Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes?

16 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2015

See all articles by Jason W. Yackee

Jason W. Yackee

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: January 30, 2015


This short paper provides an empirical examination of the link between law school experiential (or "skills") learning opportunities and JD employment outcomes. The current "law school crisis" poses a number of serious challenges to the legal academy, and how law schools should respond is hotly debated. One common suggestion is that law schools should reform their curriculum to emphasize the development of practical skills through experiential learning, rather than emphasize what is described as the impractical, theory- and doctrine-heavy book learning of the traditional law school curriculum. Employers are said to be more likely to hire those with substantial skills training. This paper provides a simple empirical examination of that basic hypothesis. To summarize the paper's key finding: there is no statistical relationship between law school opportunities for skills training and JD employment outcomes. In contrast, employment outcomes do seem to be strongly related to law school prestige.

Keywords: law school crisis, experiential learning, legal education, clinical, clinics, skills, skills training

JEL Classification: K00, K10

Suggested Citation

Yackee, Jason W., Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes? (January 30, 2015). Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1343, Available at SSRN: or

Jason W. Yackee (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

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Madison, WI 53706
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