Home / General / Law school applications continue their steep decline

Law school applications continue their steep decline


Last year at this time I noted that law school applications were in something of a free fall. LSAC has just released its first data for this year’s applicant cycle, and it appears the decline continues more or less unabated.

Total applicants to ABA law schools:

2010: 87,900
2011: 78,500
2012: 67,900
2013: 59,400

As of December 6th, 14,171 people had applied this cycle, which is down 13.6% year over year. 28% of all applicants had applied by this time last year; if the latter figure remains constant, that projects to 50,500 total applicants in this cycle. This would mean that 16.6% fewer people will apply to law school this year than were admitted three years ago. Indeed, if 100% of applicants were admitted and 100% enrolled, that would still produce fewer matriculants than were in the class of 2010. Of course not all applicants are admitted, although the percentage of applicants that are admitted to at least one school to which they apply has been climbing rapidly:

2004: 55.6%
2005: 58.6%
2006: 63.1%
2007: 66.1%
2008: 66.5%
2009: 67.4%
2010: 68.7%
2011: 71.1%
2012: 74.5%
2013: 76.9%

Meanwhile, the percentage of admitted applicants who end up enrolling has remained stable at between 86% and 88%. If we assume 75% of applicants are admitted in this cycle and 87% eventually enroll, this would produce a national first year ABA law school class of 32,950. Even if we assume 80% of applicants are admitted to at least one school to which they apply (this would be a fairly astounding figure, given that many applicants only apply to highly-ranked schools), that would still yield a first year class of just 35,150.

Total first year enrollment at ABA law schools:

2010: 52,500
2011: 48,700
2012: 44,500
2013: 39,675

As a financial matter, these effects are of course strongly cumulative. A first year class of 35,000 next fall (and note this is at the optimistic end of estimates given the analysis above) would mean that the total national enrollment over the previous three years will have been around 119,000, as compared to 153,700 from 2008-2010, i.e., there will be 22.6% fewer law students than there were four years earlier, despite a radical decline in admissions standards. Given continuing sharp increases in discounts over nominal tuition (indeed a few schools have now actually cut even nominal tuition), the decline in tuition revenue may be even greater in real terms.

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  • Linnaeus

    Sounds like a good time for me to try to get into law school.

    • terry malloy

      2008 was a great time to buy real estate.

      Don’t catch a falling knife.

      • Lee Rudolph

        But if you have to: do it by catching up to it from above.

        • Or use a big honking magnet.

          • Lee Rudolph

            Watch out for 3D-printed ceramic knives! (Wolverines!!!)

      • DSN

        I have in fact successfully caught a falling knife. And then very shortly thereafter began to wish that I had failed.

        • ChrisTS

          My spouse caught a falling pair of hedge clippers. Good times in the ER.

          • Barry

            Yes, when you roll through the doors with a huge honkin’ great piece of metal sticking out of a bloody wound, you know that you won’t have to wait long to be seen.

            It might seem like a long time, though.

        • dmsilev

          I once caught a falling soldering iron.


    • Grumpy

      This may be true–if standards drop at all schools, and you’re now competitive for a good school (or a scholarship at one), applying became a better idea, assuming you actually want to be a lawyer.

    • Afwan

      Yeah, it’s a good time to get into law school. Getting a job as a lawyer that pays enough to justify going to law school, on the other hand…

      • JoyfulA

        I have an acquaintance who is in his second year of law school. I gave him a lot of LGM posts to prove what a bad idea law school is, but he couldn’t be stopped.

        But then again, he doesn’t want to be a lawyer; he wants to be a politician. He’s been in politics as a student, both on campus and with the grown-ups. He’s worked on campaigns, written about politics, and gotten along with assorted hard-to-get-along-with people.

        Except for the debt (and I don’t know how much, if any, he has), law school seems like a good place to make some connections and age enough to get paid political work.

        • Hogan

          A lot of the elected officials in this area went to Temple or Villanova Law, so it’s not an implausible career path. On the other hand, the job of “elected official” has an extremely non-traditional and expensive application process (e.g., if you’re willing to relocate, you often have to do it before you find out if you got the job), which is tricky if you’re paying off debt at the same time. As far as paid campaign work, I’m not sure how much of a leg up a law degree gives you, but I know a lot less about that job market.

