Law school applications collapse: Applications to law schools heading to a 30-year low.

Law school applications are falling to 30-year lows.  The concern of course comes from a weak employment market but also the crushing amount of debt required to complete a law degree.  Many prospective students evaluate their decisions based on this and plan accordingly.  Also with information being readily available, students can also compare notes very quickly and adjust their future educational goals.  Back in 2004 there were 100,000 applicants to law schools while this year it is down to 54,000.  This is a dramatic trend change but also reflects something that is rarely talked about.  Many parts of higher education have entered into bubble territory.  That is, prices simply do not justify the actual program.  Where do things go from here?  Can law school applications continue to fall?

Number of law school applicants heads to 30-year low

The number of prospective students applying to law school has fallen dramatically:
31lawschool-webgraphic-articleInline

Source:  New York Times

The chart above shows an unmistakable trend.  Of course all of this comes in the face of extremely expensive degrees.  Many students are finding that they are landing jobs that don’t even require a law degree:

“(NY Times) In recent years there has also been publicity about the debt load and declining job prospects for law graduates, especially of schools that do not generally provide employees to elite firms in major cities. Last spring, the American Bar Association released a study showing that within nine months of graduation in 2011, only 55 percent of those who finished law school found full-time jobs that required passage of the bar exam.

“Students are doing the math,” said Michelle J. Anderson, dean of the City University of New York School of Law. “Most law schools are too expensive, the debt coming out is too high and the prospect of attaining a six-figure-income job is limited.”

This is only the tip of the iceberg here.  Many other high cost programs will see similar changes as the country edges to an economy where the majority of jobs are low wage and a handful of high paying positions.  This was the case in law in previous decades as well but the amount of debt taken on to finance these ventures was never so dramatic.
The fact that law applications are so low should tell you something.  Prospective law students are smart and they are starting to figure it out.

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