Coronavirus and its Impact on Legal Education

Coronavirus and its Impact on Legal Education

There is a reason why you do not find any fully-online law courses online. The ABA, up until, has refused to accredit them, with a variety of reasons stating that online education will not be on par with the traditional lecture room classes. 

However, last spring, with campuses closing, the law schools had no other option but to venture into cyberspace. Not so long after, every school in the country chose to impart legal education online. 

The Popularity of Online Law Lessons

If you look at the college reports, the online classes have been quite successful on all fronts. A Harvard Gazette article reports that a Zoom meeting was very compatible with the Socrative teaching method. The environment encouraged personal interactions between students, and discussions within the class. Professors even mentioned that it was better than lectures, as it was less performative than to stand at a podium and manage the entire class. 

The story might be a little different from the student’s perspective. There have been reports that students are not getting their money’s worth through online lessons. The students of the University of Chicago even went on a strike demanding tuition reduction during the pandemic. The Fair Tuition UChicago succeeded in claiming a tuition freeze, but their appeal for a cost reduction was not heeded. In their words, the colleges had to reimburse students for the fees they paid when they are unable to utilize the services or receive the advertised quality of education. 

Taking the Tests

Law schools are not the only part of legal education that witnessed a significant transformation. Though one could find free LSAT ebook and mock tests online, the test was still administered offline. But the pandemic was also responsible for the first-ever online LSAT exams. 

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LSAT FLEX began in May and has enabled nearly 79,000 students to complete the tests online successfully. LSAC plans to continue the online tests through April 2021, given then the life returns to normal by them. 

Unfortunately, the system has been going through a few glitches when LSAT lost the score of 140 test-takers in July. Such mishaps have led to the LSAC suspending limits on repeat testing, allowing students to register for more attempts. However, these in no way reduce the stress on students. 

Applying to Law Schools 

Coronavirus has resulted in the speculation that even if admitted, many students will choose to defer their first year rather than taking online lessons. If that’s the case, there would be free seats available for the 2021 academic year.  

The number of applications to US law schools is down slightly 3.9% compared to last year. The college is naturally expecting a decrease in applications for the next academic year. 

On the other hand, many students feel that they can take law school during the recession years and graduate to a much welcoming economy. Given that law school is a serious commitment and an expensive option, the timing might make better sense for students right now. 

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