Number of 1Ls Per Law School Drops to 43-Year Low

Debra Cassens Weiss, “1L Enrollment Dropped at Three-Fourths of Accredited Law Schools This Year, Preliminary Stats Show,” ABA Journal.

ABA, “ABA Section of Legal Education Reports Preliminary Fall 2012 First-Year Enrollment Data.”

2011 saw the lowest ratio since 2000, but 2012 takes us back to when law school was probably far out: 1969!

The last time the total number of 1Ls was this low was 2001 (45,070), but since then the ABA has accredited 18 law schools (and, like, five branch campuses, which aren’t counted). It won’t be until much later that we know what the breakdown is between full-time and part-time students, to say nothing of full-time matriculants, which is the core number of “traditional” law students who begin in the fall.

The distribution of the decline isn’t uniform, and according to the ABA Journal, “Ninety of the 149 schools with lower enrollment had declines of 10 percent or more, according to a press release. Forty-eight schools, on the other hand, had an increase in enrollment, and at eight of those schools the increase was up 10 percent or more.” Quick readers will realize that 149 and 48 do not add up to 201, and the ABA’s press release adds that four law schools saw no change. Within them, 39 only saw a five-student or less change from 2011.

I’m curious which schools have opened the doors to anyone with an LSAT score and a pulse. Wait, do you still need an LSAT score? (Do you still need a pulse?)

Here’s the ratio to applicants:

Not quite a record low, but the squeeze is on.

That’s all I got.


  1. Nothing but good news here. While this correction will be bourne on the backs of already-indebted law graduates, unfortunately, the situation has been needing to reverse itself for some time now. Fewer future victims.

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