Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are Law Schools in Trouble?

For a year or more, I've been reading and hearing gloom and doom stories (many from my own Dean) that the current model of legal education is obsolete and that law schools must change or die. In recent months, these stories have been supported by declining admissions, both at my law school and nationally, and national press reports (such as this one) raising legitimate questions about whether legal education is worth the money.

However, when I look at the graph below (from the Economix blog in today's New York Times, here), I see the very recent downturn in law school admissions, which more or less tracks the recession, as a small part of a longer cycle of generally rising law school applications. Perhaps the doomsayers are right, but I'll need more than one or two years of downturns in law school applications to convince me of structural changes in the market.

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