Law Students

Law School Enrollment Increases by 36
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law school enrollment

Summary: Overall enrollment numbers at ABA-accredited law schools increased by a total of 36 students, the first increase in 6 years.

Law schools can breathe a sigh of relief. For the first time in six years the number of law school students increased ever-so-slightly. At American Bar Association-accredited schools there were an additional 36 students bringing the grand total to 37,107.

  
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While an additional 36 students is nothing to rave about, it’s at least a step in the right direction. First year enrollment has dropped 29 percent over the past six years. Law schools have been forced to take drastic measures to make it by with the falling enrollment numbers. Staff have been cut, class sizes shrunk, and admission standards lowered in an effort to keep their programs afloat.

Professor Derek Muller at Pepperdine University School of Law has been tracking enrollment trends. His data suggests that a “flat” enrollment will likely be the new norm for law schools. He explained, “I think it’s bad for a lot of law schools that were hoping for growth, both in terms of quantity and quality. For schools that had been bracing for a short-term decline, with this bottoming out, I think they’re going to have to expect that this is the new normal.”

Professor Alfred Brophy at the University of North Carolina School of Law added, “I think it’s good that we’re not losing students. But I think there’s probably still too many law schools for this many students. My guess is some places will have to shut down or merge.”

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For this year, 110 of the 205 ABA-accredited law schools are showing an increase in their first-year classes with 94 schools reporting a decrease compared to last year. Arizona Summit Law School reports the largest decline at 46 percent. The University of South Dakota School of Law is next with a 39 percent decrease.

Indiana Tech Law School has seen the largest increase this year with 41 new students enrolled. They only had 13 last year. They were unaccredited last year so they struggled to recruit students. They have since achieved ABA provisional accreditation but had still announced that they plan to close the school at the end of the academic year because of the low enrollment.



Do you think that conditions for law schools have improved? Tell us your predictions in the comments below.

To learn more about law school enrollments, read these articles:

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