          • JoyfulA

            He’s going to Dickinson, the Temple equivalent here, in a slowly purpling area. I guess he may move to the local state rep district with the best possibilities as a first step. He does have campaign experience, and there are state gov job opportunities here, both civil service and appointed, with an almost certain new Dem governor about the time he graduates.

            Law school could very well work for him, as long as Penn State doesn’t screw up (it took over Dickinson when it unwisely invented Penn State Law recently and is, as expected, not managing things well). I wish him well (and will campaign for him!).

            • Hogan

              Yeah, the blue has been creeping out farther from Philadelphia lately. Best of luck, especially with the new Dem governor.

        • Barry

          “Except for the debt (and I don’t know how much, if any, he has), law school seems like a good place to make some connections and age enough to get paid political work.”

          I think that by now that’s a major problem; if you have $500/month of student loan payments, that’s a certain restriction on taking campaign jobs. $2,000/month will be an overwhelming limitation.

    • Linnaeus

      I meant that comment a bit tongue-in-cheek. That said, I had a conversation with a friend this weekend (she used to be an attorney, now she’s a law librarian) and she thought that going to law school may not be a totally bad idea because it might be helpful for some careers I’ve been considering (that don’t include “being a lawyer”), and schools are looking for students. Not sure I’d do it, for a variety of reasons, but it was helpful to talk about it nonetheless.

      • BoredJD

        It’s not terrible to try and pick up a large scholarship with low stipulations. For example, when schools cannot find enough students to fill seats, getting $5K is better than no K, just like an airline would rather sell a $300 ticket for $25 rather than nothing.

        The problem is that you really need to keep debt extremely low. If all applying now means is 15% off sticker price, still not a great deal. I’d recommend no more than $80K debt for most law schools outside the T13.

        • Linnaeus

          Agreed. I already have grad school debt, so I can’t take on much more. If the debt is too much, I won’t even consider it.

          • Grumpy

            Be sure to keep in mind the immense gap between “legal knowledge is helpful for some non lawyer jobs I’m interested in” and “law school will help me get those jobs.”

            • Linnaeus

              Good point.

              • Barry

                And other things; if it would take you an extra year of struggle to get such a job, at 10% lower salary, then spending three years and $100k to get the job (at 10% higher salary) is just not worth it.

    • Cal Wilson

      After 40 years in law, I can assure you that it is NOT the career of the future. As with all other areas of economic endeavor, the law of supply and demand applies to the legal profession. Caveat emptor.

  • NewishLawyer

    I know there is probably no effective or good way to find this information but I wonder what people are doing instead of applying to law school and what the demographics are like of the people who are still applying.

    The old example of the typical law school applicant was a 22-year old liberal arts major who had no idea what to do with life. Or people like me who were older and spent their 20s trying for an alternative career (theatre directing in my case) and/or had trouble starting a career in other fields (ditto).

    Are people finding other work and thinking of alternative plans or do think they are screwed either way and deciding no on the debt? Are the people who are applying people who really want to be lawyers or still a bit delusional?

    Maybe none of this matters but I’m largely curious about the issue of what people are doing instead of applying for law school.

    • Linnaeus

      Are people finding other work and thinking of alternative plans or do think they are screwed either way and deciding no on the debt?

      I’d guess some of both. I may not be the best example, but I’m currently piecing together multiple part-time jobs to pay the bills and, while doing that, trying to figure out a Plan B or C or D. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what a lot of other folks are doing who might otherwise have gone the law school route.

    • Scotius

      I was a liberal arts major (Poli Sci) who didn’t know what he wanted to do in life. I now work as a network administrator. Of course, I was able to get into IT back in the mid 90s when it was still fairly easy to find an entry level job even without experience. I have the feeling I would have found it much tougher nowadays.

    • Andrew

      Sounds right. I was a bum in my early 20’s, working a couple of menial, low-paying IT jobs, before going to law school in my late 20’s, then back to school for a PhD in my late 30’s. It never ends, though at least I love being a PhD student (couldn’t say the same about prior career or being a law student).

