American Bar Association / ABA, Law Schools

Fun Fact of the Day: The Incredible, Shrinking Law Schools

‘What is this? A law school for ants?’

Approximately three fourths of 201 ABA-approved law schools experienced declines in first-year enrollment. Ninety law schools reported declines exceeding 10 percent from last year, while fewer than 10 had increases of 10 percent or more.

— Information on law school enrollment reported in a recent American Bar Association press release.

(Those are the facts, but what does it mean?)

This could just be the latest evidence that a “crash” is coming for law schools with shaky business models. We’ve talked a lot about the fact that fewer people are taking the LSAT, and obviously that trend is now having an effect on the amount of people who are actually applying to law school. Here are some more stats:

Early review of data on first-year enrollments at ABA-approved law schools reveals that 44,481 full-time and part-time students began their law school studies in the fall of 2012. This represents a decrease of 4,216 students (9 percent) from the fall of 2011 and is approximately 15 percent below the historic high 1L enrollment of 52,488 in the fall of 2010.

It’ll still take some time for the poison of people making bad, uninformed decisions to work through the system. The historically high-enrollment class of 2013 is just about to flood the market with their JDs and dreams.

But as law school class sizes shrink, there is at least some hope that eventually demand for well paying legal jobs will shrink towards the actual supply of such opportunities.

ABA Section of Legal Education Reports Preliminary Fall 2012 First-Year Enrollment Data [ABANow]

Earlier: Law School Class Sizes Continue To Shrink. Are We Close To A Crash?

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