It appears that would-be law students aren’t turned off by the prospect of mandatory pro bono work.

Well more than half the 750 pre-law students surveyed in June by Kaplan Test Prep—68 percent to be exact—said they support a rule requiring law students to complete a certain amount of pro bono work before being admitted to the bar.

New York is the only state with such a requirement; starting in 2015, applicants to the bar there must have competed 50 hours of eligible pro bono work. Meanwhile, officials with the State Bar of California are preparing to impose a 50-hour pro bono requirement and a New Jersey Supreme Court panel has recommended a similar rule.

The reception given the New York rule when announced in May 2012 was mixed. Proponents viewed the mandate as a good way to provide much-needed legal services to those who can’t afford to pay market rates, and real-world experience for students; to critics, it amounted to indentured servitude for financially taxed law students.

In other findings, the students surveyed appeared less interested in traditional lawyer jobs. A full 56 percent reported that they planned to use their law degree for non-traditional lawyer jobs, up from 50 percent among a similar survey group in February. The tough job market for new lawyers was the single biggest factor cited by those who not aspiring to a traditional law job.

Moreover, 79 percent said that legal education “needs to undergo significant changes to better prepare future attorneys for the changing employment landscape and legal profession.”

Contact Karen Sloan at For more of The National Law Journal's law school coverage, visit: