Do 0Ls Have Any Clue About Law School?

Book Racks 2Not according to a recent report by Kaplan Test Prep. Or at least there is a significant gap between what prospective law students want out of a law school and what law school is prepared to give them. And we aren’t talking about “an affordable education” and “massive debt.”

For example, from Kaplan’s press release:

Cut-Throat Competition? While 77% of pre-law students want their future law school to have a collaborative culture where students are working with each other, not against each other, 23% want a competitive student culture, where it may be every aspiring top associate or litigator for himself or herself. Very few law schools (2%) consider their culture to be competitive; however, a whopping 98% say they believe it to be collaborative.

I’ll be honest, I’d always pegged the gunner quotient at around 10 percent. But apparently it’s nearly a quarter of all prospective law students. Perhaps this number is artificially inflated by the release of the recent Hunger Games film.

But the real lesson here is that law schools are no dummies at marketing. The majority of students want collaborative? Then hell yeah we’re collaborative! Not to say many law schools don’t take all students into their warm embrace, but 98 percent?

Ready to Practice? Pre-law students and law schools are much more in tune with each other in this area, with 74% of pre-law students saying they want a practice-ready curriculum compared to just 26% who want a more academic focus. More than three-quarters of law schools (77%) say their curriculum is more practice-ready; just 23% say it is more academic-focused.

Practice-ready! Practice-ready! Practice-ready! Once again, the law schools are parroting what the students seem to want. That said, we’ve already debunked this whole practice-ready thing as a myth, but law schools could get serious about it. And maybe they should based on this survey.

Or not. See, here’s where you really get the sense that 0Ls are completely deluding themselves.

Is Well-Rounded the Way to Go? Almost two thirds (63%) of pre-law students want a law school to have an interdisciplinary curriculum, while 37% want it specialty-focused. More than eight in 10 law schools (82%) say their curriculum is interdisciplinary, while just 18% say they are more specialty-focused.

The majority want to be practice ready, but also want a bevy of Law and _____ courses. Tremendous.

And then I’m just chalking this one up to 0Ls being brown-nosers even if they aren’t cut-throat gunners:

Keep it Casual? Just over half (55%) want to attend a law school that has a casual environment, while 45% want a law school with a formal environment. Here’s another area where there is a wide gap between pre-laws’ desires and law school realities: an overwhelmingly 89% of law schools perceive their environment as casual, while just 11% perceive it to be formal.

Leave the bow tie at home, Poindexter.

There are more findings over at Kaplan Test Prep, including how 0Ls really feel about the Socratic method.

Kaplan Survey: What Pre-Law Students Want in Law School Culture Might Be at Odds with Law School Reality [Kaplan Test Prep]

Earlier: The Myth Of The ‘Practice Ready’ Law Graduate
What If Law Schools Were Really Serious About ‘Practice Ready’ Grads?
Making Law School Millennial-Friendly
Which Law Schools Have The Best Clinics?