      • Steve Suspect

        How did you swing that? I really didn’t like law school and my career has been meh. Always wanted to do a poli sci PhD but my undergrad grades were meh and my current job is meh so I don’t know how I would even get into a good program. My other dream is SAIS at Hopkins but I am at a loss for how to become a competitive applicant

        • wjts

          For older applicants to PhD programs, undergrad grades are less important, particularly if your transcripts from a Master’s or professional program are better. My undergrad transcript ran the gamut from A to F and I managed to get into a fairly competitive PhD program. Being able to articulate an interesting and plausible research question in your application statement, finding an advisor whose interests are a good match for yours, and good GRE scores are just as (if not more) important than undergrad grades. Of course, the academic job market is just as bleak as the legal one, so caveat emptor.

          • Steve Suspect

            My professional school grades are slightly worse actually. I test well, so I think I can nail the GRE. I’m leaning more toward SAIS M.A. than Ph.D. Still worried about fairly undistinguished work experience, but I might give it a shot in a couple of years (I believe you need minimum 9 years post-college work experience to be eligible for the program I want, something like that).

          • Patrick

            The academic job market is just as bleak as the legal job market? I’d say it makes the legal job market look downright laden with opportunity. There might still be many more JDs graduating than there are full-time, permanent, JD required jobs available, but there’s no where near the mismatch of humanity PhDs as compared to tenure-track jobs.

            • Cal Wilson

              For the foreseeable future, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) seem to be the way to go. These are not easy disciplines to master, which probably explains the shortage of people qualified to work in these fields.

              • RTS

                “These are not easy disciplines to master, which probably explains the shortage of people qualified to work in these fields.”

                Many also find STEM fields to be incredibly trivial and boring, even soul-rotting, which might also help to explain the ‘shortage” of people interested in such careers.

                • Tom Servo

                  What, science and engineering are trivial and soul killing? Really? What about law? Medicine? Project management? I’d rather be an engineer.

              • There is no STEM shortage. It’s a myth the tech industry created to bring in cheap foreign engineers to be exploited. Though I still would advise anyone going to college to do engineering.

  • StatsGuy

    It is useful to look at Paul’s post from last year at this time to which he linked and compare them to the actual numbers above, to show that preliminary numbers at this time may not pan out over the whole cycle:

    “As of December 7th, they are down 24.6% from the same time last year, while the total number of applicants has declined by 22.4% year over year. These numbers suggest that law schools will have a total of somewhere between 52,000 and 53,000 applicants to choose from in this cycle…”

    The actual number at the end of the cycle turned out to be roughly 59,500, rather than the 52,000 to 53,000 projected last year at this time.

    • Paul Campos

      This is a good point, but last year’s cycle featured an unusually high percentage of later in the cycle applicants (no doubt in part because of extreme efforts on the part of law schools to generate them). The estimates I give above are assuming that this happens again. Of course it’s always possible that there will be an even greater intensification of this pattern this year (maybe schools will start paying people to apply, although some already have, in the form of Itunes gift certificates and the like).

      • Evan

        Itunes gift certificates to apply? REALLY?

        Jesus. This is starting to sound like timeshare pitch sessions.

  • Scotius

    I think any career guidance counselor with even a speck of ethics should be pointing any would be law student to http://www.shitlawjobs.com

    • Schadenboner

      I’m a second-rate computer janitor with a third-rate GPA in a fourth-rate subject from a fifth-rate public school in a sixth-rate city and even I make more than those jobs are quoting.

      And those are the rates on offer out on the East coast? Seriously?

      • Unemployed Northeastern

        Comment of the day, right there.

        The last small firm I interviewed with in metro Boston offered me the princely salary of $0.00, so whatever the rates are on sh*tlawjobs.com, I can assure you they are legit.

        • NewishLawyer


          I’m still freelancing but I make 40 an hour which isn’t bad even in SF.

      • BarrY

        Good point – how far does $40k go in Boston?

        • Marek

          All the way to Lawrence, or maybe Lowell (apologies JfL).

          • Unemployed Northeastern

            Oh, I don’t think it gets as far as Lowell, which is semi-successfully rehabbing itself – factories into lofts, new public spaces, lots of office parks on its perimeter, etc. $40k might get you into Brockton or Chelsea or Everett.

