Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ABA: Law School Enrollment Down 11% This Year, 24% Since 2010

ABA Logo 2ABA Section of Legal Education Reports 2013 Law School Enrollment Data:

The ABA today released national enrollment figures for first-year law students and non-J.D. students for the fall of 2013.

The 202 ABA-approved J.D. programs reported that 39,675 full-time and part-time students began their law school studies in the fall of 2013. This is a decrease of 4,806 students (11 percent) from the fall of 2012 and a 24 percent decrease from the historic high 1L enrollment of 52,488 in the fall of 2010.

Approximately two-thirds of ABA-law schools (135) experienced declines in first-year enrollment from last year. At 81 law schools, 1L declines exceeded 10 percent. At 63 schools, 1L enrollment increased from 2012. At 27 of those schools, enrollment increased 10 percent or more. At 34 schools, the number of 1L students stayed within five students above or below last year’s figures.

School reports also show that total non-J.D. enrollment for the fall of 2013 was 11,139, compared with 11,067 for the fall of 2012.

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) has updated his very helpful chart on 2004-2014 data:



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Am I the only one doing a jig about this?

Posted by: FrancisChalk | Dec 18, 2013 5:41:33 PM

OOPs, that should have been 4 or 5 not 45.

Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Dec 18, 2013 11:49:41 AM

About 45 more years at a 10% decline per year and supply will nearly equal demand, if that is you disregard the hundreds of thousands of unemployed or underemployed recent grads. Given that factor I don't see a labor shortage in the law market before 2030.

Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Dec 18, 2013 11:48:44 AM

This is not surprising. I graduated from law school about three years ago and know several people in my graduating class who are still struggling to find a permanent legal position or whom are out of law entirely. Sadly, for as useful and for as much personal value as a law degree has these days, there's not enough financial incentive for people to pursue legal practice. Often, students will graduate thousands of dollars in debt (if not hundreds of thousands) and are not rewarded with lucrative employment upon graduation. Surely, several years of these tales have spread and disincentived people to go to law school.

Posted by: Samuel Brotman | Dec 17, 2013 11:24:24 PM