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UT Law School Faces the Worst Enrollment Decline in Ohio
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UT Law

Summary: A contrast of two law schools, The University of Massachusetts and the University of Toledo, one losing enrollment, a second gaining it.

As across the rest of the country, enrollment in Ohio law schools is in a slump. The University of Toledo, for instance, reported a 25.9 percent decline in their 1Ls this year, and they are strategizing how to respond, including a 13 percent tuition reduction.

  
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Dean Daniel J. Steinbock blames exactly what you would expect to be blamed: bad market, poor job prospects, and high tuition costs with huge debts.

“When the crash happened in late 2008, it caused a lot of legal work to dry up, and some of the biggest firms in the country either laid off associates, delayed people they had made job offers to, or paid them off to go away, and then they started hiring fewer lawyers or stopped hiring,” said Steinbock, as reported by The Blade. “This was at some of the biggest firms, and it has had a trickle down effect, especially during that period when there were many more law school graduates than there were decent attorney jobs.”

UT’s drops have been stark, with its 1Ls dropping from 157 in 2010 to 80 this fall, Steinbock claims this has little to do with their ranking as No. 140 in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual law school ratings.

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In contrast, the University of Massachusetts School of Law has not faced massive declines in enrollment. As the state’s only public law school, it considers itself in the “building phase” of becoming an established law school. They are still seeking full accreditation from the American Bar Association.

Though UMass also saw a decline from 127 1Ls in 2010 to 75 the next, they’ve held it there, at least, and are grateful to have that stability.



“Other schools are losing enrollment and decreasing their academic indicators,” said Dean Mary Lu Bilek. “To be stable and be increasing academic quality, at a time when nationally legal education is trying to figure out what to do, I would say is where we want to be.

“Every law school in the country has to resize, unless you started out the right size. We just came in at that moment where we could start out at the right size.

“We’ve been able to attract some new, good faculty and we haven’t done any layoffs. We were thin when I got here, and we’ve been able to add a few positions.

“For the last three years, we’ve kind of stabilized. That’s pretty remarkable for this era.”

Not only has the number of their applicants risen from 128 to 650 since 2011, but the Law School Admission Test results have slid up from 144 to 148.

UMass’s great distinction from its competition is a lower tuition rate. Whereas the national average is $41,985, in tuition and fees yearly, Massachusetts is charging $24,178.

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