You Talk, We Listen: The Importance of the Upcoming Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)

Justice Margaret O’Mara Frossard (ret.) Associate Dean of Professionalism & Career Strategy (JMLS)

Recently there has been a great amount of attention focused on the 2013 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) with many articles seeking to interpret the data. See, for instance, this Wall Street Journal blog post: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/01/28/what-do-law-students-think-about-law-school/.

The LSSSE collects data across 90 individual measures of student engagement and satisfaction, including those in academic, interpersonal and administrative categories. Over the past several years, students at The John Marshall Law School generally report experiences that are similar to their over 34,000 peers at 95 law schools who respond to the survey each year.

When Dean Corkery and the administration at JMLS find areas of concern, however, we act. Student comments related to lack of adequate water fountains led to the installation of several “bottomless” water coolers that have already been enjoyed hundreds of times. We began streamlining our financial aid procedures in part because of student responses to the LSSSE.

The Office of Professionalism and Career Strategy, too, has listened to the comments students have made when responding to the LSSSE. You have probably seen the Career Services Office (CSO) table regularly in the Plymouth lobby, staffed by the talented attorneys who work in the CSO. We have made it a priority to increase the availability and visibility of our team as important allies to you in your job search, both during law school and as alums.

We have also launched a Job Advisory Board made up of over 50 attorneys in 10 substantive areas of practice who generously offer their networks to recent alums. Many full-time attorney placements have been made by this group in the public and private sectors, and we expect even more over the coming months as the board grows.

A strong response to the LSSSE from the student body is critical, as it helps us as a law school know what we are doing right and what we need to improve to better serve our students. We thank you for your responses over past years, which have been steadily increasing. For instance, the overall response rate to the 2008 LSSSE was 24%. Last year’s response rate more than doubled those numbers.

In sum, can we be better? Let us know by responding to the 2014 LSSSE when it is released beginning with the first week of April 2014.  Let’s continue to make JMLS the best it can be!