We are familiar with the reports documenting the downturn in legal employment of new law graduates and the downturn in recent years both in the number of students sitting for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the number of students applying to and being admitted to law school. The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has reported that the overall employment rate for new law school graduates has fallen for five years in a row since 2008. The twenty-four-year high point was 2007, when 91.9% of new graduates had some form of employment nine months after graduation. Of these jobs, 84.6% were Juris Doctor (J.D.)-required or J.D.-preferred. For the class of 2013, the overall rate of employment was 86.5%. Of these jobs, only 75.8% were J.D.-required or J.D.-preferred.
The historic high first-year enrollment was in 2010, when 52,488 new law students began their studies. In the last three reporting years, there have been decreases in first-year enrollment, from 48,697 in 2011, to 44,481 in 2012, and 39,675 in 2013. Applicants to American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law schools have fallen from about 98,300 in 2003 to 68,000 in 2012. ABA-collected data indicates that approximately two-thirds of ABA-approved law schools experienced declines in 2013 first-year enrollment. Eighty-one of these schools reported declines exceeding 10% from 2012, while only twenty-seven schools had increases of 10% or more.
J.P. "Sandy" Ogilvy, Beyond Curricular Tinkering: Real Reform of Legal Education (Broadly Considered), 7 ELON L. REV. 319 (2015).