Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 25, 2016

Muller:  10% Of Law School Enrollment Is In Non-J.D. Programs

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), One in Ten Law School Enrollees Is Not a Part of a JD Program:

In the Fall of 2012, 7.4%, or about 1 in 14 law school enrollees, were non-JD students. In the Fall of 2013, that rose to 8.0%, or about 1 in 12. This year, it's 10.3%, or about 1 in 10.


That's a rather dramatic shift in the overall composition of legal education in the period of a few years. How long it lasts, where the trend goes, and what impact non-JD programming has on the JD programming remains to be seen.

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@Matthew Bruckner,

While that is true as far as it goes, I would propose that the far greater risk to a university getting a bond rating downgrade is borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to debt-fuel their campus construction/empire building, not from failing to start an LLM program that might enroll a few dozen students per year. Look no further than Suffolk for a nice embodiment of this issue.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jan 27, 2016 10:13:53 AM

The various ratings agencies (e.g., Moody's) encourage all institutions of higher education to diversify their revenue streams. Those that do not risk ratings downgrades. Not saying the proliferation of these programs is an appropriate response, but I hope this helps explain why the programs are proliferating.

Posted by: Matthew Bruckner | Jan 26, 2016 11:52:14 AM

A law school is a terrific education. It explains the nuts and bolts of our systems and promotes critical thinking. As long as students enter law school in a knowing, intelligent and voluntary manner that the law is not a vehicle for earning a living as it once was, then I would consider that fair.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jan 25, 2016 8:47:41 PM

@JM That's cognitive dissidence for you.

Law Prof.: I like to help disadvantaged people and fight for the underdog.

LLM Student: Why did you let me engage in financial suicide? I am now a smart person with a millstone of student debt and have wasted prime years of my life to a farce.

Law Prof.: Hey. . . that's just the way the world works, Kid.

Posted by: terry malloy | Jan 25, 2016 10:56:37 AM

It is amazing how law school faculty are on average so much more liberal than the general population, and, at the same time on of the most creative, determined and ruthless groups of people when it comes to screwing others over for their personal financial gain.

Posted by: JM | Jan 25, 2016 10:05:52 AM

The growth in foreign LLM students makes the bar's insistence on requiring 3 years of post-graduate JD training for native students even more obviously ridiculous and behind the times. If foreign students need only a single year of English-language training in U.S. law to sit for the bar, then there is no reason why we couldn't and shouldn't come up with some system to allow non-foreign students to sit for the bar after some combination of five years of undergraduate and limited post-graduate training.

Posted by: Jason Yackee | Jan 25, 2016 9:26:29 AM

A disgraceful money grab. Outside of a literal handful of reputable Tax LLMs (which are hardly sure things anymore themselves) and an equally tiny number of SJDs at top schools and the Yale PhD in Law, this growth is in dubious LLMs increasingly aimed at desperate, unemployed American lawyers, and an even more dubious MLS degrees that do... I don't even know what the point of an MLS degree is supposed to be. All I know is that my law school quickly created both programs (LLM and MLS) after their entering 1L classes started decreasing in size - which was a huge reversal, given that career services were always going on about how LLM degrees in particular were preying on the insecurities of new graduates. And now they have one that, aside from an orientation meeting or two, is basically just LLM students sitting in on their JD classes.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jan 25, 2016 8:46:16 AM

Money Money Money Monnneeyyy.

High Pitched: Mon-Ey

Posted by: terry malloy | Jan 25, 2016 8:31:05 AM

It comes as no surprise that law schools are increasingly diversifying their portfolio of ways to suckle the student loan cash cow teat.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 25, 2016 8:25:37 AM