New Initiative Launched To Recruit Future Law Students
Two of the law education’s biggest organizations are launching a partnership to reach prospective high school and college students.
Law.com reports that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) – which administers the LSAT – and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) – an organization comprised of over 179 law schools – plan to launch a new website and social media campaign to educate young students on what a law degree can do for them and how they can apply for law school.
“We want to better communicate to prospective law students and pre-law advisers about what’s going on in law schools today,” AALS executive director Judith Areen says. “Some of the criticism comes from people who are a little out of date.”
Initiative’s Goal Is To Inform Prospective Applicants
Law school enrollment has been low. JD enrollment is now at its lowest point in 42 years — with only 110,951 students, compared to 147,525 in 2010, according to the National Jurist.
Despite this, LSAC president Kellye Testy insists that the new initiative isn’t simply to boost enrollment. She tells Law.com that the goal is to give candidates a comprehensive understanding of what opportunities a law education can provide. She also notes that the goal is to get prospective applicants to think about a law education as early as high school. According to Law.com, the AALS is conducting a study of how early college students decide whether they want to pursue a law degree.
“That study has already shown that people make these decisions much earlier than any of us understand,” Areen tells Law.com. “A lot of students reported that they started thinking about law school before college, not just during. That underscored for Kellye and for me the need to have better communication, both a website and using social media, so students—even those in high school—who are curious about it can get better information.”
Changing Stereotypes And Informing Prospective Applicants
Testy says she hopes the initiative will challenge current law stereotypes and reassure applicants that lawyers do more than what’s depicted on TV.
“People often see the law as mostly about dispute resolution and arguing,” she tells Law.com. “I think to attract the right diversity of students into law, we need to communicate more fully all the things people do with a legal education.”
And that also means informing prospective applicants that there isn’t a defined or set background required for law school. Law schools generally do not require that applicants have majored in pre-law.
Areen says the organizations hope to launch a new informational website and social media campaign within the next six months. Currently, the existing website only offers information about the LSAT and how students can apply. According to Law.com, the new website will offer applicants more information on what’s happening on the ground at law schools and what the process to becoming a lawyer looks like.
Currently, the majority of pre-law advising roles are part-time filled by faculty who hold other responsibilities. Testy says the initiative will also work to improve outreach to pre-law advisers at undergraduate schools to provide prospective students with the latest information.
“As I’ve become the new leader at LSAC, I’ve seen clearly that we really need a leader for telling the story of law in a way that’s much broader for the pubic to understand,” she tells Law.com. “There needs to be more of a collective voice for that.”
Sources: Law.com, National Jurist