Inside the Law School Scam is reporting that as of December 7, law school applications are down 24.6% since the same time last year, and there is no obvious end to the trend at this point. Blog author Paul Campos asserts that the current number of applications suggests that the total number of applicants on the year will number between 52,000 and 53,000. He goes on:
To put that number in perspective, law schools admitted 60,400 first year JD students two years ago. Since a significant percentage of applicants are unwilling to consider enrolling at any school below a certain hierarchical level, and/or will decline to enroll at certain other schools without receiving massive discounts on the advertised tuition price, these numbers portend fiscal calamity for more than a few schools. But out of that calamity will come the beginnings of a more rational and just system of legal education for the next generation of lawyers.
Hopefully a smaller number of applicants will sufficiently impact the number of practitioners in the coming years to help restore the balance between the number of practicing lawyers and the legal work available (if such a thing ever existed). I don’t doubt that correcting the heavy over-population of lawyers will take more than a few years, but this seems like a rather significant drop in the number of law school applicants. It would be nice to have the numbers correct themselves naturally, rather than requiring a Clone Wars-type culling of superfluous attorneys.