The difficult job market for new lawyers has led to the third year in a row of decreasing law school application numbers. Georgetown University Law Center did not escape the general trend, and the school’s administrators are considering cutting the class size.
The Law School Admission Council found that 55,760 students—13.4 percent lower than last year—applied to American Bar Association-accredited law schools for the 2012-2013 academic year. In total, law school class sizes were seven percent smaller in 2011 than in 2010.
Georgetown Law Center in particular experienced a 6 percent drop in applicants this year, from 8,100 for the 2012-2013 year to 7,600 for the 2013-2014 year, according to the Washington Post. The school will likely keep its class size at 575 in the 2013-2014 year, but Dean of Admissions Andrew Cornblatt “wouldn’t be surprised if [the class size] were smaller” the next year.
George Washington Law School has already shrunk its class sizes twice. Last year, GW Law’s enrollment went from 474 to 398, its smallest class size in a decade.
Unsurprisingly, the economic downturn is to blame for the diminished interest in attending law school. While law school attendance reached a ten-year high of 52,500 in the fall of 2010, law firms around the country were cutting the number of first-year lawyers they hired. It didn’t help that some new lawyers carried upwards of $120,000 in debt.
According to Cornblatt, the tough job market has made less-serious would-be law school applicants reconsider a decision to apply. “In the boom times three to eight years ago, when applications were much higher, I think it got glutted,” he told the Post. “I think this is the right-sizing. There’s this adjustment being made.”
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