Law school deans say online classes aren’t going anywhere

ByMike V. Cooper

May 12, 2022

More than 400 law school deans responded to a survey about how the pandemic has changed legal education. They said the online courses should stick around for a while.

The Association of American Law Schools conducted the survey and found that deans agreed that online learning and remote work arrangements were a boon for their students. They also praised the flexibility and accessibility of online classes, as well as the elimination of the need to cancel classes due to bad weather and other setbacks.

Still, the study notes that moving to an all-online teaching model comes with its own set of problems, such as a lack of in-person interaction. Students who took courses entirely online consistently rated their experience as inferior across the board. A Harvard law student even tried to sue the school over the switch to fully online classes during the pandemic.

Other aspects of the AALS survey included figures on the demographic diversity of current deans – 41% of deans are women, 31% are people of color – as well as how the dean found his professional relationships “difficult” – 53% had difficult relations with their faculty, 39% with their students and 23% with their university rector/chancellor.