Many Would Find Two-Year JD Appealing

A new survey of 1,682 prospective law students nationwide reveals a sizeable gap between their interest in two-year J.D. programs and their awareness of existing two-year programs currently being offered by U.S. law schools.

  • Of the 334 respondents who reported they were undecided about attending law school, 65% said that a two-year J.D. program increased their interest.
  • In addition, 37% of all 1,682 respondents – those undecided and those planning to attend law school – said that a two-year program is more appealing than a three-year program.
  • At the same time, just 28% of all respondents were aware of two-year programs currently being offered by U.S. law schools.
  • 68% of respondents said they would be more likely to attend a two-year program if it were highly selective/elite.

The survey of prospective law school students was conducted July 5-7, 2013, by SimpsonScarborough, a marketing research and strategy firm with a specialty in higher education, and sponsored by Brooklyn Law School.

THREE-YEAR JD STILL PREFERRED BY A MAJORITY OF PROSPECTIVE LAW STUDENTS

“This survey of prospective law students reveals that students want flexibility in how they obtain a high-quality legal education,” said Nicholas W. Allard, the Joseph Crea Dean and Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. “While the traditional three-year program is still preferred by a majority of students, more than a third of students would be drawn to a two-year program of equal prestige. Their reasons focus on time and money: they want to be ready to join the workforce more quickly, at a lower cost, and with less student loan debt.  What matters most is the concept of choice.”

When asked why they find two-year J.D. programs more appealing than three-year programs respondents cited the following reasons:

  • 40% said it takes less time
  • 33% said it allowed quicker entry into the workforce
  • 10% said it was less time out of work

When asked to rate the appeal of general attributes of a two-year program on a 10-point scale, with 10 as “very appealing,” respondents ranked the following attributes highest:

  • Save a year’s worth of living expenses: 43% rated as a 9 or a 10
  • Without full-time salary for only two years: 40% rated as a 9 or a 10
  • Earn a higher salary sooner: 39% rated as a 9 or a 10
  • Will be working in the law field in two years: 37% rated as a 9 or a 10

‘CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAWYERS ARE CHANGING’

The accelerated two-year program opens the doors to a host of options that will facilitate the education and employment of more lawyers in the workforce. It’s all about making one quality degree, the standard 85 credit courses of study, available via many paths-–an accelerated program in two or two and one-half years, a standard three-year program, or an extended program in three and one-half or four years.

“Career opportunities for lawyers are changing,” Dean Allard said.  “There is more demand for lawyers in areas such as compliance and risk management, energy law and privacy rights.  These have supplanted jobs that were in the more traditional job route filling associate, and partner positions in large traditional law firms.  Multiple pathways to a law degree open the door for more trained professionals to enter the workforce prepared to meet the challenges in these new areas of law.

“All Brooklyn Law School students earn the same quality J.D. degree by completing 85 semester hours of credit.  We have one 85 credit course degree, with many paths – students have options to earn a degree in our standard 3-year program, an accelerated two to two and one-half year program, or an extended three and one-half to four-year program.”

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.