The number of entering law students nationwide dropped below 40,000 this fall for the first time in close to four decades.
According to figures released by the American Bar Association, law schools enrolled 39,675 new students this fall—an 11 percent decrease from the 44,481 students who enrolled last fall. The last time law schools saw such low 1L enrollment was 1975, when there were 163 ABA-accredited law schools. There are 202 such schools today.
Even more ominous for law schools administrators, this fall’s new enrollment represents a 24 percent decline from the 52,488 new students who matriculated in 2010—the all-time high.