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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Law Schools Face 'Calamity' as Applications Are 'Collapsing' -- Down 25% From 2012

LSAC reports that as of December 7 (roughly 30% through the cycle), applications for the law school class entering in 2013 are down 24.6% from 2012 and applicants are down 22.4%:

A line chart titled Fall ABA Applicants by Week. The horizontal axis represents months November through August. Along its vertical axis are numbers 0 through 100,000 indicating number of applicants. The line labeled Fall 2011 steadily rises from 19,728 in November to 71,889 in March, then begins to plateau from March until August ending at 78,769. The line labeled Fall 2012 steadily rises from 16,719 in November to 58,983 in March, then begins to plateau from March until August ending at 67,957. The line labeled Fall 2013 increases from 12,728 to 16,241 from November to early December.

A line chart titled Fall ABA Applications by Week. The horizontal axis represents months November through August. Along its vertical axis are numbers 0 through 800,000 indicating number of applications. The line labeled Fall 2011 rises steadily from 124,716 in November to 494,669 in March, then plateaus gradually from March until August ending at 536,480. The line labeled Fall 2012 curves gently beginning with 107,415 in November, reaching 433,743 in March, then gradually plateauing to end in August at 469,642. The line labeled Fall 2013 increases from 77,985 to 106,608 from November to early December.

Paul Campos (Colorado), Applications to Law School Are Collapsing:

These numbers suggest that law schools will have a total of somewhere between 52,000 and 53,000 applicants to choose from in this cycle, i.e., slightly more than half as many as in 2004, when there were 188 ABA accredited law schools (there are 201 at the moment, with an emphasis on "at the moment").

To put that number in perspective, law schools admitted 60,400 first year JD students two years ago.  Since a significant percentage of applicants are unwilling to consider enrolling at any school below a certain hierarchical level, and/or will decline to enroll at certain other schools without receiving massive discounts on the advertised tuition price, these numbers portend fiscal calamity for more than a few schools. But out of that calamity will come the beginnings of a more rational and just system of legal education for the next generation of lawyers.

Update:  ABA Journal, Fiscal Calamity Ahead for Some Law Schools? Applicants for 2013 Drop 22% in ‘Free Fall’

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/12/law-school-.html

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Comments

This should come as no surprise:

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2011/06/coming-crunch-for-law-schools.html

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/07/tamanaha-the.html

Skeptics who continue to deny that legal academia suffers from real problems are increasingly irrelevant.

Posted by: Brian Tamanaha | Dec 13, 2012 4:58:52 PM

Law schools suffer from a simple problem: they are now required (*finally*)to make basic information about REAL employment outcomes available to consumers.

You know you're running a questionable enterprise when the response to basic consumer information is abstention from buying your product. All those 170 LSAT scoring folks get it.

And it's telling that Tamanaha's peers would rather poo poo his attempts to conceive of solutions to save the enterprise instead of acknowledging the obvious unsustainability of the current model and offering up viable substantive alternatives of their own.

Law school are going the way of the Dodo bird, and fast.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 13, 2012 5:55:09 PM