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More Law Schools Report Jump in Applications

Posted Mar 19, 2009 6:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The economy is down, and law school applications are up.

The total number of law school applications jumped by 2 percent this year, but some of the best-known schools are showing bigger gains than that, the Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.).

Washington and Lee University in Virginia, for example, saw applications increase this year by 29 percent. Applications were up 8 percent at these schools, the publication says: Yale Law School, the University of Texas School of Law, Cornell University Law School, and Indiana University's Maurer School of School.

ABAJournal.com reported on the phenomenon last month. At the time, Duke University School of Law was reporting a 4 percent increase in applications and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a 6 percent increase.

All but one of these seven schools are among the top 25 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Some are warning law students not to be too optimistic about the job market upon graduation. Law professor William Henderson of Indiana University told the Wall Street Journal that "law school is not as safe a bet" as it once was. Students who don’t consider law a calling need to ask, "Is it really worth going $120,000 or $140,000 more into debt?"

But Paul Berman, dean of Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, said law school can be a good background for jobs even outside law firms. "As compared to other graduate programs, [law school] is more analytically rigorous and touches more areas of society," he told the Wall Street Journal. Applications at his school are lower this year.

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