Cornell and Fordham Law School’s Are Thinking Outside Of The Box To Drive Enrollment!

By | November 7, 2015

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With law school enrollments nationwide declining, Cornell Law and Fordham University of Law are ramping up new programs!

The growing problem facing law schools, the legal profession and ultimately the clients of lawyers was discussed recently in the article, ‘Correlation Or Coincidence?…Desperate Law Schools = Lowest Bar Exam Pass Rate In A Decade!‘.

The premise was as follows…’…With applications on the decline some reports say that the quality of accepted applicant, based on LSAT scores, has resulted in a higher percentage of an incoming class at certain law schools being rated as ‘high risk’ to ‘extreme risk’ of not passing the bar exam…

Extrapolating that statement out I take that to mean that some in the new yearly crop of aspiring lawyers may not be as learned and skilled as their predecessors.

Given the documented decline in enrollment, however, there are two law schools being aggressive and proactive in their attempt to increase the student body.

Cornell and Fordham Introduce New Masters Programs For Lawyers

From an article at Bloomberg BNA, ‘Bucking Trend, Cornell and Fordham Launch New Programs‘…

At a time when many law schools have reduced class enrollment in response to a decline in applications, two schools are going against the trend. Cornell Law School and Fordham University School of Law in recent weeks both have announced the creation of two new masters programs for lawyers.

LLMs, as the masters degrees are more commonly known, are certainly not new, although many are geared towards either foreign students hoping to practice in the U.S. or focus on specialties, like the longstanding tax program at New York University School of Law.

But changing, challenging times have spawned new LLM programs that can address both the uncertainty in the legal market and the ability to train practicing lawyers in areas that either didn’t exist, or weren’t as important, when lawyers were initially in law school, some just a few years ago.

Cornell Law School is collaborating with Cornell Tech, the university’s program located in New York City, to pair lawyers with entrepreneurs and engineers, who are also obtaining masters at the school…

…Fordham, on the other hand, is launching an LLM in compliance. The program is, essentially, capitalizing on the capital markets based in New York.

Corporate compliance departments have grown rapidly over the last decade at financial services firms, accelerating with the passage of laws like the Dodd-Frank Act after the onset of the financial crisis.

But it’s not just financial firms that are affected; other public companies need compliance for a host of federal laws like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that prohibits bribes to government officials overseas and the raft of privacy and data protection laws in the U.S. and abroad, Fordham dean Matthew Diller said in an interview…

Will other law schools around the country take notice of this effort to increase enrollment and embark down the same path?

If Cornell and Fordham’s programs prove to be successful then duplication and implementation elsewhere is most likely assured!

Michael Haltman is President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York. He can be reached at

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