65% of Those Undecided About Law School Say A 2-Year Degree Increases Their Interest, Survey Says

Nov 22, 2013, 10:50 ET from Brooklyn Law School

Yet just 28% of all survey respondents said they were aware of 2-year programs currently offered

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Nov. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new survey of 1,682 prospective law students nationwide reveals a sizeable gap between their interest in 2-year J.D. programs and their awareness of existing 2-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 2-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 2-year program is more appealing than a 3-year program.
  • At the same time, just 28% of all respondents were aware of 2-year programs currently being offered by U.S. law schools.
  • 68% of respondents said they would be more likely to attend a 2-year program if it were highly selective/elite.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131122/DC22513-INFO)

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.

"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 3-year program is still preferred by a majority of students, more than a third of students would be drawn to a 2-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 2-year J.D. programs more appealing than 3-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 2-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 2 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 2 years: 37% rated as a 9 or a 10

The accelerated 2-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 2 or 2.5 years, a standard 3-year program, or an extended program in 3.5 or 4 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 2 to 2-1/2 year program, or an extended 3-1/2 to 4-year program."

About SimpsonScarborough
SimpsonScarborough is a marketing research and strategy firm that specializes in higher education. Using sophisticated qualitative and quantitative research techniques, SimpsonScarborough measures the attitudes and opinions of people who are crucial in college and university marketing efforts and create visionary strategies for engaging and communicating with the most important stakeholders over the long term.

About Brooklyn Law School
Now celebrating its 112th year in legal education, Brooklyn Law School is an independent institution, unaffiliated with any university or college, and the only law school in Brooklyn. The Law School offers a vibrant intellectual community emphasizing teaching excellence, cutting-edge scholarship, and an innovative academic program designed to prepare students for public service, business, and private practice, nationwide and across the globe. The Law School also offers students the "Brooklyn 2-3-4" Program, with degree options that include an accelerated 2-year J.D. program, traditional 3-year program, and extended part-time 4-year program.

SOURCE Brooklyn Law School