Law School Enrollments Dropping

Law- Students Numbers Dropping

Law- Students Numbers Dropping


The number of students enrolling to study law has dropped yet again, for the third year in a row. Some law schools are being forced to slash the size of their classes as the trend continues with the 2013-2014 year showing a 13.4% decrease in the number of applicants to law schools. Just over 55’000 students applied to American Bar Association-accredited law schools this year, a downward trend worrying some law schools.

George Washington University cut it’s 2012 enrollment from 474 to 398, the smallest in a decade and the 2013 class size will be even smaller given the trends. Most colleges are experiencing the decline, with the Georgetown University Law Center dropping about 6% this year alone, and they are planning to reduce class sizes in the future.

There are numerous possible reasons for the reductions in enrollment. One reason is that the job market is very poor in the United States still, and there is a glut of lawyers looking for work. It is now much tougher to find work as a lawyer and perceptive students have noticed this trend in the workplace.

The global financial crisis and related economic downturn forced many law firms to fire many of their lawyers and downsize. Those lawyers entered the job seeking market with a lot of experience and skills, leading to younger lawyers missing out on some jobs they would have otherwise obtained.

Many law firms also reduced their intake of first year lawyers, so many junior lawyers who graduated in recent years are still looking for their first job as a lawyer. During those years the number of lawyers coming out of law school was climbing while the number of available jobs was collapsing, leading to dire consequences.

The other possible reason for a reduction in law school candidates is that the cost of attending college has reached a very high level and many people do not feel that taking on a substantial debt for a law degree in an unstable job market is a wise move. Many law school graduates have college debt as high as $120’000 and if they are unable to find a job it can easily lead to financial hardship.

Some educators suggest that the downward trend is mostly made up of people who were less serious about law school so were easily deterred by a difficult job market and the rising cost of education.