Paul L. Caron

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fall 2012 1L Enrollment Down 9%; 75% of Law Schools Experienced Declines

ABA LogoABA Section of Legal Education, Preliminary Fall 2012 First-Year Enrollment Data:

Early review of data on first-year enrollments at ABA-approved law schools reveals that 44,481 full-time and part-time students began their law school studies in the fall of 2012. This represents a decrease of 4,216 students (9%) from the fall of 2011 and is approximately 15% below the historic high 1L enrollment of 52,488 in the fall of 2010. ...

Approximately three fourths of 201 ABA-approved law schools experienced declines in first-year enrollment. Ninety law schools reported declines exceeding 10% from last year, while fewer than 10 had increases of 10% or more. ...

ABA Section of Legal Education Preliminary Fall 2012 First-Year Law School Enrollment Data

  1. Total 1L enrollment (full-time and part-time)   44,481
  2. Changes in 1L enrollment, 2011 – 2012
    • Schools showing increase: 48
    • Schools showing no change: 4
    • Schools showing decrease: 149
  3. Schools with 1L enrollments within +/- 5 students from previous year: 39
  4. Schools showing 10% or more increase from previous year: 8
  5. Schools showing 10% or more decrease from previous year: 90

Matt Leichter, Number of 1Ls Per Law School Drops to 43-Year Low:

2011 saw the lowest ratio since 2000, but 2012 takes us back to when law school was probably far out: 1969!

The last time the total number of 1Ls was this low was 2001 (45,070), but since then the ABA has accredited 18 law schools. ...

Here’s the ratio to applicants:

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It bears mentioning that comparisons of enrollment data between 2011 and 2012 are a little apples to oranges (or at least Granny Smiths to Red Delicious). This year, due to the new LSAC data certification process (to "certify" law school LSAT/GPA stats), the ABA changed the census date for 1L enrollment date to the beginning of October. Historically, schools used the number of students who attended orientation or were in class on the first day of classes. Inevitably, every school loses students in the first few months of school. For that reason, at least a portion of the apparent decline in enrollment from last year is this normal attrition which in past years was not accounted for.

Posted by: Stephen Perez | Nov 29, 2012 6:37:22 PM