Friday, March 27, 2015

Where even lemmings fear to leap: Which ABA-accredited law schools have experienced the steepest decline in applications, 2011-2014.


In 2011, there were 535,000 applications to ABA accredited law schools (mind: I refer to applications, not applicants). In 2014, there were 355,100 applications, a hefty decline of 33.6% from three years earlier. But, of course, this decline was not evenly distributed among the 200+ ABA-accredited law schools. 40 schools saw their application pool shrink by half or more, while a handful of outliers actually experienced an increase. What follows is a chart showing the number of law schools that experienced particular levels of change in applications, by percentage, between 2011 to 2014, followed by a list of the 65 law school that experienced a decline in applications of 45% or more. [1]

It may be that a particularly steep decline in applications provides a hint as to which law schools are sailing into trouble of an existence-threatening sort. I mean, these are the schools that have clearly lost their consumer appeal, even against the general backdrop of the fading law school mystique. Avowed lemmings no longer apply to these places even as their safeties.  

Consider that Hamline experienced the 16th steepest drop in applications (56.8%) among the nation’s ABA accredited schools in the last three years, and soon that school may exist only as a phantom limb of William Mitchell. The finest law school in Grundy, VA experienced the 12th steepest drop (58.0%), and it is on the financial ropes, having shed half of its faculty. Cooley experienced the 4th biggest drop in applications (63.2%), and it closed down one of its four campuses. Here is hoping that the crash in consumer demand foreshadows a wave of faculty downsizing and law school closures.

Long-time posters and lurkers at JD Underground will surely appreciate which school experienced the biggest decline in applications from 2011 to 2014, a staggering 69.2% drop. MCGEORGE DOMINATES! (and you, Scamming Illini, quite definitely dominate the first tier). 



% Change in Applications Received, 2011-2014
No. of law schools
Applications up by over 10%
       6
Applications up by 5.01-10%
       2
Applications up by 0.01-5%
       2
Applications down by 0.01-5%
       3
Applications down by 5.01-10%
       7
Applications down by 10.01-15%
       7
Applications down by 15.01-20%
       6
Applications down by 20.01-25%
     10
Applications down by 25.01-30%
     18
Applications down by 30.01-35%
     19
Applications down by 35.01-40%
     35
Applications down by 40.01-45%
     23
Applications down by 45.01-50%
     25
Applications down by 50.01-55%
     17
Applications down by 55.01-60%
     15
Applications down by 60.01-65%
      5
Applications down by 65.01-69.2%
      3


School

Apps, 2011

Apps, 2014

Decline
McGeorge
3555

1094


69.2%


Univ. of Toledo

1440

472

67.2%

Univ. of Illinois

4219

1462

65.3%

Thomas Cooley

4032

1481

63.2%

Ave Maria

1633

603

63.0%

Ohio Northern

1228

466

62.0%

Cleveland State

1157

601

61.4%

Univ. of Connecticut

2751

1088

60.4%

Quinnipiac

2035

817

59.8%

St. Thomas (Minn.)

1283

516

59.7%

Univ. of Louisville

1495

608

59.3%

Appalachian

1177

494

58.0%

Widener-Harrisburg

1186

582

58.0%

Univ. of D.C.

1643

696

57.6%

Mississippi College

1717

730

57.4%

Hamline

1232

530

56.8%

Univ. of Dayton

1751

762

56.4%

Arkansas-Little Rock

1529

669

56.2%

Villanova

3014

1321

56.1%

Western State

1882

835

56.1%

Penn State

4820

2121

55.9%

DePaul

4743

2087

55.9%

Albany

2153

959

55.4%

Oklahoma City

1204

544

54.8%

Univ. of Florida

3024

1369

54.7%

Univ. of Akron

1647

751

54.4%

George Mason

5354

2443

54.3%

New York Law Sch.

5997

2747

54.1%

Indiana-Indianapolis

1640

756

53.9%

St. Louis U.

2040

941

53.8%

Univ. of New Hampshire

1247

576

53.8%

Williamette

1092

508

53.4%

Widener-Delaware

2193

1021

53.4%

Seton Hall

3439

1625

52.7%

Arkansas-Fayetteville



1309



624



52.3%

Univ. of Wisconsin

2864

1371

52.1%

Regent

1180

570

51.6%

Drake

1026

496

51.6%

Sanford

1405

688

51.0%

Univ. of Pittsburgh

2379

1172

50.7%

LaVerne

1182

595

49.6%

Univ. of Tulsa

1466

741

49.4%

Florida Coastal

5277

2666

49.4%

Univ. of Hawaii

1229

621

49.4%

Univ. of Mississippi

1656

846

48.9%

Loyola (Chicago)

5040

2575

48.9%

Thomas Jefferson

2697

1381

48.7%

Lewis & Clark

2907

1491

48.7%

Hofstra

4566

2343

48.6%

Temple

4144

2127

48.6%

Univ. of Cincinnati

1572

811

48.4%

Chicago-Kent

3719

1937

47.9%

Univ. of Oregon

2178

1140

47.6%

Univ. of Tennessee

1277

669

47.6%

Pace

2735

1436

47.4%

William Mitchell

1536

807

47.4%

Catholic

3002

1583

47.2%

Northern Illinois

1058

560

47.0%

Drexel

2464

1307

46.9%

John Marshall (Chi)

3783

2007

46.9%
Western New Engl.
1170

621

46.9%

Chapman

2822

1505

46.6%

UNLV

1381

754

45.4%

Loyola Marymount

6781

3712

45.2%

West Virginia U.

1107

451

45.1%


---------------------------------

[1] Source:  The spreadsheets located here:

http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org