Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Late Surge in Law School Applications May Result in Fall 2013 Enrollment Decline of 15% (Rather Than 24%)

The Faculty Lounge:  Is The Moment Ripe? Notable Increase In Law School Applications, by Dan Filler (Drexel):

The newest LSAC volume summary is out and there is good news for those working in law school admissions offices: applications are up.  Of course, they're not actually up compared to last year.  Total numbers are still down, and dramatically.  But they're down by a lower margin that they were a few weeks ago.  Back on January 10, we reported that applicants were down 22.1% compared to last year.  Based on that number, LSAC was projecting something around 52,000 total applicants this year.  Four months later, and the news is a bit different.  Now, as of the May 17, 2013 report, the total number of applicants is down 13.4% and the projected total number of applicants is looking like it'll be around 58,700.  That's a big dip from the 68,000 last year...but a dip of 10,000 is signficantly different than a dip of 16,500.

The Careerist:  Law School Applications Are Up (But Down), by Vivia Chen:

Applications are up. Sort of—that is, they're not quite as down as they were projected earlier in the year. ... So why should you care? Well, as we've been telling you, it's still a good time to squeeze into a better law school than you might have gotten into a few years ago.

Lawyers, Guns & Money:  Peak Law School, by Paul Campos (Colorado):

First year enrollment at ABA schools:

2010: 52,500
2011: 48,700
2012: 44,481

This fall the 2010 matrics will be replaced by a new entering class. We can roughly estimate its size, because typically 95% of applicants have applied by mid-May. Since last fall law schools have been frantically soliciting applicants, when it appeared the applicant pool might be as small as 52,000-53,000. It now appears it will be around 58,500. If 75% of applicants are accepted to at least one school (this would be a historic high), and 87% of these people — the typical percentage — matriculate, that will produce an entering class of about 38,000 1Ls.

LSAC:  Three-Year ABA Volume Comparison:

The following charts report ABA applicants and applications for each of the past three falls.

As of 05/17/13, there are 374,002 Fall 2013 applications submitted by 55,764 applicants. Applicants are down 13.4% and applications are down 18.8% from 2012.

Last year at this time, we had 95% of the preliminary final applicant count.

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 55,764 from November to the middle of May.

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Law school is just a continuation of the whole liberal arts higher education scam. People, don't let snobbery keep you from going to trade school and learning a skill that employers actually want. Machinests are starting out at $35 per hour in Houston. Underwater welders get $80+ per hour. That beats Starbucks---which is where your sociology degree will get you.

Posted by: stephen | May 29, 2013 6:56:58 AM

Yes Michael,

A 15% drop in business year to year (after a significant drop the year before that) is a sign of a healthy industry. I'd love to see you spout that line at one of your unemployed, underwater graduates.


One of America's tens of thousands of un/underemployed recent attorneys

Posted by: Unemployed_Northeastern | May 27, 2013 8:29:41 AM

This is unfortunate for those who have made a business out of the "crisis" in legal ed.

Posted by: michael livingston | May 27, 2013 3:45:00 AM