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ABA Section of Legal Education reports 2014 law school enrollment data

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ABA Section of Legal Education reports 2014 law school enrollment data

By John Glynn

Note: This news release contains corrections from a previous version


CHICAGO, Dec. 16, 2014 — The American Bar Association today released national figures for first-year and total J.D. enrollment for the fall of 2014.

The 204 ABA-approved law schools reported total J.D. enrollment (full-time and part-time students) of 119,775. This is a decrease of 8,935 students (6.9 percent) from 2013 and a 17.5 percent decrease from the historic high total J.D. enrollment in 2010. The 2014 total enrollment is the lowest since 1987, when there were 175 ABA-approved law schools.

Law schools reported that 37,924 full-time and part-time students began their studies in the fall of 2014. This is a decrease of 1,751 students (4.4 percent) from 2013 and a 27.7 percent decrease from the historic high 1L enrollment of 52,488 in 2010. The 2014 1L enrollment is the lowest since 1973, when there were 151 ABA-approved law schools.

Nearly two-thirds of ABA law schools (127) experienced declines in first-year enrollment from the prior year. At 64 law schools, 1L declines exceeded 10 percent. At 25 schools, 1L enrollment declined by more than 20 percent. Twenty-five schools reported entering classes of fewer than 100 students.

At 69 schools, 1L enrollment increased from 2013. At 36 schools, 1L enrollment was up by less than 10 percent, and at 33 schools, enrollment increased by more than 10 percent. At 11 schools, enrollment increased by more than 20 percent. At 28 schools, the number of 1L students stayed within five students above or below last year’s figures.

Over the next several months, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will produce and publish reports about this data, including school-specific information. These reports will be included on the statistics page of the section’s website.

The data come from the questionnaires that ABA-approved law schools file annually with the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The figures have been verified in a collaborative process between the section and the Law School Admission Council.

The ABA requires law schools to post detailed consumer information on their websites by Dec. 15. This consumer information is also available at the online Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.

Fall 2014 Law School J.D. Enrollment Data

2014

2013

Total J.D. enrollment

119,775

128,710

1L enrollment

37,924

39,675

Schools with increased 1L enrollment compared with prior year

69

63

Schools with decreased 1L enrollment compared with prior year

127

135

Schools within +/- 5 1L students of prior year

28

34

Schools with 10 percent or more increase in 1L students compared with prior year

33

27

Schools with 10 percent or more decrease in 1L students compared with prior year

64

81

 

The council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its accreditation committee are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the J.D. The section’s 14,000 members strive to improve legal education and lawyer licensing by fostering cooperation among legal educators, practitioners and judges through workshops, conferences and publications. The section also studies and makes recommendations for the improvement of the bar admission process.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.