Paul L. Caron

Monday, November 11, 2013

Muller: The Growth of Non-JD Law School Enrollment

Excess of Democracy:   Legal Education Is Innovating by Educating More Non-JD Students, by Derek Muller (Pepperdine):

The chart below, derived from ABA data (PDF), shows the last 25 years of non-JD enrollment as a percentage of law school enrollment.


... The downturn in JD applicants has a significant effect on law schools. But educating JD students is not the sole thing that legal education does. And it is important to note that law schools are, to some degree, innovating in this area and attracting many more non-JD students than at any time in history.

Legal Education | Permalink


This is terribly short sighted on the part of law schools, who are clearly now in desperate self preservation mode (and not just the low ranked schools, even the venerable University of Southern California, a small, prestigious school, has had to find alternate revenue streams in desperation to keep its cherished J.D. LSAT/GPA medians from falling for purposes of the rankings game).

But what are the implications of exponential growth in foreign trained, and domestic LL.M. program enrollment? For the profession (foreign trained LL.M.s can, and do, sit for states' bar exams in the U.S. (kinda why they enroll) and thus compete with J.D. students for jobs, so where is the market correction?)? What are the implications for the quality of the classroom experience? Do these schools give a damn or is it just about the dollars (*rhetorical question* we know the answer, they are as greedy as Enron with tax exempt status to boot)? And why should law schools as we know them be artificially preserved in their current state through revenue streams like this (economists, thoughts?)? Why not just fold law schools into undergraduate and/or graduate divisions of the university?

On a side note, I am absolutely shocked to learn that UC Hastings, what in my mind is an historic and prestigious law school, producing outstandingly capable lawyers, enrolled a class with a 159/3.52 median for fall 2013. That represents a 5 point drop in the median LSAT (it was 164 in 2010, I believe) and a .08 drop in GPA! Wow, they are struggling...

Posted by: Anon | Nov 11, 2013 2:03:42 PM

Note that these data are listed "as a percentage of law school enrollment." In my opinion, this makes the movement in the 90s through early 2000s more impressive. Law school JD programs expanded to open their doors to anyone with a pulse in this period. That LLMs bumped up in this environment makes it all the more outrageous.

As bad as the law school scam is for JD holders, with exceptions that you can count on one hand, the LLM scam is even worse. But it soaks foreigners, so who cares?

Posted by: Bobby Dobb | Nov 11, 2013 8:12:13 AM