Are you still on the fence whether to spring for law school? If so, here’s news you shouldn’t miss:
The 21,802 people who sat for the test last month is the lowest June total in 14 years, suggesting that law schools may still be having difficulty convincing college graduates on the value of a J.D. degree.
For schools, it’s a step backward after the glint of hope they got in February when the number of law school admission tests administered inched up 1.1% over the February 2013 total.
So much for those rosy reports that law school applications are making a comeback.
2. Your chances of getting into a whole bunch of law schools are terrific—but that’s not a compliment. So how much easier is it to get into law school? Well, let’s take a look at what’s happening in Massachusetts, which has a range of law schools. The Boston Globe provides this snapshot of the drop in first-year enrollment for fall 2013:
- New England Law School: 40 percent decline since 2010.
- Western New England: 28 percent decline since 2010.
- Boston College Law School: 14 percent decline since 2010.
- Suffolk University: 15 percent decline from last year.
Of course, what you really want to know is your chances for getting into Harvard Law, right? The answer: Harvard is still a hard nut to crack. In fact, if you didn’t apply in 2012, when applications took a noticeable dip, you missed the window to squeeze into Harvard.
Reports The Globe, “applications for the first-year class of about 600 are up significantly this year, a promising sign and part of a national increase among students who score high on the LSAT.”
3. What happened to Hastings? In 1992, UC Hastings College of Law was ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 19th place; then, in 2010, it landed in 42nd place; last year, it dropped to 48th place. This year, it’s crossed to the dark side—the other half of the top 50 divide—to 54th place.
How a once up-and-coming law school in the Bay Area dropped so precipitously over 22 years is a mystery. But Hastings dean Frank Wu, who took over in 2010, is trying everything to reverse the trend, reports The Recorder. (Wu has cut enrollment, trimmed the number of employees, instituted new programs, etc. See our interview with Wu here.)
But no amount of creativity, energy or magic can change this sticking point, says The Recorder:
The biggest drag on Hastings’ rank is student employment rates. U.S. News weighs the percent of grads employed in full-time, permanent jobs for which a law degree is a requirement or an advantage. Only 47 percent of last year’s Hastings grads could claim that distinction.
Less than 50 percent full-time employment rate for grads? Yikes. That makes going to Hastings a highly risky proposition, I’m sorry to say.
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