        • NewishLawyer

          Not as far as it would in Baltimore but farther than it would SF or NYC.

        • BoredJD

          Don’t forget Lynn, or next to wherever they finally put a casino. Gotta get in before that Blue Line extension.

        • TribalistMeathead

          Not as far as it would go in Chicago.

  • BoredJD

    Something something something market something rational actor something.

    • Afwan

      Seriously! Where are the good law school deans, shills and hacks trumpeting the values of a law degree? LSAC now targets the least educated (HS and underclass undergrads) who aren’t aware of the scam and plays on society’s assumptions about environmental lawyers. The rational have decided to work at Whole Foods and plow excess earnings into scratch-off tickets, a much safer bet than going to 150 law schools.

  • The prophet Nostradumbass

    Is this a long term trend? For instance, what were the numbers like 25 years ago?

    • Afwan

      http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/lsats-administered has the data for LSATs administered, which is the absolute ceiling on applicants, unless some dumps are still fast-tracking undergrads and not requiring LSAT scores.

    • Paul Campos

      Total first year enrollment climbed more less consistently from the early 1960s (which are the oldest numbers I have) until 2010.

      First year enrollment 25 years ago was 42,900, i.e., about 7% to 10% higher than it was this fall (and at 174 law schools rather than the current 202).

      To get down to 35,000 first year law students you have to go all the way back to 1970 (at 146 law schools).

      • kindasorta

        Hopefully we can go back to 146 law schools. Or fewer.

      • Philip Arlington

        And the US population was only 203 million in 1970.

        Progress is being made, but the scambloggers have got to get the number down into the 20s at the most to truly break the scam.

  • Afwan

    My sources tell me that law schools are very hesitant to make hires in this environment. They want stable numbers to assess hiring needs, and then they’ll bring new professors in. Of course, adjunct positions that pay nearly nothing (seriously, a few $K/credit hour) and are easy to terminate are being filled. But tenure-track is as frozen as Chicago (tonight’s low is 0F), and given these numbers, it will stay that way for another year.

    • Unemployed Northeastern

      Why use confidential sources? The law school hiring threads over on prawfsblawg are chock full of double Ivy lawyers stressing out whether Cooley and Ave Maria are hiring this year.

      • Barry

        “Why use confidential sources? The law school hiring threads over on prawfsblawg are chock full of double Ivy lawyers stressing out whether Cooley and Ave Maria are hiring this year.”

        That’s gotta hurt. Get *admitted* to any Ivy league law school, *graduate* with good grades, get into a good Ph.D. program, *survive* to graduate it, and you’re still interviewing at the academic equivalent of Dewey, Cheatham and Howe.

    • Barry

      “But tenure-track is as frozen as Chicago (tonight’s low is 0F), and given these numbers, it will stay that way for another year.”

      I spit frozen chunks of spittle at 0F :)
      (now, the Chicago *wind* I’ll respect)

  • go

    Eat shit Peter Aduren.

    • Modest Proposal


    • E. Goldstein

      Peter Aduren is watching you.

      • Lee Rudolph

        I thought that was Ceiling Cat?

    • Piotr Durena

      This kind of thuggery is, of course, typical from LGM.

    • Thugs, Thugs, Thugs

      You have awoken the sock puppet.

    • Thugs, Thugs, Thugs

      By sock-puppet, I mean the self-loathing person who labels those who calls violate laws that “make it illegal to willfully obtain someone’s personal identifying information, including name, age and address, for any unlawful purpose, including with the intent to annoy or harass” as “scumbags.” http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2013/12/attention-scumbags.html

  • How will this end?

    When I enrolled at my law school in January of 2010 the incoming class for that semester was about 150. That was basically at the top. Fast forward to January of 2014 and that number is going to be 15. I wonder if they are even bringing in enough money to cover operating expenses. The next few years could be really ugly for law schools.

    • Afwan

      You must tell us the name of the law school! 150 for January enrollment? My law school allowed 0 to start in the January semester.

    • Anonymous

      Which school did you attend?

