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Enrollment at Law Schools Continues to Decline
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Summary: Enrollment at law schools throughout Indiana, and the country, continues to decline. 

Austen Parrish was hoping that enrollment at Indiana University Maurer School of Law would rebound, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.


In this school year, the number of law students enrolled dropped by 10 percent, which is on top of the 25 percent decline in first-year students the school experienced from 2010 to 2013.

Maurer School of Law is not the only one in Indiana suffering from a drop in enrollment. Valparaiso University Law School and the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI have also suffered through a drop in enrollment.

To read more law school news, click here.

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A brand new law school started by Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne did not bring in the number of students it expected to do so.

Susan Fitzgerald, a higher education analyst from Moody’s Investors Service, said, “This continued decrease in student demand is consistent with our belief that the legal industry is experiencing a fundamental shift rather than a cyclical trend.”

At the Indiana law schools, debt for graduates in 2013 averages almost $98,000 at IU McKinney, $99,000 at the University of Notre Dame, $108,000 at IU Maurer and $130,000 at Valpo.

To read more about Notre Dame Law School, click here.

The class of 2013 still has 22 percent without a job or working in a job that does not require a law degree.

IU Maurer law professor Bill Henderson said the following in a Pepperdine Law Review article from 2013:

“The demand for our core product—traditionally trained law school graduates—is collapsing Stated bluntly, the legal profession is becoming a subset of a larger legal industry that is increasingly populated by nonlawyers, technologists, and entrepreneurs.”

“If applicant volume stays low or further declines, there will have to be a day of financial reckoning in which layoffs and closure are put squarely on the table,” Henderson said.

The dean of IU McKinney, Andy Klein, said he believes first-year enrollment will hit 260 students per year, which is 15 percent less than the norm in the previous decade.

“A smaller law school means we need to focus on cost containment,” Klein said. “That’s how any business would react to a loss of customers.”

At Maurer, the applications for the law school dropped by 47 percent over the past four years and are 10 percent less fewer for the school year beginning in the fall of 2015.

To read more about Maurer School of Law, click here.

“That’s pretty stark,” said Parrish. “If the numbers keep going down, we might have to reduce the size of our program.”

At Valpo, first-year enrollment has dropped by 27 percent since 2011. There are only 171 students enrolled this year.

Notre Dame has 200 first-year students enrolled, which is an increase from the 183 in 2011.

Will Indiana law schools see a rebound in enrollment? Use our poll to share your thoughts.

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Image credit: Maurer School of Law

Source: Indianapolis Business Journal



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