Crain's Cleveland Business, Law Schools Get Creative With Their Pitches:
The competition for top undergrads among U.S. law schools is so intense that administrators at Case Western Reserve University School of Law are trying to recruit first-year law students at other universities.
It's a new tactic for Case this year — and a clear sign of the times.
U.S. law schools, which have faced dwindling student ranks in the years following the last recession, are beginning to see enrollment trends flip back in their favor.
Despite optimism in the outlook for the legal field, the fight to draw not only a sizable group of students, but the best of the bunch, is far from over — as a message from Case law school's associate dean of admissions to potential transfers shows.
That email was received mid-month by several students at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Besides touting the school's merits, Case tells recipients "special privileges" are reserved for them should they reapply, including a waiving of the $40 application fee, an "expedited" review and consideration for one of their "generous" scholarships.
Case's law school co-deans, Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf, said the emails were sent to students with high LSAT scores and GPAs who applied to the school in the past, but didn't matriculate. They said there isn't one university or geographic region being targeted.
Cleveland-Marshall dean Lee Fisher said that while messages like that are rare, they're not to be totally unexpected. "Of course, I hope that none of you transfer to Case or to any other law school, but if you are considering transferring for any reason, I have a request," wrote Fisher in a direct email response to students. "Please give me the opportunity to speak with you before you make any decision."
Like increasingly aggressive or imaginative recruiting efforts, more direct contact with law school deans seems to be a trend among schools looking to attract and retain students in today's climate. And it's just one in a litany of ways schools are reworking themselves to not only prep law-minded academics for changing careers, but keep their ranks — and the schools themselves — viable.
Total enrollment in U.S. law schools remains at one of its lowest points in more than 40 years. According to stats from the American Bar Association, total nationwide J.D. enrollment as of fall 2017 stood at 110,156 students. That's 25% less than the collective number of students in fall 2010, when enrollment last peaked. In Northeast Ohio, law schools are seeing comparable impacts, according to ABA data.
February 26, 2018 in Legal Education | Permalink
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