JD-Next: A Randomized Experiment of an Online Scalable Program to Prepare Diverse Students for Law School

58 Pages Posted: 13 May 2021 Last revised: 28 May 2021

See all articles by Katherine Cheng

Katherine Cheng

University of Arizona - College of Education

Jessica Findley

University of Arizona

Adriana Cimetta

University of Arizona - College of Education

Heidi Burross

University of Arizona - College of Education

Matt Charles

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Cayley Balser

James E. Rogers College of Law

Ran Li

University of Arizona - College of Education

Christopher T. Robertson

Boston University; University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Date Written: May 28, 2021

Abstract

We sought to expose diverse potential law students to the methods of JD education and to prepare them for success in law school. This paper reports on the efficacy of the 2019 pilot test of the precursor to the JD-Next program: a fully-online, non-credit, 7.5-week course to train potential JD students in case reading and analysis skills, prior to their first year of law school. We recruited a national sample of potential JD students, enriched for racial/ethnic diversity so that less than half were White non-Hispanics, and randomized them to the course or an active placebo control group (where participants watched legal television shows). We also recruited a sample of volunteers at one university who self-selected into the course and who were propensity score-matched to non-participants, using university archival data. We found that participating in the course is associated with substantial improvement in grades for the targeted 1L course (Contracts) and overall first semester 1L GPA. We also report substantial student confidence gains and satisfaction with the course, in qualitative and quantitative terms, based on a survey at three points in time (pre-course, post-course, and post-semester). In a companion article, we report on the validity and reliability of the JD-Next exam for use in law school admissions.

Keywords: legal education, academic success, academic achievement, bridge program, pipeline program, case briefing, case analysis, legal analysis, law school GPA, online curriculum, law school admissions, student confidence, diversity and inclusion, disparities

Suggested Citation

Cheng, Katherine and Findley, Jessica and Cimetta, Adriana and Burross, Heidi and Charles, Matt and Balser, Cayley and Li, Ran and Robertson, Christopher T., JD-Next: A Randomized Experiment of an Online Scalable Program to Prepare Diverse Students for Law School (May 28, 2021). Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 21-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3845577 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3845577

Katherine Cheng

University of Arizona - College of Education ( email )

P.O. Box 210069
Tucson, AZ 85721-0069
United States

Jessica Findley (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
2145648627 (Phone)
85716 (Fax)

Adriana Cimetta

University of Arizona - College of Education ( email )

P.O. Box 210069
Tucson, AZ 85721-0069
United States

Heidi Burross

University of Arizona - College of Education ( email )

P.O. Box 210069
Tucson, AZ 85721-0069
United States

Matt Charles

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Cayley Balser

James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Ran Li

University of Arizona - College of Education ( email )

P.O. Box 210069
Tucson, AZ 85721-0069
United States

Christopher T. Robertson

Boston University ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
6179100649 (Phone)
02215 (Fax)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

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