Law student meeting with advisor

Law School Academic and Career Advising Reimagined

By Susannah Pollvogt

As incoming classes become ever more diverse — a wonderful development to be sure — law schools must bear in mind that these students may have less exposure to the norms and expectations of law school and developing a career as a lawyer. To help these and all students succeed, it is critical for law schools to reassess and reimagine their academic and career advising support.

To examine this emerging issue and propose actionable solutions, LSAC experts hosted a recent webinar for an engaged audience of academic deans, deans of students, academic support specialists, and career services professionals.

Webinar presenters:

  • James Leipold, senior advisor, Legal Education Consulting and LawHub
  • Susannah Pollvogt, principal consultant for academics and curriculum, Legal Education Consulting

2023’s incoming class set new record for diversity

To underscore the growing importance of academic and career advising at this moment in legal education, it is useful to know that, for the third year in a row, the incoming class set new records for racial, ethnic, and other forms of diversity. LSAC data for the 2023 incoming class reveals that …  

  • 40.2% are students of color
  • 55.8% identify as women
  • 14.7% identify as LGBTQ+
  • 24.2% are first-generation college graduates

A “whole school” approach to academic and career advising is best. Here’s how to build it.

To keep students on track with school and preparing for a career, an integrated, holistic, “whole school” approach is preferable to a siloed one. Under a whole school approach, staff and faculty are empowered and work cooperatively to guide students and check on their progress.

To build a whole school approach to academic and career advising, here are some points to bear in mind:

  • This initiative must start at the top. The dean has to set advising as a priority.
  • Faculty need to understand why advising is so important to delivering on the promise of legal education.
  • A single point person must organize the effort.
  • The more people who are involved, the more manageable the advising workload.  
  • Guidance and training for advisors are key. All advisors must be up to date on the latest information about the curriculum, the bar exam, and career opportunities, and deliver consistent messaging about each of these.
    • However, it is not necessary for anyone to be an expert in all of these subjects. The goal is for advisors to prompt self-reflection in students and let them know what resources are available for more information.

Law schools that would like assistance with career, academic, and curricular needs, including preparing for the NextGen Bar Exam, may contact Jim Leipold or Susannah Pollvogt at

Susannah Pollvogt

Principal Consultant for Academics and Curriculum, LEC
Susannah Pollvogt is the principal consultant for academics and curriculum for LSAC’s Legal Education Consulting (LEC) group.