Aspiring law students seek classmates who match their political views – survey

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Members of the University of North Carolina’s diverse student body mingle on campus as the Supreme Court weighs a college admissions case in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, April 5, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake Get license rights

Nov 28 (Reuters) – Most lawyers want to attend law school with like-minded classmates, according to a new survey.

Of 390 pre-law students polled by the test-prep company Kaplan in September, 58% said it was important to go to a school where students generally hold similar political and social views. Another 36% said the opinions of their future law school classmates were not important, and 6% said they were unsure, the survey released Tuesday said.

That’s a significant change from 2020, when only 46% of students said the political and social views of Kaplan law school classmates were important.

The rising percentage of pre-law students weighing law schools’ political cultures reflects the political polarization of the United States and students’ desire to pursue law in a supportive academic environment, said Amit Schlesinger, executive director of Kaplan’s government and law programs.

But choosing where to attend law school based on campuses with like-minded students may not be in the interest of lawyers, and instead can create an “echo chamber” of ideas that can harm personal growth, he said.

Most law students said they weigh the political culture of a law school against other traditional factors such as quality, cost, location and status.

The survey was conducted before tensions between supporters of Palestine and Israel on college and university campuses escalated. Law schools have faced a growing number of free speech controversies involving the disruption of conservative speakers on campus. The American Bar Association is on the brink. Asking All law schools to develop and publish free speech policies.

About 53% of pre-law students surveyed said the current political climate influenced their decision to apply to law school – up from 41% in 2020.

Read more:

Law school free speech proposal moves forward after ABA vote

Yale’s dean reprimands students who protested the speaker for ‘insulting and insulting’.

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Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools and the business of law. Reach her at karen.sloan@thomsonreuters.com.



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