Law school applications plunge

As recently as 2004 law school applications numbered nearly 100,000, and three years ago the figure stood around the mid-80s. Now it’s plunged to a projected 53,000-54,000, with an especially sharp recent dropoff among the most sought-after students with the highest scores. Time for rethinking the model of an ever-expanding legal academia fed by unquenchable demand for lawyers and unlimited federal student loans [TaxProf] Incidentally, those who attended or watched our Cato seminar earlier this month on “Failing Law Schools” were among the first to hear the new numbers.


  • The motto for successful plaintiffs’ lawyers is “they made it and we stole it!” The drop in law school applicants reflects the truth that pot is not infinite.

    But one has to wonder if the law school applicant can be productive. All the effort on the silicosis fraud didn’t produce real wealth.

  • This is a win-win for future American competitiveness. Some of our best and brightest may be deterred from a parasitic relationship with American business to a creative one.

  • I went to a tier one school and graduated in the late 1970s; my third year tuition was $3600. This year the same school charges $44000. This is a thirteen-fold increase yet the average starting salary, outside of the biggest firms who hire only the very top grads based on GPA, has gone up less than threefold over this period. I blame the overavailability of student loans, misleading information released by law schools as to employment prospects for new lawyers and the fact that there are only jobs for less than half of each year’s new grads as contributing factors. I would advise any young person contemplating law school not to do so unless he/she has a hookup that can guarantee a job upon graduation or has the credentials to get into an Ivy League or equivalent school. Otherwise, you are giving up three years of your life and accruing a huge debt that will burden you for life with minimal prospects of paying it off.