Weak Job Market Drives Down Law School Enrollment
More potential law school students take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in October, but the number of students taking the test this October plunged 16.4% due to the poor economy, as fewer law school graduates are finding jobs. In addition, the number of students taking the LSAT is down 37.8% from October 2009’s all-time peak. As a result, a majority of law schools are cutting back on enrollment.
According to the New York Times:
There was a huge surge in law school applications during the recession and its immediate aftermath as people displaced by the poor economy sought the “safety” of a legal career. But now potential students seem to have wised up to the huge debt burden and poor job placement prospects.
The Times also notes that “nine months after graduation, just 85.6 percent of the law class of 2011 was employed” compared to a “a record high of 91.9 percent for the class of 2007, which graduated just before the great recession erupted.”
Because of this poor job market, which has been described as the “toughest job market for new lawyers in 20 years," a Kaplan survey found “51% of law schools have cut the size of the entering class” with 63% citing the tough job market in the legal industry as the reason.
According to the survey, more cuts will be on the way, as 28% of the schools that have not yet cut the size of their incoming classes expect to do so next year.