Before the JD: An AALS Research Project

In the wake of a significant decline in the number of applicants to law school in the United States, AALS conducted a national study to learn more about undergraduate views on law school.

Before the JD began as a survey guided by three questions:

  1. What factors contribute most to the intention to pursue (or not pursue) a graduate or professional degree in general;
  2. What factors contribute to, and with what rank and/or weight, the intention/decision to pursue (or not pursue) a JD; and
  3. What are the sources of information for making these decisions?

The survey, fielded by Gallup in 2017, yielded 22,189 undergraduate responses that shed light on the factors contributing to undergraduates’ intention to pursue a JD or other advanced degree. An additional 2,727 responses from first-year law students examine their final decision to enroll.

The capstone report, Before the JD: Undergraduate Views on Law School, unveils critical new findings about undergraduate opinions of law school. The first-known report of its kind in more than 50 years, the report has implications for law schools as they try to ensure that their classrooms and campuses are places of vibrant intellectual exchange. Order your copy of the BJD report now!

The survey was carried out by Gallup, Inc and made possible with support from the AccessLex Institute, the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education, the American Bar Foundation, the National Association for Law Placement, the Law School Admission Council, and more than 18 leading law firms and corporate legal departments.

View the Before the JD press release and highlights from the report.

For more information about the project, contact AALS Research.