Survey: Law School Enrollment, Admissions Down

A National survey shows law schools across the country are accepting fewer applicants because fewer people are applying. Indiana's law schools have noticed.

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Photo: flickr (Numats)

Law school admissions nationwide are down.

A recent survey says law schools are reducing the number of students they accept as a way to stay competitive now that fewer students are applying.

Law school applications have dropped from around 600,000 to less than 400,000 since a recent peak in 2010.

And a 2013 survey released by Kaplan Test Prep shows 54 percent of law school admissions officers say they’re cutting their incoming class sizes for the 2013-2014 school year.

Frank Motley is the Dean of Admissions at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He says so far admissions to the Maurer School have remained steady at around 200 students per year. But his office gives itself the leeway to cut enrollment by 10 to 15 percent if not enough quality applicants apply.

“There could be a falloff, but there could be students at the low end of the ability curve,” Motley said. “But the fear is that there’ll be students at the high end of the ability curve or it might be across the board. So adjustments are made based upon the quality of the pool. We’re trying to get the very best students we possibly can to attend our law school.”

IU’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis has seen a significant decline in admissions. It accepted around 230 part-time and full-time students this year, a decline from their traditional class size of 300 students up until fall of 2012. But Vice Dean Antony Page says the smaller class size has a silver lining for students.

“What is really nice about this reduction in class sizes, is that this means that classes are smaller,” Page said. “And we believe when these students graduate that there will be better employment opportunities available to them.”

So while a weak economy and an abundance of lawyers has made it hard for newly graduated students to find work, the job market might soon balance itself out.

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