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Applications Up, Way Up, At Iowa Law School

University of Iowa College of Law logo.jpgThe influx of law students into the profession — and the deflationary pressure they bring to legal salaries — just can’t be stopped. There are too many prospective law students. And they aren’t listening to reason.
We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes, drums… drums in the deep. We cannot get out … they are coming.
The University of Iowa College of Law — that’s right, Iowa — is receiving a record number of applications. The administration sent out this, almost taunting, email:

Greetings from The University of Iowa College of Law:
We have nearly completed a busy Fall travel schedule. Also, it has been a very successful travel season, as reflected in our total application numbers to date: Applications to The University of Iowa College of Law have increased 62% versus this time last year, and the quality and diversity of those applications has increased significantly, as well. It is still early in the admissions season, so we will see if these positive signs hold up over the long term. These increases do, however, reinforce the strengths of The University of Iowa College of Law:

I don’t even know how to make sense of a 62% increase in applications. But I’ll try after the jump.

I cannot imagine what all of these wanna-be law students are thinking. In-state tuition at Iowa is $21,432. That’s relatively cheap (let’s not talk about out-of-state students who want to go to Iowa for $39,138 a year).
But let me pose the question this way: Is there anybody in Iowa that can come up with a better way to spend $60,000 over the course of three years? I mean, is farming really that bad? You get to be outdoors, live a healthy lifestyle, and work with your hands. What is wrong with that?
Clearly, a number of people who are applying to law school this year are suffering from severe lack of career creativity. Are there and alternative career ideas for these people before they commit to the legal lifestyle?
Of course, if people are still trying to decide between doing something productive with the next three years — or going to law school — Iowa has these selling points:

1. We are a law school that is fully focused on student success and achievement. This focus results in success in national ranking exercises and polling of law schools.
2. We continue to have a strong national reputation. Our placement process sends graduates all over the country.
3. Iowa Law School students mention how they really enjoy attending law school in Iowa City, an active and thriving public research University community.
4. We are affordable: Iowa Law School students graduate with approximately $21,000 less debt than the national average for law school graduates.
5. We have a small entering class of 200 students, which compares favorably with our peer institutions which have entering classes that range from 240 students to as many as 400 students.
6. We have students and faculty who are civil to each other. They know how to disagree without being disagreeable.
7. We support research institutes, scholarly publications and clinics in the following academic and professional areas of interest:
Research Institutes: Public Affairs, Nonprofit Law, International Human Rights, and International Finance and Development.
Scholarly Publications: Corporation Law, International Law, Civil Rights Law, and The Iowa Law Review.
Clinical Opportunities: Assistive Technology and Disabilities, Consumer Rights, Criminal Defense, Disability Rights, Domestic Violence, Civil Law, Immigration, Nonprofit Organizations, and Workers’ Rights.
Another strength of the University of Iowa College of Law is the application review process: It is holistic. We read the entire application for admission. Academic numbers are the most important piece of criteria, but academic numbers alone do not stand as representative of the criteria for admission in our evaluation process. We also use Personal Statements, Letters of Recommendation and a resume to assess the nonacademic factors that exist in every application for admission. This process produces the following results: 99% retention rate, 99% graduation rate, 99% placement rate, and a 93% Bar passage rate.

According to U.S. News, Iowa had an 87.4% employed at graduation statistic last year. Are there Iowa law students that can tip us off on how recruiting is going this year?
In any event, a 62% increase in law school applications at Iowa probably tells you all you need to know about the future of legal salaries. It’s not pretty.
Prospective law students, please take a look at some of the links below. I pulled them up off the top of my head just from the past two weeks on Above the Law. You should be paying attention to stories like these. I’m trying to help you.
Earlier: Boston College Law School Has A Plan For Its Jobless 1Ls and 2Ls
Colorado Law Employment Correction
New Villain in Law School Debt Tragedy
Graduate from ‘Tier 1’ Law School Decides Education is Worth $0

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