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The number of women enrolled to earn juris doctor degrees in the nation’s 195 accredited law schools declined for the second straight year last fall,according to the American Bar Association. At the same time, the number of male students seeking J.D. degrees has climbed steadily since 2001. Female enrollment in the fall of 2005 markedthe first time that the number of women seeking J.D. degrees had declined since 1997. Total enrollment for women seeking J.D. degrees fell 0.8% in 2006, compared to a gain of 1.7% for men. Overall, law school J.D. enrollment increased0.5% last fall. Some 141,031 students were enrolled to earn J.D. degrees in the fall of 2006, compared to 140,298 in 2005. First-year enrollment rose by 1.7% in 2006, for a total of 48,937 students. While enrollment increases among both genders contributed to the uptick,male enrollment outpaced female enrollment, with male numbers climbing by 3% and women totals rising by just 0.1%. For total J.D. enrollment in 2006,males made up 53.1% and women equaled 46.9%. The decline in women enrollees may be a “trickle down” effect from retention problems that are particularly acute for women in law firms, said HollyEnglish, president-elect of the National Association of Women Lawyers. “Younger women are looking ahead and wondering what will happen to them in this career,” she said.

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