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‘Massive layoffs’ predicted in law schools due to big drop in applicants

Friday, February 01, 2013

A plunge in the number of applicants to law schools will likely lead to closures and faculty layoffs, according to law professors following the statistics.

Based on current trends, the number of law school applicants for the 2013 school year is expected to number between 53,000 and 54,000, a 30-year low. In 2004, for example, 100,000 people applied to law schools, the New York Times reports. “Responding to the new environment,” the Times says, “schools are planning cutbacks and accepting students they would not have admitted before.”

Experts attribute the drop in interest to higher tuition costs and a decline in high-paying law firm jobs. University of Southern California law and economics professor Gillian Hadfield told the Times there is “a significant mismatch between demand and supply.” According to Hadfield, the problem is not an overproduction of lawyers. “Actually, we have an exploding demand for both ordinary folk lawyers and big corporate ones,” she said. But general practitioners dealing with matters like mortgages and divorce have a hard time making a living, she said. Big companies, on the other hand, aren’t satisfied with law schools’ emphasis on academics at the expense of practical training, she said.


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Pat Layden, a private practitioner in McAlester, Oklahoma, has volunteered many hours to promote equal access to justice in Oklahoma. He served Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. as Board member and past President of the Board and as a pro bono attorney. Pro Bono Net thanks Legal Aid Services of Oklahama (LASO) for sharing this inspiring volunteer story about his work on a hotly contested child custody case where a young mother, with a critically ill infant was involved in a custody battle over her one–year old daughter. LEARN MORE

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