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Law School in a Pandemic, Year 2

Moving From Emergency Remote Teaching to Emerging Best Practices in Distance Legal Education

COVID-19 made 2021 another uncertain year for educational institutions, and law schools were no exception. Vaccines became widely available to Americans in the spring, helping bring new COVID-19 cases to low levels in the spring and summer months, and law students largely returned to in-person classes in the Fall 2021 semester.

2021 also saw a great deal of learning and adjustment around the videoconferencing applications. The capacity for distance learning has become the norm rather than the exception in U.S. higher education institutions, including law schools.

Online J.D. classes have the potential to extend access to a broader range of students by making it more feasible for them to balance their studies with other responsibilities. In the 2022 study, students said online law classes gave them more time to care for family members, work to earn money or take advantage of professional opportunities, and even study for their courses.

However, online courses must be designed and implemented in ways that maximize their value to law students and minimize the trade-offs with attending classes in-person.

Report Cover

For the 2022 study, AccessLex and Gallup recontacted 820 students who participated in the first survey to see how their recent experiences with, and opinions of, online J.D. classes compare with those same students' experiences and opinions from the first year of the pandemic.

Read the report for insights on how those students' perceptions shifted as students, teachers and administrators had more time to adapt to the distance learning format.

Results from the AccessLex-Gallup 2022 Current Law Student Survey are based on 820 completed web surveys with currently enrolled J.D. students across 137 law schools. Gallup conducted surveys Feb. 16-March 16, 2022 via the web, in English only.

The sampling population was J.D. students currently registered in AccessLex's MAX database, who had also completed the 2021 AccessLex-Gallup Current Law Student Survey in 2021. The analysis in this report compared responses from the 820 students interviewed in 2022 with results from the same set of students who took the survey in 2021. Unlike results in the 2021 report, the data presented in this report have not been weighted to match national law school student demographics of gender, race, Hispanic ethnicity, region and law school tier; all trends and findings are limited to the observed student population.

Read the report press release

The Gallup and AccessLex study reveals compelling statistics around law students' perception of online learning as the pandemic continued. Read the press release for the full announcement and a summary of key findings.

1 in 6 students interviewed (16%) are considered promoters of their online J.D. courses.
63% of law students felt emotionally drained after online classes, compared with in-person classes (48%).
53% of students in hybrid programs agreed that their program was "worth the cost."