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Enrollment of First-Year Law Students Drops Across Country

On Tuesday of this week, the American Bar Association released new statistics that detail the enrollment numbers for first-year law students in the United States. Those numbers show that first-year law students are lessening across the nation, according to a report from The Recorder.

Two schools in California, UC-Berkeley School of Law and Santa Clara University School of Law, experienced first-year class growth. They were just two of 63 American Bar Association approved schools that saw growth in enrollment from 2012 to now.

At Berkeley Law, the first-year class size increased by six percent since 2012. There are now 280 students enrolled in their first year. At Santa Clara University School of Law, there was a first-year class growth of four percent from 2012.

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California schools that experienced decreases in first-year enrollment for 2013 included Golden Gate University School of Law, UC-Hastings College of the Law and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Golden Gate University School of Law saw a decrease in first-year enroll of 34 percent compared to 2012 and 2011.

UC-Hastings saw a five percent enrollment decrease from 2012, but a 20 percent decrease from 2011.

Frank Wu is the chancellor and dean at UC-Hastings. He said that he was expecting the numbers reported about his school. He said that the dip from the high of 2010 “is a good sign that we’re adjusting to this new reality.”

“We chose this course,” he said. “We’ve been reducing class size for two years.”

Wu also noted that the drop in enrollment is much smaller than that of the drop in the applications being filed. “This means that anyone applying to law school now has more choices than they would have in recent memory,” he said.

The study from the American Bar Association shows that there was an 11 percent decrease across the country for students who began their first-year in law school in the fall of 2013. The enrollment numbers dropped by an incredible 24 percent from 2010.

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