  • maxx

    For a look at who’s still applying to law school see:


    Very very sad – the immaturity, the hubris and the lack of any thought, let alone knowledge, about job prospects or the damage non-dischargable debt can do is apparent in almost every tweet.

  • Ralph Wiggum

    So here’s the question – is this the new normal, or will enrollment bounce back up again in a few years, even if nearly all of the law schools survive and tuition doesn’t decline significantly?

  • mike in dc

    In a rational market, enrollment should lag employment prospects by a year or three. So when new hires go up, enrollment should start to come back up. In other words, it’s going to be a long time before enrollment comes back up. On the plus side, this may help out later law school grads, because there will be less competition for the jobs that are available.

    • Barry

      “On the plus side, this may help out later law school grads, because there will be less competition for the jobs that are available.”

      There will be a lot of recent grads doing low-level law work who’ll be happy to take any better job. And a lot of people who formerly would have made partner, but didn’t, as that percentage dropped to record lows.

  • Gregor Sansa

    I have a housemate who is in her second semester at Harvard Law and will be in the bottom half of her class. She’s African-American and has a career as an accountant prior to going to law school. Is law school probably a good deal for her? Harvard is not typical, but is it that atypical that you can afford to not do so well and still have it be worth it?

    • Denverite

      Yes, provided she doesn’t mind working at a miserable job for more-or-less five years (maybe three, maybe seven) for about $200k/year. STRONGLY recommend that she go into transactional work. Her grades aren’t good enough for a federal clerkship, even from Harvard, so the fun federal government litigation and probably even regulatory jobs are probably off the table. That means she needs to be thinking about in house, which is a lot more doable for deal lawyers.

      But again, if you don’t mind working 70 hours a week for high 100s/low 200s in your late 20s and early 30s, any of the top 5 schools are a good choice, and really any of the T14 (other than maybe Georgetown) are a defensible choice.

      • Denverite

        (I should add for the non-lawyers, the career track for most students from the top schools — i.e., from anyone with a pulse at YHS to the top half or so from Duke or Cornell — is to go to a big firm in NYC or the local big city [so like Chicago for Chicago students] for several years. They usually don’t start firing until year three, and they usually weed out everyone who isn’t going to make partner [about 90% of the entering class] by year seven. So at some point in the window, the goal is to move on to your next job. Deal lawyers generally go in house; litigators are more varied, but probably the plurality go to government jobs; and there is a healthy chunk from smaller cities who move back home and go to a firm there. All of these moves entail a significant pay cut — going in house at year five probably means going from $225k to $150k. The federal government pays right at $100k for that level of attorney, and state/local government is maybe around $70k.)

        • Steve Suspect

          I’m in the bottom half of my class at GW. So I guess I’m looking at personal injury or insurance defense. I prefer the former. I’ll give that a shot for a few years once I graduate. But I think I’ll probably just find a new career other than law. I don’t know what it’ll be. I might try for SAIS at Hopkins but I doubt they’d be thrilled about a failed lawyer/PI guy. Fuckin a.

          • BoredJD

            What about state/local gov?

            • Cal Wilson

              A job with a State government agency has much to recommend it. The hours are regular Mon-Fri 9-5 and the salary is reasonable. This is particularly true when you realize that less than 40 hours are generally needed to accomplish the work.

        • Unemployed Northeastern

          Shame about how Peyton fared against the Patriots, huh?

          • Denverite

            Yes, a three point loss in overtime on the road in horrible conditions is shameful. Especially the offensive performance. 31 points, 400+ yards? What a joke.

            At least Peyton can console himself with all of his single season passing and scoring records. Well, that and the #1 seed. I’d say good luck to B & B coming into Denver for once, but, well, we all know how tough Cincy is going to be.

            • Unemployed Northeastern

              Yes, the odds at halftime were 485 to 5 in your favor. That is 2004 Yankees-level choking. Too bad, so sad.

              • vig

                So how much did you make at those 97:1 odds?

                • Unemployed Northeastern

                  Make? Nothing. As a long-term unemployed lawyer whose team was down 0-24 at halftime? The more appropriate question would be: how much did I drink?

              • Denverite

                So about the same odds at the Patriots going to the Super Bowl without Gronkowski?

