The American Bar Association reports that first-year law school enrollment dropped 11% this year, down 5,000 students to 39,675. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, this is the lowest first-enrollment has been since 1977 (when enrollment was 29,676 – just one student higher).
Here are some additional stats from the WSJ article:
• This is the third year of law school enrollment decline; in 2010, enrollment hit an all-time high with more than 52,000 students beginning law school.
• One of the biggest enrollment jumps occurred in 2002 with an increase in enrollment of 7.48%.
• About two-thirds of the 202 ABA accredited U.S. law schools reported enrollment declines this year. At 81 schools, the decline exceeded 10%.
• Not all law school news is negative, though – 27 law schools this year increased their first-year class enrollment by 10% or more.
With the decreased demand in law school comes a decrease in competition; so ask yourself – is now the time to apply? Good question. Don’t answer solely based on the decline in application volume and law school enrollment. You also need to look at cost and job opportunity.