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July 23, 2012


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James Milles

I wonder how many schools will make up for the smaller 1L class sizes by increasing admissions in foreign LLM programs? LLM students generally pay full freight, and I think the US News doesn't count LLMs toward the 1L LSAT and GPA averages. I expect some schools to start shipping in lots of underqualified foreign law students.

Jeffrey Harrison

Interesting post. It is the PD which means it is difficult to get cooperation. I agree that we should be heading to 4 but, to some extent, every school hopes others will cut enrollment enlarging the pool for those not cooperating and, thus, increasing the likelihood of maintaining enrollment and GPA/LSAT scores. If we follow Axelrod's studies, the question is whether there is a way for some players to employ the tit for tat strategy in order to "convince" other schools to cooperate? I am not sure.

Scott Bauries

I agree that rational schools would opt for number 4, but for less expensive state schools (particularly less expensive on the out-of-state tuition number), increased yields might neutralize the strategy. Even a deliberate move to cut the class size can be frustrated if more admission offers are accepted than is typical at a particular school (unless, of course, this increased yield can be predicted and accounted for on the front end, which seems unlikely in the first year of such a strategy). If an increase in the rate of accepted offers is driven by newly-cost-conscious students who failed to secure attractive enough scholarship offers at higher-ranked schools (perhaps skewing the additional yield slightly in the direction of the less credentialed accepted candidates), then the overall LSAT/GPA numbers might decrease while the class size stays the same (or even increases), despite the deliberate strategy to decrease the class size to maintain credentials.


This Admissions business is obviously a tricky business, and my understanding is that not only have applications been down but so have acceptances. But it is quite likely that for many schools, there really is no alternative to shrinking class size given that there just are not enough jobs out there for the old class sizes. Some schools may not care, and many will hire the unemployed until USNWR stops looking, but at some point that will catch up with them. An unfortunate side effect of the shrinking classes, as was noted above, is the increase in bogus LLM programs -- ones that typically have little market value but can lure students who are unemployed and trying to trade up on their degree. If these suggestions or ideas have any merit, they are an indication that many law schools have lost their mission and perhaps should trade in their .edu for a .com web address.

Bill Turnier

Confronted with having to choose between less money coming into the till as tuition (and for some state institutions remittances due reduction in student population) and decline in US News ranking, the first step will be to readjust admissions standards to allow fir no reduction in class size and no, or minimal, reduction in reported admission standards. For example, schools which used to admit based on the first LSAT score will move to admitting based on the highest score. There is also likely to be a giggling of the relative weight assigned to GPA and LSAT in making admission decisions to result in a maximization of the impact such factors have on USNews data. When it comes down to losing money which will translate into less travel money, summer grants, etc fir faculty, I am confident that all stops will be pulled out to first adjust admissions numbers to minimize the need for reduction in resources that would follow from reduction in class size. Other factors such bas reduction of scholarship aid will also be considered.

Howard Wasserman

Slightly different point: How long before whoever administers the LSAT recalibrates the scorin? Top-30 School X is still admitting the same percentile of LSAT taker; but the taker's raw number simply has declined, which is what the US News looks at.

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