Is Trump renewing interest in law school?

By Tyler Roberts

While President Trump did not set out to save the legal profession, he has, perhaps inadvertently, made lawyering great again. 

Lawyers who have stood in opposition to his travel ban have been applauded in public, deified in social media memes and hugged by strangers.

Some think all of this love could change the way people view the profession.   

“Certainly, over the last few weeks, there has been an awakening of appreciation for what lawyers do, not only to safeguard our business and personal interests but to protect the rights of Americans and of those who wish to come to our country,” Brooklyn Law School Dean Nicholas Allard wrote in an op-ed piece for The Hill. “While recent events … cannot be expected to entirely change perceptions of lawyers and our nation’s legal enterprise for the better, they do offer a remarkable platform upon which law schools can demonstrate their relevance in a global, high-tech world and, once again, become a highly desirable profession for the best and the brightest of the next generation.”

A new Kaplan Test Prep survey reveals that the 2016 presidential election has already had a positive effect on prospective law students’ interest in politics.

More than half of the 500 pre-law students surveyed said they could see a run for political office in their futures. The last time the survey was taken, in 2012, only 38 percent of pre-law students said they would consider running for public office.

Kaplan began collecting data on political interest in 2009 following the election of Barack Obama. At that time, the percentage of pre-law students expressing an interest in politics was at its highest, with 54 percent saying they would consider a career in politics.

Jeff Thomas, Kaplan’s Test Prep executive director of pre-law programs, said regardless of who is elected to office, students generally show a renewed interest in politics whenever there is a change. 

“Every four years, the fire gets lit and students capitalize on that fervor,” Thomas said. “The pre-law group is ambitious and know that a law degree is versatile and could be used for great political gain.”

Law school has long been a fast track to a career in politics. Roughly half of the governors in the United States hold law degrees, as do 35 percent of members of Congress. And, 25 of our 45 U.S. presidents had law degrees.

“Law school has long been a bullpen of aspiring politicians, and we think the recent election showed many pre-law students of all political persuasions how important it is to stay involved and stand up for what you believe,” Thomas said. 

 

Photo credit Reuters/Mike Theiler

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