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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, September 30, 2007

NLJ: Number of Women Law Students Declines

Interesting article in this week's National Law Journal:  Fewer Women Are Seeking Law Degrees; A Rejection of the "Lawyer's Life" Seen, by Leigh Jones:

[M]ore women are forgoing a law degree. Since 2002, the percent of women in law schools has declined each year, according to the ABA. Five years ago, women made up 49% of law school enrollment. This year, 46.9% of law school students are women. And while the number of applicants overall has dropped in the last two years, the percentage decline in the number of women has been greater. Although observers say a variety of factors contribute to the dip, the prevailing message is that fewer women want a lawyer's life.

Cathy Fleming, a partner at Nixon Peabody and past-president of the National Association for Women Lawyers, points to a combination of factors contributing to the decrease. A perception among young women that they have a wider array of career opportunities is one reason, but a change in work ethic is also at play, she said. And law firms, with their reputations for punishing work hours, have may have a tougher sell to college graduates. "They've grown up with parents that work these crazy hours. They don't want to do it," she said.

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