June 20, 2023

AccessLex Institute and Gallup Release New Report in the Law School in a Pandemic Series Analyzing Online J.D. Coursework

Research and Data

West Chester, PA – June 20, 2023 – The third and final installment of an AccessLex Institute® and Gallup series of reports examining law student experiences with online J.D. coursework during the pandemic, Law School in a Pandemic, Ungrouped: How Online J.D. Experiences Varied Across Students, is now available.

Beginning in 2021, AccessLex and Gallup partnered to survey law students about their experiences with online J.D. coursework during the pandemic. The first report, Law School in a Pandemic: Student Perspectives on Distance Learning and Lessons for the Future, was published in June 2021 and described the transition to distance learning and the remote classroom. As a follow-up in 2022, the second report, Law School in a Pandemic, Year 2 – Moving From Emergency Remote Teaching to Emerging Best Practices in Distance Legal Education, highlighted progress made in remote J.D. education, indicating increases in satisfaction with online coursework from the prior year.

The newest portion of the study explores students’ perceptions while attending law school during the pandemic and how those perceptions differed based on various characteristics such as race/ethnicity, age, enrollment status, caregiver status, and law school tier.

“Understanding the quality of the student experience has always been important, but pandemic-related disruptions and related innovations have made measuring the quality of the law school experience particularly urgent,” stated Stephanie Marken, Partner, Education Division, Gallup. “It is only through this kind of research that we can assess the effectiveness of the many changes we have made to how we reach and teach students in a post-pandemic world.”

Findings from the new report indicate that part-time students, caregivers, students ages 30 and older, and those attending tier-four (T4) ranked law schools were more receptive to online J.D. courses compared to their counterparts. In addition, underrepresented students of color were more likely to perceive that online courses allowed them more flexibility to gain legal work experience and work to earn money but less likely to report easy access to career services and to agree their J.D. program is worth the cost, as compared to their White and Asian peers.

“This report demonstrates that law students of different backgrounds benefitted from distance learning during the pandemic in varied ways and, likewise, differed in their perceptions of remote instruction and support,” said Tiffane Cochran, Vice President of Research, AccessLex Institute. “As distance education continues to gain traction in J.D. programs, understanding and meeting the diverse needs of online and hybrid students will be important for ensuring its ongoing success.”

Read the report here.


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.

About AccessLex Institute:
AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purpose-driven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional. In partnership with its nearly 200 Member law schools, improving access and positively influencing legal education have been at the heart of the Company’s mission since 1983. AccessLex Institute is headquartered in West Chester, PA. Learn more at AccessLex.org.