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3 Law School Trends That May Surprise You

By June 12, 2013

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A steady drop in law school applications indicates that many would-be law students are choosing to forgo an expensive legal education in favor of another career path.

As law schools adapt to a changing market, they are devising new and innovative approaches to legal education in an attempt to recruit students and stay on top of the wave of reform sweeping the nation's law schools.  Some of these changes may surprise you.

Below are a few recent trends in law school education:

1. Sample Classes - Not sure if law school is right for you? William & Mary has announced a new program in which non-lawyers can get a taste of law school life through online learning and a three-day on-campus program. This innovative "try before you buy" program is designed to help students decide if they want to attend law school before they commit to incurring large student loan debt.

2. Shortened Programs - Accelerated law school programs have been around a few years but more law schools are joining the ranks of legal institutions offering an alternative to the traditional three-year curriculum. Most recently, Cooley Law School announced a new "three-year plus" program that will shorten the path to a law degree by allowing students to take law school courses in their final year of college. According to the school, "Participating students will save a full year of tuition, room, board and books, and this will make law school more accessible and more affordable." Stetson University College of Law recently unveiled a similar program.

3. Tuition Freezes - Sharp declines in law school enrollment have prompted some law schools to freeze tuition in order to make law school more affordable. The University of Akron Law School, Barry University Law School and UMass School of Law are three schools that have announced tuition freezes for the upcoming school year.

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