Thursday, December 12, 2013
Details here, but briefly: "As of 12/06/13, there are 90,032 Fall 2014 applications submitted by 14,171 applicants. Applicants are down 13.6% and applications are down 15.7% from 2013. Last year at this time, we had 28% of the preliminary final applicant count."
The decline in total applications is not surprising: applicants perceive, correctly, that their prospects for admission are much better than in the past, and so are applying to somewhat fewer schools. Harder to predict is what proportion of the applicant pool is currently in contention relative to where we will be in a few months. And that will no doubt be affected by a range of factors beyond anyone's control: the general fortunes of the economy, other job opportunities that become available for students weighing law school as an option, and media coverage of law and the legal profession. (If The New York Times does a front-page story on 300K bonsues at Boies Schiller, well, that will produce one scenario; if another big law firm implodes, and makes the front page, that will produce a rather different one.)
One immediate consequence of these numbers, I fear, is that law schools debating whether to hire new teachers will mostly postpone hiring.