

  • not available

    This is a great idea! I need to have a law degree to go along with my MSME because I am finding that I am increasingly involved in legal matters and corporate litigation. It would be extremely useful to have the credentials of a lawyer when going into court and testifying about business matters. If I can get a law degree in two years, count me in! -- Fred Furrer

  • alm

    Implementing a two-year law degree would be a terrible idea. Students would lose the ability to explore unique, non-core areas of the law and find fewer opportunities for practical hands-on clinical work. I would like to see a system more like that of medical schools.

  • alm

    Implementing a two-year law degree would be a terrible idea. Students would lose the ability to explore unique, non-core areas of the law and find fewer opportunities for practical hands-on clinical work. I would like to see a system more like that of medical schools.

  • not available

    Implementing a two-year law degree would be a terrible idea. Students would lose the ability to explore unique, non-core areas of the law and find fewer opportunities for practical hands-on clinical work. I would like to see a system more like that of medical schools.

  • not available

    I think that 20 year olds should definitely dictate the structure of legal education. Most students hate exams and do not want them. So, I will no longer give exams to students. THANKS, KAPLAN, for your wisdom. Students rock!

  • not available

    Yes! Law schools can easily eliminate the third or last year from the curriculum of law degree because the students already cover everything in two years and they always have extra time to spend for the study of third or final year. Then why should we waste their time and money? Thank you.

    Alexis
    http://www.nyc-seo.org

  • not available

    Yes! Law schools can easily eliminate the third or last year from the curriculum of law degree because the students already cover everything in two years and they always have extra time to spend for the study of third or final year. Then why should we waste their time and money? Thank you.Alexishttp://www.nyc-seo.org

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