Law students under duress during pandemic, according to LSSSE survey

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A new survey from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) shows that most law students have experienced some form of distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students from 61 law schools were surveyed in the spring of 2021. The report, titled “The Covid Crisis in Legal Education,” found that 95% of respondents said that the pandemic hampered their ability to concentrate, while 43% feared they would run out of food and 29% were concerned about eviction and housing loss.

Meera Deo, director of LSSSE, noted in her opening message of the report that the events of the past year have had significant effects on the legal education landscape.

“Patterns emerging from the LSSSE data show that while the core of legal education remained relatively constant, important intangibles fell to the wayside,” she wrote.

Because students were more focused on basic survival, they spent far less time engaging with professors and other students. This led to an overall drop in student quality of life, with many reporting feeling lonely, anxious, depressed, and emotionally exhausted. A mere 33% said that they had frequent conversations with faculty or other advisors about career plans, and only 19% discussed topics from class and readings with faculty.

One student noted how difficult it has been to form meaningful relationships with other students when everything is remote. Another said, “I really, really, really, really, really miss the networking and connection provided by the formal institutional environment of the law school.”

All that being said, students said that the overall experience was still positive: 78% rated the experience as “good,” while 93% said they were appreciative of the concern and care that professors showed for students.

Go here to read the full LSSSE report.