Law Students Back on Campus
Colorado’s law schools welcome diverse class and adopt hybrid, flexible teaching models

by Jessica Folker
law students wear masks outside the DU Sturm College of Law

School is back in session at Colorado’s law schools, which includes a return to at least partial in-person instruction after an abrupt switch to remote-only classes in March.

While faculty and upper-division students have already experienced what law school during a pandemic is like, first-year students are being introduced to the Socratic method under highly unusual circumstances. But even for returning students and professors, the fall semester has required some adjustments as they pivot to hybrid or “hyflex” teaching models.

The new semester has also brought some pleasant surprises when it comes to enrollment and incoming class diversity.

DEFERRALS AND DIVERSITY

One big question back in the spring was how the pandemic would shape law school admissions and this year’s entering class. Some predicted a wave of deferrals by students willing to wait a year for the traditional 1L experience. Others reasoned that as job opportunities disappeared, recent grads would find law school offers especially appealing.

“I was impressed with how resilient I found the applicants to be,” said Kristine Jackson, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid at the University of Colorado Law School.

“I was expecting potentially big fallout and that people would choose not to go to law school,” she said. “But I was pleasantly surprised to see the applicant pool was, as usual, a very motivated, thoughtful, intelligent group that had decided that they wanted to go to law school, and it was almost as if COVID wasn’t going to stand in the way.”

Jackson added that although the law school “did end up having more deferrals than we have had in the past,” the entering class of 185 is within the normal range and “perhaps just a little bit bigger than I would have expected.”

 

This article appears in the Sept. 7 issue of Law Week Colorado. To read the complete article and others from that issue, order a copy online. Subscribers can request a digital PDF of the issue.