                • Unemployed Northeastern

                  Ugh. He’s such a huge guy, but he’s evidently made out of porcelain.

                • Denverite

                  I’m not sure Lou Gehrig could have taken that shot and played the next day.

                  In all seriousness, people around here are pretty bummed about the prospect of NOT playing NE in the playoffs. The blue-and-orange have had to travel to Foxboro (and gotten beat) each of the last three years. There was a sense of anticipation about getting the Patriots to come in to Mile High and blasting them. (Which would be the likely result if the weather was OK — and contrary to popular belief, January weather is usually pretty mild, with daytime temps in the mid 40s.)

        • MacK

          More like 95-97% of a 1L class don’t make partner

          • Denverite

            I meant firm class.

      • mch

        Ummm. 70 hours a week in the high 100’s/low 200’s in your late 20’s and early 30’s….What world do you live in?

        Law is a profession. Get paid well, fine. But is it a condition that you enter the top 10% of earners at the beginning of your career? THAT’s what’s wrong with law these days.

        I do have sympathy for women lawyers of this age because of the biological clock. But that’s another set of questions from anything raised here.

    • Gregor Sansa

      I’d seriously like to hear Paul’s opinion on this. Does the employment chances crisis go all the way to Harvard?

      • Gregor Sansa

        Sorry, this “bump” crossed wires with Denverite’s reply. Thanks, Denverite, that was helpful.

      • Probably the underemployment crisis does, and that downward pressure operates to suppress prospects for others. There are more lawyers being produced than the market can sustain. Full stop.

      • BoredJD

        I went to a school in the tier below HYS, and there was (1) a marked increase in people who could not get firm jobs through the traditional OCI route, (2) public service students were finding it harder to get those jobs, which meant they were competing for private sector work, (3) elite schools accepted more transfers to make up revenue gaps caused by decreased class size, who are more impressive on paper candidates than someone who is below median.

        Before 2008 or 09 a student at an elite school was virtually assured of a market paying biglaw job unless they were so socially awkward that they could not carry on a 20 minute conversation. Now, there are just enough people who have mediocre grades and strike out that anxiety has increased. But the chances are still overwhelmingly high that your friend will be able to snag a market paying offer or an equivalent job- we’re talking 95% or above.

  • MacK

    The interesting question is what is this doing to law school finances. Let’s assume arguendo that the law schools had a cost structure built around a matriculant level of 50,000 – so circa 150,000 law students at any given time.

    The class admitted in 2010 just graduated – so arguably the base number of tuition generating units was

    2011 – 152,500
    2012 – 145,700
    2013 – 133,200
    2014 – 119,000

    To put it another way, in 2014 there will be 31,000 fewer law students than the level the industry is structured to provide for. That is bad, but not as bad as it looks at first.

    So revenue producing units have declined by 13% to date – and next year will be off by 22% – of course this is before you take into account the revenue yield impact, which given the discounting of tuition will have declined substantially more than 13% or 22%. This is the lag – a decline in enrolment has in any given year just a ⅓ impact on total revenue units (students) across the law school industry.

    However, obviously there are going to be distributional issues – T14 to T20 schools will not have experienced as precipitous a decline in enrolment as lower ranked schools – so it is in the more challenged schools that most of the 13%-22% decline in revenue producing units will have been felt – and they will have done most of the discounting.

    However, there are 203 or so ABA approved law schools. If the entire enrolment hit was at the bottom – mostly small law schools (except for Cooley) 26-40 should have closed – they have not – which suggests that there is some distribution of the declining matriculants.

    • MacK

      I’ll add a point – project forward three years – 3 years of sub 35,000 gets law schools to around 100,000 enrolled – a ⅓ decline in revenue units below plan, before you take discounting into the revenue impact. By 2016-17 some law schools will simply implode. An economic recovery would cut enrolments further (graduate school enrolment is contra cyclical) so a stronger economy is perversely bad for law schools.

      • terry malloy
        • MacK

          Yes – I’ve read that analysis. The weakness in the theory is that stand-alone law schools will not be turkeys voting for thanksgiving/christmas – they close they are all unemployed – but law schools in Universities or other parent institutions are much more vulnerable since the parent institution can decide to simply close the law school.

