Law school applications are down by 37 percent since 2010, and it’s growing more and more likely that the class of 2017 will be the smallest one we’ve seen in about 40 years. With a soft job market still at hand, people are finally realizing that it’s not a very good time to go to law school.
In fact, just 385,400 full-time law school applications were received for class that started in Fall 2013 — that may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that the number of applications once topped 500,000. What’s even more heartening is that the law schools that received the most applications were all ranked among the U.S. News Top 25 (and most of them were ranked among the ATL Top 25, too).
U.S. News kindly provided us with a list of the ten law schools that received the most applications. Unfortunately, not everyone can get into a highly ranked law school, so we compiled our own list of the top ten unranked law schools that received the most applications.
Which schools appear on the dueling lists of the cream of the crop versus the cream of the crap?
Here’s the list of the ten law schools that received the most applications for full-time programs for the class that entered in Fall 2013, courtesy of The Short List blog of U.S. News & World Report:
Just as it was the last time we covered this list, representation from the top 14 is still strong, with Georgetown once again clinching the top spot. This time around, prospective law students didn’t stray from the top 25 schools when submitting their applications in hordes. Job statistics matter, and these are the schools that may enable graduates to work as attorneys within ten months of receiving their diplomas.
In case you’re interested, here are the employment statistics for full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage for the class of 2013 (not including school-funded positions):
- Georgetown: 72.4 percent
- UVA: 79.7 percent
- George Washington: 63.2 percent
- William & Mary: 56.7 percent
- Columbia: 88.3 percent
- NYU: 86.2 percent
- UCLA: 66.6 percent
- Harvard: 84.9 percent
- Penn: 85.7 percent
So what do the numbers look like at the other end of the law school spectrum? The people who apply to unranked law schools are still applying in droves, despite all the news of employment and debt woes:
1. Charlotte: 3,342 (admit rate of 73 percent)
2. Florida Coastal: 3,085 (admit rate of 75 percent)
3. San Francisco: 2,762 (admit rate of 49 percent)
4. John Marshall Law: 2,518 (admit rate of 71 percent)
5. Suffolk: 2,367 admit rate (admit rate of 78 percent)
6. Southwestern: 2,260 (admit rate of 57 percent)
7. Barry: 2,087 admit rate (admit rate of 63 percent)
8. Thomas M. Cooley: 2,027 (admit rate of 79 percent)
9. New England Law: 2,013 (admit rate of 87 percent)
10. Nova Southeastern: 1,645 (admit rate of 48 percent)
We have a new winner! When we last evaluated the number of applications to unranked schools, Florida Coastal came out on top, with 5,283 applications for the fall 2011 cycle. This time, the number of applications climbed nowhere near that high, but Charlotte Law still managed to surpass the jewel of InfiLaw’s crown by 257 applications. It’s also noteworthy to mention Cooley’s number of applications — for a school with five campuses and only 2,027 applications, it’s no wonder that the administration decided to stop accepting 1Ls in Ann Arbor. Finally, Thomas Jefferson, the school that started the law school litigation trend, missed landing in the top ten by just 19 applications. Better luck next time, TJSL.
So there you have it: law school applications are down overall, but on the whole, many people are are still applying, even to lower-ranked schools. With fewer applications, we’re making progress in alleviating the stressed legal job market, but it’s still not enough. By the time people learn better, it’ll be too late.
10 Law Schools That Receive the Most Full-Time Applications [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]