It has been announced that applications to law schools have dropped once again. The number has decreased by 15.6 percent from 2011. There were 87,500 applications in 2010 and it is expected that there will only be 67,000 applications filed this year.
“A lot of time when there is an economic downturn, the numbers will go up and we saw that in 2009 and 2010,” said Wendy Margolis, the director of communication for LSAC. LSAC administers the LSAT and also tracks data for law school applications. “But as applicants learned about law school debt and the poor employment opportunities, the numbers have gone back down.”
The pool of applicants in 2012 is predicted to be less than that of the pool in 1996. In 1996 there were 21 fewer law schools in the country and 16 percent fewer students.
“I don’t think people are getting into law school that they would not have before,” said Anne Levine, an admissions consultant. “[But] there is so much more wait listing. We should see more people pulled off wait lists over the next month.”
Levine also said that when deposits are due for admittance to the schools, candidates will consider their options. She said that top tier candidates will reconsider law school because they will have other options and bottom tier candidates will reconsider because they likely will not acquire a job.
“I think some people will decide not to attend law school if they don’t get into a top 10 school,” Levine said. “One client of mine is wait listed at University of Michigan. He has received scholarships to other schools in the top 25. But he will likely wait a year for Michigan instead of accepting.”
It seems that the students in the middle of the two tiers are the most committed to law schools. Margolis thinks that those who are not applying for law school anymore are those who are no longer serious about the legal profession.
“The people that are going to law school are the really committed people, which is not a bad thing,” Margolis said.
Only 29 law schools saw an increase in the number of applications they have received. There are 17 schools that saw a decrease of over 30 percent, 40 schools that saw a decrease between 20 and 29 percent and 76 schools saw a decrease between 10 and 19 percent in applications.
There have been some law schools that said they will lower the amount of students they plan to admit this year. It is expected that the schools will use creativity with scholarships in order to keep enrollment numbers stable.