WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2018 -- With the recent decline in law school applications, AccessLex Institute commissioned Gallup to conduct a study on how the value of the law degree is perceived when compared to other higher education degrees. The study, Examining Value, Measuring Engagement: A National Study of the Long-Term Outcomes of a Law Degree, builds on AccessLex Institute and Gallup's 2016 report, Life After Law School.
The study adopted a holistic conception of value, encompassing not only employment outcomes, but also well-being and professional engagement. The study finds that the perceived value of the law degree is high among law graduates and recipients of other higher education degrees. Moreover, most law graduates report they would still get a law degree if they could go back and do it all over again.
Perceptions of the law degree differed, however, based on student loan debt and graduation date. Law graduates who accumulated $100,000 or more in student loan debt in order to obtain their law degree or who graduated during or after the Great Recession had less favorable perceptions of the degree's value.
"While the law degree is still held in high esteem, it is now seen as a riskier investment than in the past," said Aaron N. Taylor, Executive Director of the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence. "The law encompasses everything we do, and lawyers are stewards of the legal process. Therefore, understanding the factors that underlie perceptions of legal education is important to us all. We are happy to have partnered with Gallup to conduct this important study."
The report provides important new insights into the value of the law degree and the potential challenges faced by degree holders. Armed with this information, law schools, the legal profession and other stakeholders can help aspiring attorneys develop realistic career-related expectations and successfully transition from law student to lawyer.
Click here to read, or download the study.
About AccessLex Institute: In partnership with its nearly 200 nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved member law schools, AccessLex Institute has been committed to improving access to legal education and to maximizing the affordability and value of a law degree since 1983. The AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence advocates for policies that make legal education work better for students and society alike and conducts research on the most critical issues facing legal education today. The AccessLex Center for Education and Financial Capability offers on-campus and online financial education programming and resources to help students confidently manage their finances on their way to achieving personal and professional success. Learn more at AccessLex.org.
About Gallup: Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.