1. Valparaiso University School of Law was a shoo-in for the top spot on this list, with a 100-percent decrease in the 1L class. The Indiana school last year opted not to admit any new students while it determined whether or not to stay open. The verdict came down in October, and the Valparaiso Law is slated to shutter in 2020.
2. Like Valparaiso, Thomas Jefferson School of Law has also faced enrollment and accreditation woes. The San Diego school is on probation with the ABA and enrollment dropped 72 percent this fall, with just 59 new students.
3. Best of luck to the 17 new 1Ls who matriculated at Arizona Summit Law School this fall—a 65 percent decrease from the 49 who started the previous year. The school pulled the plug on fall classes at the beginning of the semester and has now said it will officially close once current students have finished their degrees at other institutions.
4. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School also saw an enrollment dive this fall, bringing in a new class that is half the size of its predecessor. The school has also faced accreditation challenges, and was recently placed on probation by the ABA. The closure last year of its Savannah satellite campus is another factor in its reduced enrollment.
5. First-year enrollment is down 43 percent this fall at the Florida Coastal School of Law, which like other schools on this list has run into accreditation problems with the ABA. The school brought in 60 new students this year, and is currently suing the ABA over what it calls unfair accreditation practices.
6. North Carolina Central School of Law saw a 37 percent falloff in 1L enrollment this fall, from 166 in 2017 to 103 in 2018. The school vowed to admit students with stronger credentials after the ABA found it out of compliance with its admissions standards.
7. New student enrollment dipped into the double digits at Southern Illinois University School of Law, falling to 76 from 114 the previous year—a decline of 33 percent.
8. Appalachian School of Law saw a 32 percent decrease in 1L enrollment. The ABA’s Accreditation Committee put the school on a remedial improvement plan in late 2017 meant to boost the academic credentials of its student body.
9. The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is the rare campus on this list that hadn’t run into problems with the ABA. Its new class shrunk 31 percent from last year, to 64.
10. Last on our list is Michigan State University College of Law, where the size of the first-year class fell 22 percent, from 266 in 2017 to 208 in 2018.
This fall brought a 3 percent bump in the number of new law students showing up on law campuses nationwide. Pundits have said a better job market and national politics are prompting more young people to pursue legal careers. But that boost—the first significant enrollment growth since 2010—didn’t occur across the board. In fact, 45 law schools saw the size of their 1L classes decline 5 percent or more. Many of those with the biggest drops have encountered accreditation problems that scared off some prospective students, or they purposefully admitted fewer, but stronger, applicants in an effort to appease the American Bar Association. Yesterday, we looked at the 10 law schools with the highest percentage increase in the size of their 1L class. Today, we have the 10 schools with the highest percentage decrease over 2017, based on new ABA figures. Here they are: