When the nation's top ranked law school reports a double-digit drop in law school applications, some view it as a positive sign for the economy. The Yale Daily News reports that applications were down 16.5% over last year (from 3,797 in 2010 to 3,172 this year.) The decline in applications is part of a nationwide trend. According to the News, the Law School Admission Council reports the average application reduction across all law schools this year at 11%. The drop appears even more dramatic because of the spike in applications last year. The article goes on to note application declines at other prestigious law schools including Duke and the University of Chicago.
Growing attention to unemployment among law school graduates and the tight legal job market could be making prospective law students think twice. The Yale Daily News report quotes Wendy Margolis, Director of Communications for the Law School Admission Council, who explained that, "the drop in law school applications may be a result of recent media coverage of the bleak job market and crippling debt that await law school graduates today." The Lexis Hub noted this trend in January when law schools first noticed the drop in applications part way through the application process. (Fewer People Applying to, Riding out the Recession in Law School.)
A corresponding decline in the number of people taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) was noted recently in the New York Times. The December 2010 test saw 16.5% fewer test-takers than the year before.
Yale Daily News
New York Times