Recent data from the Law School Admission Council Inc. indicates that the total number of law school applications (to date) for the fall 2011 entering class has dropped to 66,876—an 11.5 percent drop from last year’s total at this time. Considering that there are only 200 ABA-approved law schools, this number is still extremely high. But law school has been a popular place over the past several years, and this number marks the lowest applicant pool since 2001.
This news isn’t all that surprising given the negative attention law school has received of late, including accusations that law schools distort their employment and salary statistics and don’t adequately prepare their students for legal practice. I give this year’s applicant pool a lot of credit for facing the hard reality that there is no easy or perfect road to wealth and career success. Rather, prospective students must do their research, weigh the pros and cons and decide if they actually want to pursue a career in law.
As Carrie Johnson of Fordham University School of Law told the Wall Street Journal, applicants "appear to have analyzed the investment in law school closely and are serious about pursuing a career in law." I think this is positive news for the legal profession. Law school has been a trusty fall-back for many. But with its extremely high cost and enormous time commitment, law school should not be the go-to choice for those who don’t know what else to do. It should be a path for those serious about pursuing a legal career or who have mapped out how a legal education will benefit their careers.
A more introspective applicant pool yields two benefits: 1. less students mired in debt for an education they never really wanted and 2. a higher percentage of students who are seriously dedicated to the legal profession.
Wall Street Journal Source
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