The Catholic University of America

 

 

Connected Law Students Do Better, Are Happier

 

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Be it the annual SPIL auction, the Barrister’s Ball, back lawn barbeques, student organizations, or any of the many other opportunities for social interaction that are offered each year at the Columbus School of Law, all serve an important purpose.
 
According to a Jan. 14 story published in the National Law Journal, law students who mix frequently with professors and classmates were not only more content with their law school experience, but they also benefited from “keener critical and analytical thinking, writing and research skills, and ethical development,” according to the article.
 
The Journal’s story summarized the key findings of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, an annual study of law student satisfaction conducted by Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research, which surveyed more than 25,000 students at 81 schools.
 
The study’s conclusions bear out the core truth that humans are innately social beings and thrive from contact with others.
 
For example, students who reported participation in student organizations, social events, and study groups reported higher levels of satisfaction with law school overall and improved development of writing, speaking, and other skills.
 
Interaction with faculty beyond the classroom also improves the experience of law school, the study suggests. According to the Journal story, “The researchers also found that students benefited from a variety of faculty interactions, including in-class discussions and timely feedback on their work. Our analysis reveals that interaction with faculty relates significantly to students' perceptions of their own gains in both academic and personal dimensions," the authors wrote.
 
The study’s basic premise that connection to others tends to improve morale, grades, and study skills does not come as a surprise to many who work closely with law students.

“Law school is meant to be challenging but should not be isolating,” said Mara Duffy, Associate Dean for External and Student Affairs for Catholic University’s law school.
 
“I have always urged our students to reach out to classmates and professors and establish personal and professional bonds. Fortunately, the collegial tradition of our law school makes it easier to do here than in some other places.”
 
The study also asked respondents to rate their law schools; 79 percent considered their law school “good” or “excellent.”