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Survey shows more pre-law students seek nontraditional fields

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 3:45 am

Last year, 991 UF students applied to law school, but not all of them planned to follow the traditional route.

According to a survey released by Kaplan Test Prep two weeks ago, 50 percent of pre-law students wanted to use their law degree in a nontraditional field. Legal traditional fields were listed as law firms and legal staff, and nontraditional fields were listed as business, academics and politics.

Of that 50 percent, 58 percent said the job market for lawyers factored in their decision. Overall, 71 percent listed passion as their main reason for going to law school, and only 5 percent listed salary potential.

Jeff Thomas, director of pre-law programs at Kaplan, said that a few years ago, salary potential was a big factor in the law school decision, but now, students seem to understand that jobs in private practice aren’t as plentiful.

“We are seeing a very purposeful, deliberate and meaningful shift in the idea of a legal career,” he said.

He said UF is the second-largest feeder school to law schools in the country, second only to UCLA.

Kenway Wong has always wanted to be an attorney, and today’s job market has not changed his mind.

The 21-year-old political science senior plans to attend UF’s Levin College of Law after graduation. He said his main reasons for choosing UF Law were his desire to practice in Florida and the cost.

“It’s common-sense financing,” he said.

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