We had our first hints in January that Law School was no longer the place of choice to "hang out" while the recession runs its course, as noted in this post: Fewer People Applying to, Riding out Recession in Law School. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that law school is losing its allure, because student applications are down sharply. The reason, the Journal claims, is that college seniors are "growing leery of a degree that promises certain debt and uncertain job prospects."
Quoting figures provided by the Law School Admission Council, Inc., the number of law school applicants is down 11.5% this year as compared to last year, according to WSJ.com. That's the lowest number of applicants for fall admission since 2001. Although the application process for fall 2011 is not yet complete, the Council compares data at this stage of the process and reports 66,876 applicants so far. They predict that the application process is 86% complete. Total applications reached well over 80,000 in recent years, hitting highs near 100,000 in 2003 and 2004.
The Journal notes that prospective law students are more aware of the challenging job market for new attorneys and are exercising caution before taking the financial plunge. The Lexis Hub also reported recently that several law schools are reducing the size of 1L classes for fall 2011.