Law Schools

Fiscal Calamity Ahead for Some Law Schools? Applicants for 2013 Drop 22% in 'Free Fall'

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Law school applications are in “something like free fall,” according to a blogging law professor who sees trouble ahead for some schools as a result.

As of Dec. 7, applicants for the fall of 2013 are down 22.4 percent from last year at this time, and applications are down 24.6 percent. There are currently 16,241 applicants who have submitted 106,608 applications to ABA-accredited schools. Last year at this time, the numbers amounted to 31 percent of the final preliminary count. The statistics from the Law School Admission Council are reported at Inside the Law School Scam and TaxProf Blog.

The numbers suggest that law schools will have between 52,000 and 53,000 applicants for the 2013 school year, slightly more than half as many as in 2004 when there were 13 fewer accredited schools, according to University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, author of Inside the Law School Scam.

“To put that number in perspective,” Campos writes, “law schools admitted 60,400 first year JD students two years ago. Since a significant percentage of applicants are unwilling to consider enrolling at any school below a certain hierarchical level, and/or will decline to enroll at certain other schools without receiving massive discounts on the advertised tuition price, these numbers portend fiscal calamity for more than a few schools. But out of that calamity will come the beginnings of a more rational and just system of legal education for the next generation of lawyers.”

Prior coverage: “Why It May Be a Good Time to Apply to Law School: Less Competition” “1L Enrollment Dropped at Three-Fourths of Accredited Law Schools This Year, Preliminary Stats Show”

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