          • terry malloy


            Also, maybe I overlooked it, but I think S&P missed the difference between LSAT takers when there was a penalty for re-takers (e.g., averaging scores); and now where there is little to no penalty for re-takers.

          • PaulB

            MacK’s analysis is spot on. We’ve already seen schools like New England and Florida Coastal do what they have to do to survive. Weak law schools at large universities, especially public ones where politics come into play like Iowa and Penn State, may well be carried indefinitely as they’re put on double secret probation and forced to just get their deficit down. The law schools attached to small private liberal arts colleges with small endowments are the ones most in danger of being shut down completely.

      • Afwan

        Wouldn’t better outlooks for the legal industry increase the # of law students? I know I know – people go to law school to weather the storms of recession (what an expensive shelter!), but they also go in the hopes of becoming a lawyer one day. Right now I try to dissuade applicants by describing the debt from law school and the limited opportunities for JDs. If there were better job prospects, I could only point to the debt. In any event, even if the economy improves, I don’t see legal hiring improving any time soon; automation, outsourcing, reluctance of GCs to pay for an army of $450/hour monkeys, all limit the growth of the legal market.

        • MacK

          There is a reason I used the term “revenue producing units,” because many law schools see matriculants that way.

          I think you are over-estimating the “to be a lawyer” rationale for going to law school. I am going to quote myself from TFL – on the advice law students take to go to law school (inter alia a couple of years ago I found a fortune cookie insert that said “you would be a good lawyer” – my wife framed it):

          40 years ago the prospective US law student watched To Kill a Mocking Bird and maybe Matlock

          20 Years ago they watched LA Law

          10 years ago they watched Ally McBeal

          Next year they’ll be watching Better Call Saul

          for the rest of the advice consider a modified version of the dialogue from the Graduate (1967)

          Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?

          Benjamin: Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.

          Mr. Braddock: Why?

          Benjamin: Well, it’s very comfortable just to drift here.

          Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?

          Benjamin: No.

          Mr. Braddock: Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?

          Benjamin: You got me.

          Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.

          Benjamin: Yes, sir.

          Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

          Benjamin: Yes, I am.

          Mr. McGuire: [Law School]

          Benjamin: [That’s two words]

          [Benjamin’s mother: “see, you can argue like a lawyer, go to law school”]

    • BarrY

      It’s been pointed out that these schools will likely close when their checks bounce, and no a second earlier. They’ll hope that one or two of their competitors will fail first (‘I don’t have to outrun the bear…’).

      In addition, their job prospects upon school failure are zero. They are up against a wall.

  • George Hussein Clinton

    Law schools will adjust by asking for more donations, increasing their new “J.M.” programs and adding more foreign LLM students.

    JM programs might be good for some people because they are only 1 year, but what exactly can someone do with that degree.

  • dp

    Today, I received discovery responses from a corporate entity that objected to the interrogatories’ use of the pronoun “you” on the grounds that the corporate entity was not a sentient being and thus had no knowledge or opinions.

    My response was that based on that response, I can thus expect said corporate entity to sit by silently, without offering evidence or argument, during the trial of the case against it, right?

    The fewer of us that exist, the better.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      sounds like you definitely got a response from a non-sentient being, just not from the one you wanted

  • bored lawyer

    Hi DP:

    Just curious, did you file a motion to compel?

    • dp

      No, just received them. I’m still at the writing snarky letter in response stage.

  • what’s wrong with them?

    Haven’t they all read Simkovic & McIntyre? I thought the word was out, the debate settled. These kids are making a horrible mistake passing up law school! It’s an amazing opportunity!

    • LawDdaw

      Consider too the superb advice from Dean LeDuc at Cooley – “now is the time to get a JD!” LeDuc – he of the $600,000 salary funded with student loan checks – says the critics of legal education are completely wrong.

  • Jesse

    Dr. Campos, can you update everyone on the attitudes of law school professors and administrators toward the crisis? I believe maybe a year ago when you posted about it, there was many who were in the “it’s cyclical” branch.

  • Lemmings Beware

    An interesting testimonial for not attending law school (a top 20 school) at Business Insider today:

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