2013’s Best Law School Stories

by Jeff Schmitt on

great expectationsThe Top 10 Law School Stories of 2013

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

With all due respect to Charles Dickens, law school students and faculty will remember 2013 as fondly as aristocrats recall peasant mobs and guillotines. Yes, economic trends showed as much compassion to law graduates as Madame Defarge showed while stitching her enemies list. Still, there were rays of hope. A few experts predicted a surplus of legal jobs within the next decade. The ABA began calling for reforms to make law school less costly and more relevant. And a few brave institutions like the University of Iowa even cut their law school tuition. Despite this, the phrases associated with 2013 will be “rising tuition,” “declining enrollment,” and “lousy job prospects.”

The National Law Journal referred to 2013 as a “year of retrenchment,” referring to the on-the-fly adjustments law schools made to adapt business models and academic offerings to accommodate deteriorating conditions. So what did The National Law Journal consider to be the top law school story of 2013?

That’s right: “declining enrollment” takes the prize. And why wouldn’t it? Law school enrollment is down to 1975 levels. In fact, enrollment dropped 11 percent from 2012, with two-thirds of law schools seeing their first-year enrollment drop. Talk about a wake up call!

Tuition reductions were ranked as the second-most important story of 2013, with law schools stretching from the University of Arizona to Penn State University slashing tuition to entice students to enroll. And who would’ve thought a few years ago that faculty tenure would end up on the table, as schools struggle to balance academic freedom with financial shortfalls. That story came in at #3 according to The National Law Journal.

So what were the other hot law school topics of 2013? Here is the list:

1) Declining Enrollments

2) Tuition Reductions

3) Faculty Tenure

4) Masters in Law Degrees

5) Shrinking Faculties

6) Changes in the U.S. News Rankings

7) Law Deans Under Fire

8) 2-Year Law Programs

9) New Law School Openings

10) Federal Clerkship Chaos

For more details on these top stories, click here.

Source: The National Law Journal

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