Search the Lounge


« University Naming Policies | Main | Solicitation of Responses to Lessig at Cleveland-Marshall »

March 04, 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Feb LSAT takers up 4.4 percent.

Just saying...

Which law school will be Sweet Briar?

Just read about that women's college closing at the end of the semester, despite a rather good endowment.

Seems yield and the increased financial aid needed to get bodies in seats were the reasons given for packing it in how. BOT saw the inevitable.

Sounds familiar......


@ however, Feb LSAT is the lowest volume and probably includes a ton of repeaters looking for more bargaining power with a higher score. Overall down 3.6 percent for the year, so don't expect next years application #s to increase.

The applicant decline of 6.9% is great news. Picking up steam. Really unpredictable this go-around. Making for a great horse race.

Just saying...

St. John's and Buffalo are admitting students without the LSAT under new ABA Standard. See today's NY Law Journal. Apparently, schools can accept up to 10% of a class without LSAT based on criteria in the standard. That is a significant number. More schools likely to do this, of course.


I thought the Sweet Briar board handled the closing callously. They had enough of an endowment to keep going for 3 more years. The students who will transfer out have much less chance of getting financial aid than if they had applied elsewhere from high school. The stand-up thing to do would be to stop accepting new students, and allow present ones to finish, or to give scholarship aid to current students forced to finish their education elsewhere.


We may be approaching the New Normal. 100,000 LSATs and 50,000 applicants. That sounds about right. There should be about 20 to 25,000 competent matrics there. (Schools will enroll more than that number, but that will correct as they close).


Anon123 -

I disagree with you. If you read more detailed discussions of what happened and is happening at Sweet Briar it becomes apparent that the school was out of time. Applications were collapsing and worse, the yield from acceptances was collapsing from around ⅓ to less than 20% - worse, tuition was being subsidized for those who took up the offer by some 60%, which was based on the sticker price tuition, going to cost $20mm per year.

Here is the difficult - they had about $84 million. If they kept going for 3 more years, that money would probably have been mostly gone. The alternative was to do what they appear to be doing, facilitate the transfer of their students to other colleges, which would seem to me to likely include transferring financial aid packages with some or all of the students. The other problem is that several accounts say that Sweet Briar as far back as 2011-12 suspended some pension contributions - which may have left a hefty deficit to fill.

Finally, there is the sticky problem of severance for 70 odd academic staff and a certain number of support workers. Sweet Briar is in a pretty bucolic place - it is not clear what the employment prospects of its staff are, especially as the only other nearby local employer is Jerry Fallwell Liberty University, i.e., small, bible bashing and probably unwelcoming to Sweet Briar's faculty. Indeed another person criticising the decision suggested that Sweet Briar should change from a residential college to a day/evening attendance format (for part-time college for employed students) - evidently without considering the college's location, as one of its leaders put it "a ½ hour from the nearest Starbucks."

A problem with the protracted death approach, i.e., keep going for 3 more years, is how do you make it workable. Every year there are ⅓ to ½ less students, looking for the same courses. Do you keep all the instructor/professors on staff? What do you do when they look for and maybe get other jobs somewhere else? Do you have an English professor try to teach engineering?

It seems to me that the Sweet Briar administration may have made the responsible decision, to "pull the plug" while it could still be done, while they still had the money to pay financial aid packages out, deal with severance and pensions.


Mack -- you suggest that one alternative I also suggested. In your word "which would seem to me to likely include transferring financial aid packages with some or all of the students." I do not see that specifically provided for, and I regard that as a problem. If that were the case, it would be fine. You are putting everyone else in front of students -- professors, etc. I would suggest that there exempt function is more related to taking care of students than providing employment. Of course, I likely live in an ivory tower.


Mack, I said, that one solution would be giving some of the endowment to students who transfer out. You say "which would seem to me to likely include transferring financial aid packages with some or all of the students." I do not see that in any public release, but I agree, that would solve part of inequity. The problem is, I do not see that happening. Universities (and law schools) have a number of stake holders, but it seems that the students are not given fair consideration. The exempt function of colleges and law schools is to educate people, not to provide employment. It is appalling how young people get left with huge amounts of debt in order to subsidize jobs.


Another reason to believe that there negative trend in law school applications will continue is the continuing decline in attendance at the LSAC Law Forums. More schools than ever are there. So they must think it is a good way to teach prospective students. Yet, this season (2014) there were about 10% fewer attendees than last year.


Summer associate hiring -- which is a remarkably good bellwether -- continues to be on the rise. I expect the naysayers to do what they do best, but the correction is now over.

John Thompson

@AB/1:13 a.m.:

Summer associate hiring pertains to 10-15% of law students on the market. If our long national nightmare is only over at the T14 which provide 60-70% of the students to whom summer associate hiring means something, law schools still have some adjustments to make.


@ AB, the correction in the legal hiring market may very well be over. The correction in law school enrollment is nowhere near over. Still far too many graduates with terrible employment outcomes and huge debt burdens. 6.9% applicant decline is still very high. I think schools can breathe easy when the annual decline falls under 2% for the first time. Might not be for another 2-3 years.


It does seem as though things have stabilized and entry level legal hiring at all levels has significantly improved. Prospective law students, however, still should be cautious about where they get their degrees and should seek out institutions that have good placement records and faculty who are committed to student employment success, rather than just their own scholarship.

Dr. Funkenstein

"entry level legal hiring at all levels has significantly improved"

It is, however, still f***ing horrible on an absolute basis. If it's even "significantly improved" in the first place.


I respectfully disagree. Hiring may not be as robust as, say, in the late 90s, but there are many jobs opening up.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad