Number of 1Ls Per Law School Drops to 45-Year Low

Mark Hansen, “Law school enrollment down 11 percent this year over last year, 24 percent over 3 years, data shows,” ABA Journal.

ABA Section of Legal Education, “ABA Section of Legal Education reports 2013 law school enrollment data.”

Breaking last year’s record, the average law school now has fewer than 200 1Ls (196), between where it was in 1968 (173) and 1969 (204). (Accrediting Belmont obviously didn’t help the average.)

1Ls Per Law School (2013)

More surprisingly is that the rate of 1L decline is accelerating. Perhaps diminishing returns hasn’t set in after all.

1L Growth Rate (2013)

Legal education hasn’t seen this rapid a 1L crunch since the Korean War.

Twenty-seven law schools saw a 10 percent or greater increase in 1Ls, up from eight last year, so it appears more are choosing to enroll the bodies they get. Most schools still took a decline instead.

That’s all I’ve got.


  1. Just hope the decline continues. The slight uptick in full time JD required jobs is utterly insufficient to address the glut of lawyers, let alone the obscene debt loads they carry.

  2. Any explanation for the dip in the mid-nineties? Did prospective law students decide they could make a killing on Wall Street or set up a dotcom?

    1. Pretty much. Unsurprisingly, law school applications correspond to college graduate unemployment rates. When college grads (think they) have alternatives, they are less likely to apply to law school. The trend has broken since 2010 as they’ve apparently concluded that law school does not actually improve long-term employment outcomes, despite the low opportunity cost.

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