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Analyzing Law School Choice

The contemporary crisis in law school enrollments presents a timely opportunity to evaluate a subject that has received little academic attention: student choice in legal education. In order to address the present lack of understanding about what motivates post-Recession law students to enroll in law school, this Article examines several of the factors that bear on the choice to attend law school from the results of an original survey distributed to current law students at four law schools—a private elite law school, a public flagship law school, a public regional law school, and a private new law school—in the 2017–2018 academic year. This survey—the Law School Choice Survey—and this Article analyze the salience of location, information, opportunity cost, and cost sensitivity in the context of a law student’s decision to enroll in law school. The results from the responses to the Law School Choice Survey indicate that legal education is a highly stratified market for consumers on the basis of their preferences. It is hoped that these results will shed greater light on and knowledge of the most understudied group in professional graduate education—law students.

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