“First-year law students are more satisfied with online learning than those who started law school before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey released Wednesday by the AccessLex Institute and Gallup.

Titled Law School in a Pandemic: Student Perspectives on Distance Learning and Lessons for the Future, the survey was conducted between February and March 2021, with a sample of 1,739 currently enrolled law students.

For the spring 2021 and fall 2020 semesters, about 90% of law students took at least half their courses online, according to the survey.

Out of the respondents, 64% of the first-year students surveyed rated the quality of their education as “excellent” or “good,” but only 43% of upper-division students surveyed gave the same ratings. When asked about their legal education before the pandemic, 88% of respondents who were not first-year students rated it as “excellent” or “good.”

Out of all the respondents, 59% reported that their schools successfully responded to challenges of the pandemic, but only 43% rated their online education as “excellent” or “good.”

Also, of the students who were not 1Ls and attended all their classes online during the pandemic, 36% reported that their academic performance has declined. For students who were not 1Ls who had some in-person classes during the same time period, 35% reported a decline in academic performance.

This article was originally posted in the ABA Journal.

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