Law School Rankings Have Little Impact on Applicants’ Choices, Study Finds

Survey: Law School Training Insufficient for Many Junior Associates

Nearly half of law firm associates believe that law school did not adequately prepare them for practice.

A recent survey of 546 junior associates by legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) and Leopard Solutions found that 45% of associates felt unprepared by law school, and 31% said their law firm experience did not meet their expectations, Reuters reports.

ASSOCIATES WANT MORE PRACTICAL SKILLS

When asked what they would change about their law school experience, most surveyed associates said they wanted more practical skills training and a greater focus on transactional practices. Many associates noted a disconnect between their legal education’s focus on litigation and the type of work they currently do.

Leopard Solutions CEO Laura Leopard says the dissatisfaction among associates may be attributed to pandemic, when most of recent associates began their law firm careers.

“It’s clear that the lack of facetime and personalized training is still having an impact on their development,” Leopard says, noting that many associates have missed out on “vital” in-person training opportunities as a result of the pandemic.

MEN MORE LIKELY THAN WOMEN TO STAY AT FIRMS

Despite these issues, 83% of junior associates say they would still choose to work at their current firms, and 79% are satisfied with their assigned work. 67% of associates plan to stay at their firms for three or more years, while only 9% intend to leave within the next year.

Additionally, the survey also revealed gender disparities in the legal field, with men more likely than women to plan on staying at their firms and to aspire to law firm partnership.

“[The survey is] consistent with other data that show that female attorneys note the prevalence of issues like the gender pay gap more acutely than their male colleagues,” Nathan Peart, managing director of the MLA’s associate practice group, adds.

Sources: Reuters, Major, Lindsey & Africa

Next Page: How to assess off-campus opportunities.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.