Kaplan Bar Review Survey: Most Law School Graduates from the Class of 2012 Give their Law School Education High Marks, But Some Don’t Feel their Law Schools Prepared them Well Enough for the Bar Exam

Also: While Most New Law School Graduates Don’t Have a Job Lined Up Yet, Confidence Abounds

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Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Carina Wong, carina.wong@kaplan.com, 212.453.7571
Twitter: @KapTestNews

New York, NY (October 23, 2012) – According to a Kaplan Bar Review survey of over 700 law school graduates from the class of 2012,  the vast majority of tomorrow’s attorneys who collected their JDs give their law schools high marks.  37% of law school graduates gave their law school education an “A” grade, while 53% gave it a “B”.  Only 9% gave their legal education a “C” grade; 1% scored it a “D”.  No respondents gave their law school education an “F”.

But in spite of the overall solid grades new graduates give their law school education, more than 1 out of 4 (28%) feel their law school education didn’t prepare them well enough for the first important post-graduate obstacle they’ll face: passing the bar exam, which will give them the right to practice law.

“Most students who enter law school do so with a lot of passion and excitement about the educational experience awaiting them and also the eventual goal of practicing law, so it’s encouraging that most new graduates feel their law schools provided them with a productive three years, ” said Steven Marietti, Esq., vice president and general manager, Kaplan Bar Review. “Since bar passage rate is one of the factors that affects a law school’s position in the rankings and out of a sense of responsibility for their students’ futures, law schools may be interested to learn that nearly 30% of the  graduates we surveyed felt that their law schools didn’t prepare them well enough for the bar exam.  From the new JD’s perspective, passing the bar is critical because many employers will not consider applicants until they have a license to practice law. ”

Other key survey results:

  • Bullish on Job Opportunities: It’s the toughest job market for new lawyers in nearly 20 years, but the survey finds optimism in the face of adversity.  While 56% of recent law school graduates surveyed said they had not found a job in the legal field yet, 62% expressed confidence that they would find employment within the next three months.
  • Green Acres, Here They Come?: And although many law schools are located in big cities like New York, Washington DC,  and Boston, 49% of law school graduates surveyed said they would consider moving to a rural community to practice law. Recent reports** have highlighted the fact that many rural communities are in need of attorneys, which for the job-hunting new lawyer might be appealing.

*The survey was conducted by email in August 2012 and includes responses from 705 Kaplan Bar Review students from across the United States.
**The Wall Street Journal, “New Lawyers, Seeking Jobs, Are Advised to Think Small,” June 25, 2012: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303506404577448974083992182.html

About Kaplan Bar Review

Kaplan Bar Review (www.kaplanbarreview.com) provides full-service bar review programs in 28 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) and Washington DC, making its courses available to approximately 85% of the U.S. Bar-taking population.  Additionally, Kaplan Bar Review offers supplemental preparation for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).

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