UC Davis law school dean Kevin Johnson was crowing to the media last week about a surge in applications to his school, in the midst of a shrinking national applicant pool that has hit California schools particularly hard:
Law school applications nationwide dropped again in 2014. But at least one California school is defying the trend.
UC-Davis School of Law saw its applicant pool surge by nearly 25 percent.
The school had ramped up outreach efforts and eliminated its $75 application fee, said Dean Kevin Johnson, adding that he was “pleasantly surprised” by the results.
UC Davis received 3,007 applications, nipping at the heels of UC-Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, which received 3,118. . .
“I do think the market is coming back,” he said. “And I do think the nay sayers of law schools and being a lawyer, their days are limited in number.”
Davis got 2,420 applications in 2013, when the school was charging $75 to apply. Readers may be wondering why dropping the price of applying from $75 to zero produced such a relatively modest increase in applications: the answer, in part, is that to apply to an ABA law school you have to pay LSAC $21 to process your application materials, in addition to whatever the individual school charges, so applying to Davis still costs money.
I bet Dean Johnson would be “pleasantly surprised” by yet another surge in applications in this coming application cycle if Davis started actually paying people to apply (by for example sending them an I-tunes gift card, although I imagine cash money would be even more effective, if somewhat less discreet).
Leaving aside the dishonesty and/or cluelessness of touting an increase in demand that’s almost wholly the product of a 100% price cut, Johnson’s crack about “the market’s” comeback, and how this comeback augers the Twilight of the Naysayers makes no sense on its face, since he’s boasting about how well Davis is doing in comparison to a steep ongoing decline at other law schools. (Note that even with the increase produced by its new giveaway strategy, applications to Davis are still down 25% relative to four years ago).
UC Davis Law School resident tuition and mandatory fees: