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April 07, 2015


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The pattern of smaller declines as the year goes on continues, as it has for the entire period of the great decline in applicants. This means that the applicant pool has become increasingly back loaded, year After year, almost certainly with low quality applicants who apply to schools with no closing date for applying. With almost all schools lowering their admissions standards to whatever is needed to fill up a class and meet budget projections, you have to wonder if the next big shock to the system will have to be a huge number of students incapable of passing classes, or if schools pass them anyways, face the impossibility of passing the bar exam.


"face the impossibility of passing the bar exam."

That's why you are going to see a major push to abolish the bar exam over the next few years - you already see people trying out the arguments for doing so.

A longer-term problem is the decline in prestige in attending law school, which is likely to continue to hold down applications - a local well-regarded regional law school used to take about a third of its applicants, so it was a mark of some academic distinction just to get in. The school now takes two-thirds of its applicants.


The comments are precisely right.

It is no secret that admissions standards are declining. As peers see slackers attending law school, the standing of the profession is being ruined by greedy law school operators, hungry to fill seats with federal student loan conduits.

The waste and abuse is appalling. And, as the efforts to do away with bar exams increase, we can only hope that state bar associations will ignore the pleas of third or fourth rate law schools, and increase the demand to close these schools before they do any more damage.

Faculty members at these schools need not worry! They all gave up million dollar salaries to teach at a law school. Now, they can cash in!


As discussed in other threads, now that things have stabilized, hopefully law schools will make some meaningful changes, such as better training students to be lawyers, not just how to read cases in a particular way. Law school isn't a trade school but it should move a bit in that direction.


Law is a hard, stressful, and time consuming way for someone with 7 years of higher education to make $75,000 per year.

Until very recently, law students were an above-average sample of college graduates.

Hard work, mediocre money, stressful job, lots of debt, eroding status. It is not difficult to see why quality applicants are not applying.

Those are the problems, but there are solutions. If fewer students graduated, you'd expect opportunities and salaries to pick up over time. If debt were slashed, it would further improve quality of life. Lots of people would be interested in the profession if they had a 75 percent chance of reliably keeping six figures for most of a 35 year career. That simply does not exist now, and what smart student would rush in?

Would you advise your niece or nephew to go to law school now? I would have 20 years ago despite the problems then. Today, advising a kid to go to law school is parental malpractice.

John Thompson


Where does a 2.8% drop in applications or a 5% drop in applicants rank in comparison to similar drops from the past three application cycles?

Alfred L. Brophy

John, the decrease in applicants last year was just under 7%.


As a lawyer practicing at one firm for 20 years, I never encourage anyone to go to law school. Indeed, I try my best to discourage those who ask (and those that don't ask) whether they they should go to law school. It is a ripoff, for most students at most schools.


Many who go to law school go on to have interesting and flourishing careers. A subset may have different outcomes but that is the case with any career path.


"Anon" is an abbreviation of "anodyne."


"Many who go to law school go on to have interesting and flourishing careers. A subset may have different outcomes but that is the case with any career path. "

I'm sure that *dozens* of grads in each class from the lower-ranked schools have such careers.

*Dozens*, I tell you.

Nathan A


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