NEWS

Law program shows decrease in enrollment

Student enrollment into law school has declined across the country, including at the UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law.

“There was a 10-percent decline in applications last year and another 10-percent decline again this year,” said Marc Miller, the Dean and Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law at the UA’s College of Law.

According to the American Bar Association, applications to law schools across the country are down 37 percent since 2010, and the first-year class of 2014 could be the smallest class in the last 40 years.

American law schools face a dramatic drop in applications nationwide. Applications were once as high as 100,000 a year and are now down to about 50,000.

MORE FROM THE DAILY WILDCAT

“No one is immune,” Miller said. “We aren’t.”

Recent reports have surfaced online stating Law School Admissions Test scores have dropped in recent years and that it is now easier to get into law school than it has been in the past. According to Businessweek, the UA is among a laundry list of schools who have experienced a drop in LSAT scores from 2010-2013.

Although this is technically true, the data does not accurately represent the majority of students taking the LSATs, as it only accounts for the 25th percentile of scores.

“The 25th percentile [of LSAT scores] is really an incomplete picture unless you look at the median and 75th percentile scores as well,” said Nancy Stanley, the Assistant Dean of Advancement for the UA’s College of Law.

Although the UA’s 25th percentile LSAT scores were down 6 points, the median score has remained virtually unchanged.

According to research conducted by the Law School Admission Council, it seems that not as many students are attending graduate school as in recent years; they seem to be pursuing non-professional careers, which do not require additional schooling.

In order to combat the decline in applicants, Miller explained that the UA’s law school is focusing on maintaining the quality of their classes; as a result of the smaller number of applicants, they are able to offer smaller class sizes.

Another way the law school is making up for the loss of applicants is by increasing the number of international students in the JD program.

“A typical class now is probably 105 U.S. students and 29-30 international students,” Miller said.

Regarding those claiming it is easier to get into law school now because of lowered test scores, Miller stated that it is “more than just test scores and GPA. We have not and will not accept anyone we do not believe will succeed in school and pass the bar.”

Although those being trained in the profession are fewer in number, careers in the law sector are continuing to grow at a steady pace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected 10-percent growth from 2012-2022, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.

“Going to law school is still a great option,” Miller said. “Classes are just as strong as they were before, even with the shift.”

_______________

Follow Holly Halstead on Twitter.


Share this article


UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/8)
669 11 1.6%
Total (8/2)
66,070 1,065 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated December 8, 2021