Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Survey on Law Student Engagement

The 2009 Law School Survey of Student Engagement was just published. The report, which has been issued annually for the last five years, is based on input from over 26,000 law students at 82 different law schools. Not surprisingly, the economy figures prominently in the survey. More students than ever are graduating with over $120,000 in debt--a staggering figure by any measure. Fewer students now expect to practice in a private law firm than in the past, with a growing percentage of students expressing interest in public-interest or government positions. I wonder how they will pay off those huge loans with the lower salaries that public-interest and government lawyers usually command? Other insights from the report (courtesy of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 6, 2010):

Students who are not involved in extracurricular activities study less than their peers and more frequently come to class unprepared.

More than one-third of all law students say that their legal education places little emphasis on acting with integrity in personal and professional settings.

Only about half of all law students frequently receive feedback from their professors that is helpful to their academic development.

Ten percent of law students say they never receive feedback from professors that stimulates their interest in the study or practice of law.

Male students are more likely than female students to receive oral feedback from professors, both during class and outside of class.

Frankly, the findings on the lack of meaningful feedback from professors surprised and discouraged me, as did the observation about the lack of emphasis on personal and professional integrity, because I assumed most schools were paying a lot of attention to professional responsibility. I don't know what to say about the lack of feedback. How can students learn without it?

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