Amid Sharp Enrollment Declines, Law Schools Shed Faculty Members

An article in The Wall Street Journal explores one way that law schools are coping with plunging enrollments in recent years, brought about by uncertainties in the legal job market: Some of them are quietly cutting faculty members and offering buyouts, as part of a trend most noticeable among middle- and lower-tier schools hit hardest by the declines. The article points out that some law schools confront a difficult choice when faced with a smaller applicant pool: They can relax admissions standards, possibly risking their standing in law-school rankings, or accept fewer students, making up for the lost tuition money with other cuts.

The broader legal market has yet to fully recover from the economic downturn, when a number of big law firms laid off lawyers as demand for legal services cratered. Many legal experts think it will be years, and perhaps decades, before employment rebounds to the levels reached in the middle of the last decade.

Would-be lawyers have taken note. As of July 5, law-school applications for the entering class of 2013 were down 36% compared with the same point in 2010, according to the Law School Admission Council. Last year first-year enrollments fell 8.5% nationwide, according to ABA data, and law schools outside the elite top tier are seeing even steeper declines.

Read more at:

Return to Top