November 13th – November 19th is American Education Week and certainly education is something to be celebrated. This year, that celebration includes recognizing how education in America has changed. Schooling of every level, from preschool to post graduate, has been affected by the lasting effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. It will be years before the sum total of these effects on professions that require highly educated talent to operate properly will be fully understood.
Even before Covid, law schools saw decreasing numbers of first year students. For many perspective students, the debt load incurred in pursuing a law degree was enough to deter enrollment. However, the law school application process can be a determent in and of itself. Just this year the ABA proposed making the LSAT an optional assessment for admission, allowing schools more flexibility in their selection process.
The ABA Young Lawyers division has done well to create a national network of mentors, and recently even began a first generation initiative to support those brave students striving to be the first lawyers in their families. Also, the national conversation around the cost of higher education has prompted some colleges and universities to reexamine their tuition. These efforts will no doubt impact who gets to practice law. Remember, the true value of education is not a numerical one, rather it is a value that dictates the quality of America’s future professionals.