Thursday, December 10, 2020

Law School Applicants Up 35 Percent

According to a recent article, law school applications are up 35 percent at this point in the admission cycle in comparison to the previous year.  

As cited in the article:

"Reginald McGahee, associate dean of admissions and student affairs at the Howard University School of Law in the District of Columbia, explains that people who have been contemplating law school for a long time had more time for soul-searching during quarantine. With that time and space for introspection, some individuals realized that they wanted to become lawyers, McGahee suggests. 'The pandemic has forced a number of people to really take stock of the fragility of life and the importance of doing things that are fulfilling and nurture you and advance the goals that you set for yourself,' he says. He adds that because people had to 'slow down' during the pandemic, they couldn't distract themselves from big questions about what a good life is. 'We've been able to focus on those things that are really important to us, and I think that a lot of people are reconnecting with the idea that, if I'm going to work, let me add something to society that I didn't really think that I was adding before,' McGahee says."  Id.  

Dean McGahee's points are worth remembering.  Students are drawn to legal education  to pursue purposeful lives.  That's something that I need to remember when I meet with my students.  

I sometimes think that many (if not most) academic issues are not really at the heart academic issues at all.  Rather, I find that many students who are so-called underperforming are really underperforming because we - as legal educators - are not always measuring up to helping connect their educational experiences with the heartfelt desires that brought them to law school in the first place, i.e., to make the world a better place.  

One of the questions that's been circulating around is what sort of guidance one might start with in meeting with students or bar takers who have not performed as they hoped.  I always try to start by asking them to tell me about their passion in life.  What brought them to law school?  How have their law school experiences related to their purposes?  Is law school not just shaping them but are they shaping law school for the better?  Those are big questions, and most of our students have come to law school with big questions on their minds with big hearts of passion to enrich the world for the better.  (Scott Johns).

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