Right now I'm working on competitive website reviews of 12 law schools for one of my clients. And so far, I'm convinced that I've wandered into a lost segment of higher education that, despite what I read about the competitive nature of recruiting law students, just hasn't done much in the world of online marketing.
Consider this. I've now made an online inquiry at 11 of the 12 schools. (At one, there was no online inquiry form.) Each of them asked for my email address. That was several weeks ago. To date, I've received an email response from 2 of the schools. That, to be kind, is pretty poor performance.
OK, this is far from a comprehensive survey of online law school recruitment. And I do know from presentations done for the Law School Admissions Council in 2006 that there are indeed some good communication features at law school websites. But I'm still surprised at this response from a mix of private and public law schools.
"Deadwood Report" Adds Marketing Data
Meanwhile, the marketing world is advancing on the law school world. A new "Deadwood Report" is in preparation to rate law schools according to the activity of their faculty in teaching, research, and community services. The originators have hit on this approach to try to test the claims made by law schools on their websites about the quality and dedication of their faculty.
Read more about the new "Deadwood" plan at the Inside Higher Education article at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/02/26/lawrank
Student Engagement in Law School: Important Marketing Information
And of course, the marvelous people at the National Survey of Student Engagement that ask undergraduate students how engaged they are with their education have a similar instrument for law schools. You can download the 2007 report that lists participating schools from the website at http://lssse.iub.edu/2007_Annual_Report/
In my fantasy world, I dream that prospective students and parents will pressure law schools who participate into making public what students say about them. It hasn't happened yet for the regular NSSE and it likely will not happen soon for law schools. But I can dream. Change might even come to the Lost World of law school marketing.