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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1L Enrollment Fell More Than 20% at 40 Law Schools in 2013

National Law Journal:  ABA Releases Details of Law Schools Enrollment Declines, by Karen Sloan:

ShrunkSome law schools fared much worse than others as enrollment declined last year, according to data released by the American Bar Association.

Thirteen law schools saw 1L enrollment drop by 30 percent or more in the span of 12 months, while an additional 27 recorded declines of 20 to 30 percent. In all, 132 of the 199 ABA-accredited law schools saw declines in their 1L classes, while eight schools saw no change in new enrollment.

Slightly more than a quarter of schools—62—actually posted 1L enrollment gains.

The ABA had reported in December that new student enrollment had declined significantly last fall, and the latest figures put the decline at 8 percent. The organization also offered a school-by-school breakdown of its findings.

New England School of Law saw the largest single-year decline in 1Ls, according to the ABA’s statistics. The Boston school enrolled 238 new students last fall, compared to 450 the previous year—a 47 percent decline.

NLJ

Here are the 25 law schools with the biggest enrollment decreases and increases:

Rank

Law School (US News Rank)

2013 Enrollment Decline

1

New England (Tier 2)

47.1%

2

Washington & Lee (26)

40.6%

3

Iowa (26)

40.0%

4

McGeorge (124)

36.9%

5

Hawaii (80)

35.3%

6

Cooley (Tier 2)

35.1%

7

Case Western (68)

35.1%

8

Golden Gate (Tier 2)

33.9%

9

Quinnipiac (134)

33.9%

10

Hofstra (113)

32.4%

11

Florida A&M

32.3%

12

Arizona Summit (Tier 2)

30.2%

13

Widener (Tier 2)

30.2%

14

Saint Louis (102)

29.3%

15

Hamline (126)

29.0%

16

San Francisco (144)

27.7%

17

Miami (76)

27.7%

18

New York Law School (Tier 2)

27.3%

19

Roger Williams (Tier 2)

26.5%

20

Villanova (98)

26.4%

21

Loyola-Chicago (76)

25.8%

22

Mississippi (102)

25.4%

23

Regent (Tier 2)

25.4%

24

Appalachian (Tier 2)

25.3%

25

UC-Davis (38)

24.9%

 

Rank

Law School (US News Rank)

2013 Enrollment Increase

1

Puerto Rico (n/r)

64.3%

2

Mercer (105)

44.2%

3

Wake Forest (36)

43.2%

4

Samford (113)

43.0%

5

Tennessee (61)

31.7%

6

John Marshall (Atlanta) (n/r)

29.8%

7

Valparaiso (Tier 2)

27.6%

8

St. Mary’s (140)

25.4%

9

Colorado (44)

21.1%

10

George Washington (21)

20.9%

11

St. Thomas (Florida) (Tier 2)

20.8%

12

Rutgers-Camden (91)

20.7%

13

Southern Illinois (140)

18.8%

14

Pace (134)

16.3%

15

Howard (126)

16.2%

16

William & Mary (33)

15.3%

17

Catholic (80)

14.2%

18

Baylor (54)

14.0%

19

La Verne (n/r)

13.6%

20

Missouri (Kansas City)

12.4%

21

South Dakota (Tier 2)

11.3%

22

Western New England (Tier 2)

11.1%

23

Florida (46)

10.6%

24

Utah (41)

10.3%

25

Northeastern (86)

10.1%

Jerry Organ (St. Thomas) notes the change in 1L enrollment from 2010 to 2013:

Between fall 2010 and fall 2013, the 195 law schools in the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii fully-accredited by the ABA’s Section for Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar as of 2010 (excluding Belmont, LaVerne, California-Irvine, and Massachusetts-Dartmouth), experienced the following first-year enrollment changes:

28 schools had a decline in first-year enrollment of 40% or more,
29 schools had a decline in first-year enrollment of 30% to 39.99%
43 schools had a decline in first-year enrollment of 20% to 29.99%
43 schools had a decline in first-year enrollment of 10% to 19.99%
36 schools had a decline in first-year enrollment of 0% to 9.99%
10 schools had an increase in first-year enrollment of 0.01%to 9.99%
6 schools had an increase in first-year enrollment of 10% or more.

Overall, more than half (100) had a decrease in first-year enrollment of at least 20%, while only roughly 8% (16) had any increase in first-year enrollment.

Across these 195 schools, first-year enrollment declined from 50,408 to 38,773, a drop of 23.1%. The average decline in first-year enrollment across U.S. News “tiers” of law schools was 14.7% among top 50 schools, 22.5% among schools ranked 51-99, 22.8% among schools ranked 100-144, and 26.8% among schools ranked alphabetically.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/03/1l-enrollment.html

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Comments

Burn baby burn. Disco inferno. It's clear that some law schools (looking at you George Washington) are just going for broke and have realized they will never be T14 schools. They're just making a full-on money grab at this point before the bubble pops, in the hopes they can ride out the deep depression the education industry is headed into.

Posted by: Law school enslaved debtor | Mar 4, 2014 1:24:39 PM

Could we get this sorted by actual class size? I mean, a 10% increase at Northeastern* is barely north of a baker's dozen, whereas a 20% increase at George Washington is practically a Roman legion. Wake Forest Law is pretty small too, I think, certainly less than half the size of GW Law, so WF's 40% increase is likely numerically smaller than GW's 20% increase.

*I still can't believe they are increasing their class size when they are barely getting 40% of their graduates FT, LT, license-required jobs in the first place, but I guess the university administration needs to pay itself even more millions than it does already.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Mar 4, 2014 2:37:49 PM

How did UNH Law escape this list? According to National Jurist, they were in the same boat, dropping over 30% at least.

Posted by: harry | Mar 4, 2014 4:45:37 PM

No wonder Washington and Lee declined so much. It had a 12% yield, tied for next to last for all ABA accredited law schools.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 5, 2014 8:20:36 PM

Hats off to the schools that decided to forgo revenue to preserve quality. I think that's true for a handful of the schools with enrollment declines.

Posted by: HTA | Mar 11, 2014 3:35:04 PM