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Report on Legal Education Reveals Benefits of Online Education

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—Newly released data by the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) examines the law student experience with online education.  Data from this Report, Success with Online Education, draw from the responses of over 13,000 law students at 70 law schools that participated in LSSSE in 2022.

The report shows widespread usage of a robust and satisfying form of online legal education.  According to data from the 2022 survey, 50% of LSSSE respondents took at least one course taught mostly or entirely online. The vast majority of law students (75% or more) are comfortable with nearly all features of online education, from interacting with faculty and classmates to taking final exams. This comfort leads to excellent learning outcomes, with almost 90% of both online and in-person students agreeing that they are learning to think critically and analytically.

“Our 2022 LSSSE Annual Report reveals that students are thrilled with the flexibility and accessibility of online education,” said Meera E. Deo, Director of LSSSE. “While we should fine-tune outreach and relationship building, students attending online are learning just as much, equally satisfied, and participating even more than those attending in-person.”

Noteworthy findings from the report include:

Law students are well-equipped for online learning

  • Law students are “mostly comfortable” or “very comfortable” with nearly all aspects of attending online classes, including taking online exams (80%), interacting with instructors (80%) and other students (77%), and participating in live online course discussions (75%).
  • 62% of students aged 23-25 are comfortable with participating in live online discussions compared to the vast majority (86%) of students over forty.

Satisfaction rates are high

  • 77% of students report their overall law school experience has been positive. Similarly, 76% of students enjoy “good” or even “excellent” online courses.
  • First-year students who attend mostly online are more likely to say they would attend law school again if given the choice to start over (88% for mostly online compared to 81% for mostly in-person) and more likely to attend the same law school.

Online students are learning as much as in-person students

  • Nearly 90% of online and in-person students are learning to think critically and analytically.

Online discussions feature diverse voices

  • Women taking mostly online courses are more likely to engage in class than those taking mostly in-person courses.
  • Online courses encourage all students to engage more intensely with class discussion: one quarter of students (25%) who take primarily in-person classes participate “very often” compared to almost one-third (31%) of students taking mostly online classes.

Online students need tailored career services

  • Online students are less likely to feel that their school provides the support they need to succeed in their employment search (46% compared to 53% of in-person students).

Online learning maintains strong relationships

  • 72% of students taking mostly in-person classes and 71% of mostly online students have strong relationships with faculty.