Law School Enrollment Increases

Law school enrollment numbers saw an increase of 2% while minority numbers remained stagnant in 2019, new data from the American Bar Association finds.

“The aggregate first-year enrollment in ABA-approved law schools remains basically level with last year and close to the enrollment that we have seen for the past few years,” Barry Currier, managing director for ABA Accreditation and Legal Education, tells Bloomberg Law.

A recent study by the National Association for Law Placement also found job outcomes for law grads in 2018 were the strongest since the 2008 recession.


The law job market is strong and many law schools are seeing the increase of applicants.

J.D. enrollment, overall, reached 112,882 – matching the increase in 2018 of 1.2%. Non-J.D. enrollment increased 7% to 19,819.

The top six law schools for enrollment in 2019 are Georgetown at 2,008; Harvard at 1,740; George Washington at 1,560; New York University at 1,379; Fordham at 1,267 and Columbia at 1,244, according to Bloomberg Law.

“We continue to see significant increases in the number of students enrolled in non-J.D. degree and certificate programs,” Currier tells Bloomberg Law. “We expect the number and range of those programs to continue to increase and expect enrollment increases along with them.”


While overall enrollment numbers are up, it seems, diversity is still an issue in the legal industry. The ABA found that minorities made up only a third of total enrollment and that number declined 0.2% from last year.

The “gender mix in the 1L class is 54% women and 46% men; 31% of new students self-identify as members of a racial or ethnic minority group,” Currier tells Bloomberg Law. “Both of these data points are worth mentioning as we continue to work to have a legal profession that is diverse and reflects the clients and communities that it serves.”

Sources:  Bloomberg Law. National Association for Law Placement

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