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A Divide in Legal Education
The sun still shines brightly on the most selective schools, which, so far, have been generally sheltered from the law school crisis. According to The Wall Street Journal, that continues for both prestigious private institutions, like Yale, Stanford, or Harvard, and public ones affiliated with flagship campuses, such as University of Michigan, University of California, University of Texas and University of Virginia. However, stand-alone law schools – those unaffiliated with broader universities – have been hit particularly hard by the recent decline in law-school demand, largely because schools lack the backstop of a larger institution. The vast majority of American law schools have experienced a downward trend in enrollment.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Linda Ammons, the dean of Widener University School of Law, told Law Blog in a statement; “While Widener Law, like the vast majority of American law schools, has experienced a downward trend in enrollment as noted in the report, the administration has made strategic financial adjustments to accommodate for these circumstances. Our budget is balanced and we operate with the full support of Widener University.”
The Post-Gazette reported that with declining law school enrollment and an unstable job market for attorneys, Penn State University announced on Tuesday that it was cutting the price for in-state students to enroll in its Dickinson School of Law by almost half price.
Some of these schools are responding to the financial pressures by slashing their enrollment fees to maintain quality, while others are relaxing requirements for admissions. Across the nation, applications for first-year seats in law schools is smaller this fall by about 12 percent, according to the National Law Journal, the third straight year applications have been lower than normal. The number of students taking the Law School Admissions Test in October was off 11 percent from a year ago and was the smallest number of students taking the test in October since 1998, according to the Law School Admission Council, which administers the exam.
Image Credit: Apu.eduA Divide in Legal Education by Jaan