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Ohio Law School Sees Effect of Supply and Demand
Ohio is seeing the effects of oversupply, or excess supply in terms of its sheer numbers of lawyers looking for work, generally law students who are graduated but otherwise underutilized in the labor market. Students and parents carry forward the question of dwindling return on investments and whether or not law schools are in their minds, worth it over all.
2012 numbers show that graduates from American law schools had around $108,292 in student debt, while the median salary to support and finance that debt for a 2011 law school grad was at $76,125. According to dean Craig Boise, of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, “The lawyer bubble has burst.” At this time according to Dispatch.com, “Applications to U.S. law schools dropped 18 percent from 2012, hitting a three decade low.”
5 public law schools in Ohio saw a drop in applications by 39%. The total numbers of students in 2009-2010 were 8,518 while this fall shows that only 5,195 applied this fall. Ultimately, the law schools have seen a decline in student enrollment by about 30%, considering 950 students enrolled in the 2009-2010 relative to 674 enrolled this year. This year’s class is among the smallest classes in more than a decade. The five public law schools were at: the University of Toledo, with a 41% decline in enrollment, the University of Cincinnati, with a decline of 28%, Cleveland State, with a decline of 32%, the University of Akron, with 26%, and Ohio State University, with a 21% decline in enrollment.
But public law schools are far from being alone in this period of declining law student enrollment. Capital University Law School for example became 37% smaller as only 156 students enrolled this year. The dean of Capital law school, Rich Simpson commented that he “isn’t expecting the demand for lawyers to reach pre-recession levels because technology and outsourcing are taking over the most-mundane tasks, leaving less work for lawyers.” He finalizes by saying “The good old days of 10 and 20 years ago where employers tended to find the graduates are gone; It’s a new world out there.”
Law schools are in the a situation where they find themselves graduating around 45,000 students a year, but employers hire about 22,000 new lawyers a year. This imbalance is not sustainable, and schools are slashing faculty budgets, hiring more in untenured position, relying more on graduate student teachers, and in other words, shrinking. The third law school year may go the way of the dinosaur, and in as many ways possible law schools are downsizing.
Image Credit: Law.edu