As everyone's grandmother knows by now, law school applications are dropping across the board. But did you know that the drop is even steeper among those who attended elite colleges?
Keith Lee at Associates Mind, a site that's aimed at helping young lawyers navigate the travails of practice, has been mining the data from the Law School Admissions Council. His latest finding: From 2008 to 2012, law school applications from Ivy Leaguers dropped by 27 percent, surpassing the 20 percent decline for all applications for that same period.
Below is Lee's Ivy League index:
|2008 Applicants||2012 Applicants||Change (%)|
Cornell undergrads registered the sharpest decline, which Lee interprets as a sign that they "must be really plugged into the law school scam scene." But if Cornellians are the astute ones of the Ivies, Dartmouth students get the prize for being the least attuned, because law school applications from that institution dropped by only 13 percent.
So who's eager to go to law school these days? We were curious, and asked Lee if there are any undergraduate institutions on that LSAC list that showed an uptick in law school applications. Lee was nice enough to crunch some numbers for us. The result: 17 undergrad institutions are seeing a rise in the number of law school applicants. The top five are:
1. Rutgers University +200.80 %
2. Liberty University +52.63 %
3. Sam Houston State +45.71%
4. Utah Valley University +44.44%
5. University of New Mexico +29.71%
The list includes a variety of institutions: better-known ones, such as Brigham Young University, but also those that are pretty obscure, such as Florida Atlantic University. (Click here for the complete list.) They are all regional institutions--not the sexy, brand-name institutions that Big Law parents typically aspire to for their own progeny.
Not that there is anything wrong with graduates of less illustrious institutions filling our law schools.
But it does raise the question of what this shift in the demographics of law school applicants means. Are we seeing the beginning of a brain drain in the legal profession? Or does it mean that the legal profession will open its doors to a more diverse pool of people?
I'd like to be a bit optimistic about all this, but Lee isn't so hopeful. He says that the drop in the number of applicants and the lowering of admissions standards will result in more people going to law school "[who] probably have no business being there."
What do you think? Will any of this affect the quality of Big Law?
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